FINALLY! Writer Beta 2!

30May07

After almost nine months, we’ve released a major new release of Windows Live Writer! I know nine months feels like a long time between beta releases, but that time was not spent idly–we’ve packed a metric truckload of features and bug fixes into this release.

Our official blog post on the subject hits a lot of the highlights, but I thought I would offer my personal list of favorite new features and bug fixes, some of which are not very flashy but nonetheless important to those who really use the product, day-in and day-out.

Highlights:

  • Adding categories: Yes, you can finally add categories directly from within Writer! You can even do it while you’re writing a draft offline, since we don’t actually “commit” the new category until you publish. (WordPress users can even specify hierarchical categories!) Oh yeah, Blogger labels work now too.
  • Extended entry support: I was embarrassed that we didn’t support this from the beginning, as this is a crucial feature for a lot of users. We probably would have, had we known then it would be nine months before our next release.
  • Post synchronization: If you publish a post from Writer, then edit it online, then open it back up in Writer, you used to get just the original post. Now we’re smart enough to fetch the modified version.
  • Fewer temporary posts: We’ll try mightily to detect your blog style without publishing and deleting temporary post. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Good, don’t worry about it.)
  • Inline spell checking: Surprisingly difficult to do right, but very important to our users.
  • Sane windowing behavior: Beta 1 launches a new Writer window if you even think about a different post. Beta 2 almost always reuses the existing Writer window. (If you do want a new window, just hit the Writer shortcut again. If you always want new windows, you can go back to the Beta 1 behavior by going into Preferences.)
  • Paste Special: I am proud of the job we do of scrubbing the excess formatting off of HTML as it comes in (one of the few features I worked on for Beta 1) but it bothered me that you didn’t have a choice about it. Now you do! As a side bonus, pasting embed tags from YouTube Soapbox works great.
  • Category reminder: You can configure Writer to ask for confirmation if you try to publish a post without setting a category. Such a small thing, but I always forget to set categories otherwise.
  • New look: Ah, so sexy. Personally I think it looks best on Vista, whereas the old version looks a little out of place on our newest OS. I mostly run it in the default color scheme, but try it in Zune Brown: Red-64, Green-64, Blue-0.
    Brown Writer

Seeing as how we had nine whole months to work on this release, we managed to get a ton of features and bug fixes into it. As with any other release, though, there was still stuff that didn’t make the cut, didn’t get finished in time, didn’t have high enough quality to ship, etc. Here’s my list of top regrets. As usual, I can’t make any predictions as to if or when they will be added to the product.

Lowlights:

  • No XHTML: Now I personally don’t care much about whether my blog is validating XHTML, seeing as how it’s being served up with text/html, but over the past nine months a passionate vocal minority has asked for–nay, demanded–that Writer generate well-formed, validating XHTML. I love hearing from passionate vocal minorities–they’re often onto something. XHTML support steadily crawled up the priority list but alas, the developers who could implement it were saddled with even higher priority work. Maybe next time.
  • No Atom Publishing Protocol support (other than Blogger): Seeing as how we supported one Atom implementation for Beta 1, I thought it would only be natural to ship a generic Atom client for Beta 2. Unfortunately the Atom Publishing Protocol spec is not finalized yet, and the changes they’re still making are meaningful enough that anything we shipped today simply would not work with servers that were written to the final spec. We’d rather wait until the target has stopped moving.
  • No Blogger image uploading: This wasn’t possible before, but is now, due to Google releasing an API for their Picasaweb service. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen until long after we were pencils-down for this release.
  • Image quality bugs: We fixed some image quality bugs in this release, but some stubborn ones remain. We’ll do a more thorough pass in the next release.
  • Subpar localized versions: I’m told by our international testers that the non-English builds of Writer have a lot of string truncation bugs (that’s when the text runs off the window or is obscured by another UI element). Rest assured that we are fully committed to making the localized versions of Writer as high-quality as the English version–we just weren’t able to get there with this release.


53 Responses to “FINALLY! Writer Beta 2!”

  1. Thanks!
    Great work

  2. Kudos to the team! Looking forward to trying it out and providing some feedback.

  3. 3 w.y.

    Great work! Thanks

    Sir, it seems that the new WLW doesn’t support Google’s Blogger Labels.

  4. 4 w.y.

    Ok, I found Labels already which is located at the bottom of WLW.

  5. Joe, this is like synchronicity, the same week I Blogged on where WLW would be… this great thing happens. I’m going to play with it. thanks for a great product. Cogmios.

  6. Hey. I can’t seem to find a download link? Nothing here:http://writer.live.com/

  7. Cheng:

    I wrote a review about Windows Live Writer yesterday. I followed your tips and turn the Window Live Setup service off. However, everytime I start Windows Live Writer, it just automatically restart the Live setup services. “WLSetupSvc.exe”. It then start a svchost.exe taking 99% CPU usage and 70MB+ memory. I have totally disable the service to avoid the issues, but I don’t what else will be disabled. Would that affect my MSN messenger services?

