Saturday, October 18, 2008

RE: Windows Live Writer

I use Windows Live Writer as my sole blogging tool for Grand Stream Dreams hosted by Blogger/Blogspot.

I’ve tried a lot of other tools. A LOT of other tools, but Microsoft mostly just did this one right from the start.

I think it is a mark of good software design when you are so comfortable using the tool that you spend almost all your time focusing on making your content, and the tool just “fades” into the experience background.

Today I saw a post over on the the Windows Experience Blog by Brandon LeBlanc: Open Already Published Blog Posts with Windows Live Writer.

That’s not a “new” feature to me, I’ve been using it for a long time to go back and add updates to previous posts, or to correct the “occasional” spelling, grammar and other editing bits needed when I toss up a post too fast.

What I did make note of is the number of locations Microsoft has provided folks to actually download Windows Live Writer from:

Additional information and thoughts from others on Windows Live Writer (Beta)

A few of my complaints (still) with the current Windows Live Writer beta version:

  • Too much white-space at the bottom of the interface window between the “view” tabs and the “set categories” bar.  I’m loosing out on at least a full inch or so of window-space.  Let’s try moving the set category and set publish date into the side-bar, or tuck them along-side to the right of the three tabs.

  • The custom bar-coloring feature sucks. Period.  Before in earlier releases I was able to select a custom color and it was deep, saturated, and rich. It was great!  Now the current programming just gives a washed-out color gradient. It doesn’t matter which color I pick, it is very difficult to tell which color is being applied.  This was one of those “small things” that made it really nice.  Now the entire GUI is too bright and washed out.  Give me back the old-style of gradient coloring.

  • I want the colored “A” icon on the toolbar to be a “font color picker” consistent with the other Microsoft Office line.  I don’t want it to pull up the font formatting dialog box.  If I want to color my headings on the fly a certain way, I just want to select the text, hit the colored “A” icon, and have it either provide me a drop-down selection/custom, or to just apply the color I last selected.

  • Finally, if my insertion-point cursor is blinking in the body of the post at a specific location under the “Edit” or “Preview” tab view, and then I switch to the “Source” tab view, I want my cursor to remain there!  I HATE having to then re-search through the entire post’s markup code to find the point where I wanted to do the code editing.  That is stupid and a waste of time.  I should be able to toggle back and forth and remain at the same insertion point.

Those few complaints aside, Windows Live Writer is a very strong blogging tool for the casual to semi-pro bloggers.

Can’t wait to see what the next version release will contain.

Hopefully, a few of Claus’s quibbles will be addressed.


--Claus V.

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