Windows Live Writer 2009 went final last week during CES. (It’s actually the same bits as the RC [14.0.8050.1202] since no show stopping bugs were found since then.)

If you’re still on an older build of Writer, go download it now!


Ever since WordPress 2.3 hit the scene, adding native tagging support, there’s been some (understandable) confusion as to whether Windows Live Writer supports tags, and how it relates to WP native tags. Hopefully this post will clear things up.

If you’re using WordPress 2.3.1 or later, look for either Keywords or Tags near the bottom of the screen. You may first have to press F2 (or click the little up-arrow) to expand the property panel.

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Better yet, if you’re using WordPress 2.7 (or WordPress.com) and Windows Live Writer 2009 RC or later, you’ll get tag autocompletion! The tags field also moves upwards, adjacent to the categories field.

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The same instructions apply for BlogEngine.NET, though I don’t think a build has been formally released yet that supports tag autocompletion.

Continue reading ‘Tags, Writer, and WordPress’


In case you’re wondering what the “instant photo” border treatment feature is, here’s an example.

 Instant Photo example

It plays nice with the Crop and Tilt features.

No, you cannot currently provide a caption to be written on the border. If that’s important to you, you might consider the “Polaroid Picture” plug-in.


(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.

Here’s some coverage from labnol, Lifehacker, live-writer.de (German).

And my customary list of highlights and lowlights:

Highlights

  • 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.

Lowlights

  • 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.


I’ve posted workarounds before to make the Firefox Blog This plugin for Windows Live Writer work for Firefox 3.0 and later. Now we’ve finally taken the first (public) steps to solving this problem the right way.

Our revised extension is now available on addons.mozilla.org. We’re currently in their “Sandbox” which means you will have to log in to download the extension. After enough people download it and write reviews (please!), we’ll be allowed to nominate the extension for graduation from the Sandbox. At that point we’ll take down the older version of the plugin from gallery.live.com and announce the new plugin on our team blog.

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By the way, there is no new functionality in this version, other than an updated (Windows Live 2009 style) icon.

Sorry for making you wait for six months for this. Our (and especially my) bad!


Untitled - Windows Live Writer Beta (2)I’m about 14 hours late with this blog post—at noon today, we officially released the first beta of the Windows Live “Wave 3” client suite, and that means a new release of Windows Live Writer. It’s all available—for free, of course—at http://download.live.com.

For a list of the new features in this release, you’ll want to refer to the official Writer blog post. Personally, I’m really excited about the new look and feel—whereas the old Writer skin called a lot of attention to itself, the new skin just gets out of the way and lets you focus on your content.

Under the covers, a ton of bugs have been fixed, in many different areas across the app. If you’ve had trouble with a previous version of Writer, I’d encourage you to try again with the new beta, and if it still doesn’t work, be sure to let us know in our forum.

On a sour note, we found a new bug last night that causes blog configuration to fail for certain (mostly less-popular) blog types. When blog configuration is almost finished, a crash occurs and you’re unable to complete the blog configuration wizard. We’ve spent today taking steps to mitigate the problem, so hopefully most people won’t encounter it. If you do happen to see a crash in the blog configuration wizard, restart Writer and try again. If it still happens, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Thanks—and keep the feedback coming!


Every once in a while we hear from a user that text renders smaller in Windows Live Writer than it does in the browser. We tried numerous times to get to the bottom of the problem, which we suspected had to do with the Text Size setting in Internet Explorer, but no amount of tweaking in IE options made a difference.

Thanks to Noah Coad and some friendly folks on the IE team, the mystery is solved.

What’s going on here is that there is a registry key that defines the default text size for IE6 and earlier.  IE7 kept the old key for embedded browsers but uses a new one for full instances of IE.  Some apps (like Product Studio, an internal MS app) change the regkey without setting it back.  The result is that embedded browsers across your PC now look wrong, and there isn’t an easy way to fix it since embedded browsers don’t usually present a text size option.

See his blog post for the solution. You can just click “Download the Reg Fix” if you don’t feel comfortable mucking with the registry yourself.