    The live writer itself is taking 70+ memory as well. If I am doing a long blog and loading some images, it will take 120MB memory space. Is this something that you guys can do to solve this. I know you guys are doing beta, so I expect the release version will not have this problem.

    What exactly the Window Live setup services is dong?

    Here is my second review.
    http://www.terencechang.com/2007/06/07/windows-live-writer-review-round-two/

    I am getting used to the Windows Live Writer over BlogDesk primary because that Windows Live Writer support Blogger.com.

    Thanks!

  8. 9 Rick

    Hey Joe, WLW works great for me on my WordPress.com and Blogger blogs. It’s not working with my privately hosted WordPress 2.2 blogs, however. I’ve tried fixing the xmlrpc.php file, as that seemed to be an issue, but I still don’t have any luck. Any other thoughts on this?

  9. 10 Oran

    +1 for Blogger image uploading! Once you add that, WLW is absolutely perfect, for me anyway.

  10. 11 Flub

    Another vote for image uploading – and then you’ll have another convert🙂

  11. A fantastic product, by FAR the best blogging tool on any platform. I’m extremely unhappy that it’s an XP rather than OS X product. (sulk).

    I would love to see it pull down past blogger posts and drafts, so one can then activate synchronization from the server. Currently synchronization only works if one publishes from Live Writer. I admit, a possibly much harder task.

    I’d be even happier if Microsoft were to abruptly decide they wanted to port this to Cocoa🙂.

  12. John, Writer can pull down any previous post/draft on Blogger. Just go to the Open dialog and click the blog on the left. Hope that helps.

  13. 14 ritaas

    i am 74 havent a clue how i got onto this page but am amazed
    IS THIS A WHOLE NEW LANGUAGE? I have not been able to decifer one word,its as if i have gone into an orbit and found a far out planet
    what on earth are u all on about and what is a blogger i only know logger and bugger but dunno if you are half and half
    oh dear obviously will have to talk to seven yr old grandson he may understand
    dont forget there are a lot of wrinklies out here so give some thought and help to us
    good luck

  14. 15 seams2me

    TO Ritaas I LOVE what you wrote. I also am very wrinkle-eee
    I have just started to blog and feel like I am 70 going back to kindergarten! What is Writer? Can anyone explain this to me?
    and….how come when I give out what I think is my blog address, no one can find it???? Seams2me my little gray cells have taken a dive! pj

  15. It’s never too late to blog everything about your life. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what language you write. It doesn’t matter if anyone will read it or not. It’s nice to have a place to put down something that at least you are the online care about it.

    The more I use Windows Live Writer, the more I like it. I have already got rid of BlogDesk, which I wrote a review about it.
    http://www.terencechang.com/2007/06/06/my-choose-of-offline-blogging-blogdesk-over-windows-live-writer/

    Now I am 100% on Windows Live Writer. There are still some portion of the software that I don’t like it, or I just need to figure it. Over all, I am happy with it now.
    http://www.terencechang.com/2007/06/07/windows-live-writer-review-round-two/

  16. Love it except for… image uploading to blogger, no layout format reading or downloading from blogger.

    Kinda the 2 main things I was looking for, to preview layout and tweak before publishing. When you’ve got them done, we’ll be hummin’ happy tunes🙂

  17. Hi Joe
    I’ve downloaded Windows Live Writer and attempted from there but i cant seem to post from there. Each time an error message comes out, prompting me “Server Error 401 Ocurred. Sorry, you cannot post on this weblog or category.”
    Just what is the problem? Please help me how to rectify the problem.
    Thank you.

  18. Love it on both now, just bumped it onto the new laptop w/ VISTA and will try the color change suggestion…
    love the shadows and framing of images, can you make that transferable to BLOGGER? as well – i love little goodies like that? Am new to all of this…but having a blast
    Dakota

  19. I add my voice to Ritaas and Seams2me as another wrinkled blogger!
    Do I undeerstand that I have to download Window Live Writer to my
    hard drive and it then will be available to blogger?

    Thank you for any explanations,

    Fran

  20. 21 BeauteousLife

    Hi, I like the new window live writer release, however I have a problem.

    it says here “You need to customize the Weblog API URL before proceeding.”

    So I need to know what is the API URL for Blogger.com

    Thank you,

    Beauteous.

  21. 22 hok

    Yes, please add blogger upload in the next beta or RC or final🙂. I’ll love it.

  22. keep the great work

  23. Thanks, Joe. WLW is great and the new version adds so much to it!

  24. The Beta 1 did not support the “Keywords” field of Movable Type (and possibly other Blogging platform). Does beta 2 have it?

    Thanks.

  25. I love the program but have one niggle. I can’t minimise it to the system tray like I can with Semagic for LJ

  26. I have few blogs, but suddendly the two tabs above the top right corner of the create box disappeared (missing). How do I retrieve them back?

