Windows Live Writer Wish List

September 9, 2007

blogging Ok, I’ve been using WLW for over a year now and really enjoy the tool.  However, there are a few nit-picking things that I have to be fixed in the darn thing along with some ideas that would benefit the product.

Windows Live Writer In the last two beta releases, they have improved the product substantially (download beta 3 here) with many visual and feature enhancements.  My current favorite update was the ability to (finally!) schedule posting to my hosted WordPress blogs.

  1. Complete Blog Integration – I happen to be a WordPress (hosted on my domain – not wordpress.com) user and expect that all the features will work with it.  Others use TypePad, Blogger, and others.  Integrate the product work the same with all these blogging platforms as well as it does with Live Spaces.
  2. CSS Classes – I wish that the editor would parse the CSS from a selected blog and allow the user to use the CSS Classes to be applied to text/items in the post creation area.  For example, I have a uniquely formatted class called “tags” for each of my blogs, and it formats my “Technorati Tags” with a right-justified arrangement with a border and background combo for each blog.  Same type of class formatting for my abbreviations.
  3. Tag Info – Wish that the tags for the post itself (again the Technorati tags) could be fed to the blog as entries to the “tags” field in the database.  This way, the tagging information can be appended to the post by the blogging software with my formatting, and without putting too much space and visual clutter into each post.
  4. Custom Tagging Tool – The ability to insert tags and have them pre-formatted with the proper URL each time is great.  Here’s what would make it better.  Allow me to completely write the HTML code for the tool – you’re close now, just get rid of any WLW specific HTML.
  5. True XHTML – This is one of the big ones.  GET RID OF ANY CUSTOM “WINDOWS LIVE WRITER” HTML OR “WINDOWS LIVE” SPECIFIC HTML.  The output of this editor MUST be pure XHTML to be truly cross platform usable.  Luckily I’ve figured out how to work around this every time there is a new update to the editor, but others may not be able to do these workarounds.  Simply, if a blog that the bloggers is publishing to is not Windows Live Spaces, then the custom HTML used by WLW should be disabled and the blog theme and CSS should be followed by WLW.

Well, that’s a handful of suggestions that need to be worked into the final release of Windows Live Writer.  Didn’t plan on it being exactly five, but that’s how it works sometimes.  Come on WLW team, let’s get this stuff right, you’re so close to matching my expectations, it’s not too hard to finish it properly.

Anyone else have some suggestions to the Windows Live Writer team?

UPDATE: Thanks to Kent Newsome’s Evening Reading post, I noticed another blogger mentioning WLW. Claus over at Grand Slam Dreams has written a quick review of WLW beta3. Also, for those of you looking for more information on the XHTML support in WLW beta3, check out Joe Cheng at whateverblog where he elaborates on WLW’s XHTML support

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    10 Comments

  1. I would have to agree with you on the WLW specific HTML coding. I would also like to see if possible support for podcast and video blogging.

    It still is one of my favorite tools and one I recommend whole heartiedly.

    Steven Hodson

    September 9, 2007

  2. Hey Rick,
    [I work on the Writer team] Thanks for putting together this list- it’s incredibly helpful for us to get feedback like this from a long time user!

    I have a couple of questions for you:

    1) Regarding the tagging feature, I am thinking that you should be able to completely control the HTML that we generate. Try hitting insert tags, selecting customizing providers, then selecting Technorati, and hitting ‘Edit’. This will bring up a dialog that lets youy completely customize the HTML that we generate (you can even attached you css so you automatically get the right look and feel). If you’re already using this, what additional control would you like?

    2) Regarding the XHTML support, now that we’ve added a version of this in Beta 3, do you still see problems in our implementation/choices?

    Thanks again for the thoughtful post!

    Best,
    Charles

    Charles Teague

    September 10, 2007

  3. Charles, thanks for stopping by and letting me know that you’re interested – it means a lot.
    1.) I’ve customized the HTML for the “Insert Tags” feature and was greatfull to be able to do that. But the HTML that it inserts into the post still has a custom “div class=”wlWriterEditableSmartContent”…” statement that I always have to delete before posting. My blog’s CSS has a “p.tags” class that formats the tags line in the post. I would like to find a way to get rid of the “div” statement mentioned above.
    2.) I’ve just upgraded to beta3 just yesterday and have not had a chance to give it a fair appraisal. I’ve read about the XHTML changes and anticipate that it will help out. I appologize a bit for the ragging on XHTML in my post before reading the updates/changes for beta3 – it deserves a fair shake. :)

    Overall I’m very happy with WLW, but think having more complete control of these individual sections would be of help to me.

    Thanks,
    Rick

    Rick Mahn

    September 10, 2007

  4. see Rick .. just like I told you on Twitter this is one team at MS that really listens and from what I can see does their very best to make a better product for those of us using the tool.

    My hat goes off to the whole team.

    Steven Hodson

    September 10, 2007

  5. Steven, you’re right on the money. I hope I didn’t come across too hard on them – I agree, they’ve been pretty responsive on user requests. (hmm, wondering if the WLW team is on Twitter…)

    Thanks WLW team!

    Tweet you later,
    Rick

    Rick Mahn

    September 10, 2007

  6. (Another WLW team member here)

    I’m on Twitter, but as you can see I don’t use it much: http://twitter.com/jcheng

    You might find my Dynamic Template plugin useful for solving problems #2, #3, and #4. It can generate any markup you want based on whatever inputs you give it.
    http://www.joecheng.com/code/DynamicTemplate/
    If you have trouble figuring it out, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send you an example template for implementing a tagging feature.

    Joe Cheng [MSFT]

    September 11, 2007

  7. Joe,
    Awesome plugin, I definitly will need to spend some time with it. Thanks for the link! Sorry your comment went into moderation – more than one link will do that ;).

    ~Rick

    Rick Mahn

    September 11, 2007

  8. just a quick note to give credit where credit is due it was Joe that had helped me with the problem I was having – thanks again Joe you and the rest of the WLW team are an excellent example of MS folks who go above and beyond the call of duty to help the users out.

    Steven Hodson

    September 12, 2007

  9. Nguyen – Thank you for the link, I’m going to be checking out that plugin later today!

    Rick Mahn

    April 26, 2008

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