Monday, February 15, 2016

Open Live Writer–There are Nightlies!

It’s nice to have some time to deep dive blogging and chasing down technical itches.

On Saturday I posted frustrations and hopes regarding Open Live Writer; basically no “categories” list picks and no spelling.

But I also posted that an Open Live Writer pre-release build was available that had support added for categories.

So yesterday I downloaded it and tried it out on my “non-production” laptop. And it worked great. I just installed it on top of the existing “release” version and things were grand.

So this morning I was getting ready to load it on my “production” home system but got looking at the latest build update version.txt file on that AppVeyor page.

It was kinda interesting but what really caught my attention was a reference link to a “nightly/Releases/Releases” path and a freshly baked version setup file.  Hmmm.

Some quick Google work and I located this Open Live Writer project page discussion:

Turns out there are two ways to get “nightly” OLW builds.

The first is via a registry setting that drives OLW to pull from new releases when it loads. As explained by the developer “ScottIsAFool”


Then you need to create a dword key for CheckForBetaUpdates 1 = beta, 0 = regular.

I have a plugin that will let you switch between them coming at some point.

Quickly followed by these “here be dragons” comments by developer “martinwoodward”:

It should update to the latest build from the CI server so does give you a more up-to-date version. "More functional" is harder to say, it might have more features but one you rely on might get accidentally broken. We'd hopefully spot that and get it fixed quickly but OLW is only going to check once per day that you restart the app.

Basically, know that if you are on the CI builds then you might get broke. The good news is that if that happens, uninstalling the app (making sure the reg keys get deleted) and installing the latest version from will get you back onto the stable build if something goes really badly wrong.

Having a certain amount of folks running on the latest build would be really helpful in case something got broke that we wouldn't have otherwise noticed, but please only do it if you are comfortable with living on the edge a little more.

However reliably getting you OLW nightlies using the registry tweak method (currently) could be problematic as developer “willduff” explains:

Problem is that we haven't bumped the version number. Right now the nightly version number is the same as the public release version number, so your local copy thinks its already up to date and skips re-downloading the same version. Let me see if its safe to bump the version number now...

But “willduff” then provides a direct-download link to grab the nightlies from – easy-peasy!

If you want to go install the nightly directly, the latest nightly is always at this URL:

And a note for those who ALSO do the registry tweak:

One more thing to note, if you do go test those builds out that I linked to in issues #224 and #247, and you leave CheckForBetaUpdates = 1, then you'll actually get auto-upgraded to the nightly because I bumped the version. So, if you want to test those builds properly, you'll want to set CheckForBetaUpdates = 0 temporarily.

GSD Testing Tip: This is a good point -- so what I did was to export that Registry key in both states with different names. This way I can “toggle” the beta update check “on” (CheckForBetaUpdates = 1) or “off” (CheckForBetaUpdates = 0) depending on what I want to do.

So Claus, what’s the result on your system using the latest OLW nightly (build listed as and file timestamps from 02/13/2016)?

The “Set categories” feature is working wonderfully now.  At first my drop list was still blank but I hit the “refresh” button at the top and after a moment they all populated. Looks just like the original WLW feature.

Spelling was folded into this build as well. But…there seems to be a limitation at the moment.

It isn’t working on my Windows 7 system and that feature is grey’ed out.


Looking in the OLW About section credit is given to the feature source

PlatformSpellCheck (MIT) Copyright © 2015 Bruce Bowyer-Smyth

Which shows where the limitation is at:

Managed wrapper for the Microsoft Spell Checking API available in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 and later.

So since I am running OLW on a Windows 7 platform, no integrated spell-checking is available (yet) for me.

This discussion exchange between “ScottIsAFool” and “bbowyersmyth” summarizes the situation for Windows 7 users at the moment.

ScottIsAFool commented Dec 22, 2015

Is there anything in place for if the user is running this on Windows 7? I haven't looked through the code yet, so if there is, forgive me :)

bbowyersmyth commented Dec 22, 2015

No there isn't. This is PR is to get the spell check back up and running using the Windows spell check API (Win8 and later). Win7 will need to be addressed separately with an API that has it's own dictionaries.

ScottIsAFool commented Dec 22, 2015

Sorry, I should have been clearer. What happens if this is run on Windows 7 with your changes in place. I know spell check won't be there, I'm just making sure it doesn't crash or anything :)

bbowyersmyth commented Dec 22, 2015

Oh right. The spelling will be disabled/unavailable like it is currently. There are IsPlatformSupported checks in the initialization.

However hope remains for us Windows 7 folks using OLW when a different API method is added.

So, to summarize.

That is progress!


--Claus Valca

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