    Thanks,

    M.Do-Nguyen

  27. 28 usha

    Thanks, Joe.

  28. 29 jon

    Insert Ink Blog is crashing Live Writer.. It’s the only plugin I have installed.
    The warning is:

    System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly ‘Microsoft.mshtml, Version=7.0.3300.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a’ or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.
    File name: ‘Microsoft.mshtml, Version=7.0.3300.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a’
    at Agilix.Ink.Scribble.Scribble..ctor()
    at Agilix.Ink.Scribble.ScribbleContainer.0()
    at Agilix.Ink.Scribble.ScribbleContainer..ctor()
    at Agilix.Ink.Scribble.ScribbleBox.0()
    at Agilix.Ink.Scribble.ScribbleBox..ctor()
    at InkBlogPlugIn.InkInputForm.1(gdn0y654jn)xn()
    at InkBlogPlugIn.InkInputForm..ctor()
    at InkBlogPlugIn.InkBlog.CreateContent(IWin32Window dialogOwner, ISmartContent newContent)
    at WindowsLive.Writer.PostEditor.ContentSources.ContentSourceManager.PerformInsertion(IContentSourceSite sourceSite, ContentSourceInfo contentSource)

    WRN: Assembly binding logging is turned OFF.
    To enable assembly bind failure logging, set the registry value [HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Fusion!EnableLog] (DWORD) to 1.
    Note: There is some performance penalty associated with assembly bind failure logging.
    To turn this feature off, remove the registry value [HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Fusion!EnableLog].

    I have no idea what this refers to, & cannot find that registry key at all.

  29. I have just started my blog and I haven’t figured out how to write my blog off- line. It is not in any of the questions/answers. Can you please tell me what to do.

    Thank you

    Judy Pierson

  30. I have just started my blog and I haven’t figured out how to write my blog off- line. It is not in any of the questions/answers. Can you please tell me what to do.Can you reply to my e-mail address above please

    Thank you

    Judy Pierson

  31. 32 terencechang

    Joe:

    I just had one problem and don’t know if you already have answer or not…

    I try to post Chinese characters to the WordPress …. It publish to the site with all the question mark (?). I thought Writer support UTF-8 encoding. Is there a problem in the Writer or the WordPress?

    Thanks!

  32. Joe:

    Thank you so much! I got your message and the problem is fixed.

    Great information. I have update my site and post the solutions as well.

    Thanks!

  33. 34 valardhur

    fine

  34. 35 Phil

    Forced into WordPress and blogging recently with a dozen of my websites, I became severely depressed giving up my Dreamweaver-style local compositing & upload for the stone-age tools of blogging CMS.

    Thanks team for this absolute jewel.

    [ No, this really is a genuine, unrelated human thanking the WLW team ]

    Phil V.

  35. Works great even with hebrew chars.

    Thanks

  36. The best Blog Editor ever!
    Great Job!

  37. 38 Jez

    Hi Joe,
    i have the same problem here as Beauteous. I have no idea what is the API url for blogger.

    Thank you.

    Jez

  38. Hey guys, please report any problems to our MSN Group. It’s much easier for me to answer your questions there. Thanks!

    http://groups.msn.com/windowslivewriter/generaltopics.msnw

  39. 40 Ritesh

    what is this .
    during installation it asks.

    from where i can get it for Blogger.com

  40. 41 Ritesh

    feed_id is thing was talking about/

  41. Hi.
    You should probably know – the link on the official Writer Zone website to the Beta 2 is probably linking to Beta 1. The Andrew Voss link:
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/e/c/1ecbf3be-298b-467c-84d8-6f86f01478d7/EN-IN/Install_WLWriter.exe
    is the only one that actually gives you the right version!!!

  42. Michael, yep, thanks–we’re working on it…

  43. 44 Swampy

    Pity it still doesn’t provide justification as an alignment option, although if you edit an existing Blogger article that has justification turned on, it preserves the setting.

    WLW is way ahead of Blogger’s own client, especially when it comes to making changes to existing posts. Voila!

  44. All of this is just nifty peachy and sends shivers down my back goodie but for me it won’t haul bit of shitz brand kibble up a hill on my MAC! When is someone going port some of these OH-SO-WONDERFUL tools and applications over to OUR side of the Great Divide?

    I thank you for you kind attention.

  45. 46 tjmuse

    All is well and good but can someone please tell me how to configure live writer so that it will connect to blogger in the first place?

  46. tjmuse, when prompted for your blog homepage URL, use the same URL that visitors use to read your blog. For example, http://tjmuse.blogspot.com. If that’s what you’re doing and it still doesn’t work, let me know.

  47. Hey…it’s not working for me at all. I’ve been blazing through the net in trying to resolve this issue, but it keeps on telling me that it can’t connect to blogger.com when I’m doing my initial set up.
    I use my feed-id in it…and nothing is happening…hope you can help…

    Many kind thanks

  48. 49 motorman

    try name.blogspot.com instead of blogger.com


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