Windows Live Writer 2009 RC released
(Sorry, I’m a bit late with this post, as we went live with the RC on Monday morning.)
Windows Live Essentials 2009 RC has shipped, including a new drop of Writer. Here’s a fairly generic announcement from the official Windows Live blog. Check out the post on the Writer team blog for a complete list of new features since the last beta.
And my customary list of highlights and lowlights:
- Spell checking in more languages. Users have been asking us for more spell checkers for a long time. Due to a combination of contractual and technical reasons, we haven’t been able to deliver—until now.
- Server-side tagging. As a WordPress user myself, this means I can finally start using tags instead of just categories. BlogEngine.NET users can get in on the fun too.
- Type-down filtering in the Open dialog. The Open dialog is one of the more neglected corners of Writer. It’s always been difficult to find old posts you want to edit—the older, the harder. Hopefully this will make it a bit easier. (And by the way, Spaces users can finally look at more than just the 20 most recent posts.)
- More AtomPub under the covers. Though there are no new features to speak of for 3rd party AtomPub servers, some might be happy to know that Writer now uses AtomPub to blog on Windows Live Spaces and to publish images and photo albums to SkyDrive. (These AtomPub services aren’t available for 3rd party developers to use—yet.)
- Performance. We took a big bite out of startup time and removed a lot of latency from general text editing.
- Photo albums. Just look at that, come on!! You have to admit that’s pretty sweet!
- Windows Server 2008 officially supported. See? We do listen to user feedback! You can all stop sending me hate mail now. (Not you Windows Server 2003 users, you guys can keep sending it.)
- New support forum. We finally got off the horribly antiquated MSN Spaces, and onto a modern forum platform. Check out our new digs here.
- Photo album performance. If you drop images straight out of your 12-megapixel camera into a photo album, it can take several seconds for us to draw the splashy thumbnail. This was the best performance we were able to eke out with the technology we had on hand (GDI+). Clearly we have lots of room for improvement here.
- Low-res support. Netbooks are all the rage this year, and some parts of our UI were not designed for a 600-pixel vertical screen resolution. For example, some options on the image sidebar are simply inaccessible.
On a more reflective note, this was the first full milestone (Beta to RC) we did without Charles Teague, our dev lead and voice of reason since the earliest days of Onfolio, who left the team and Microsoft this past September to join a Boston-based VC firm. While we do sorely miss his leadership, it’s gratifying to see that our team has continued to thrive even in his absence. What can I say… he taught us well.
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