Second on the list – the Microsoft LiveWriter. While not truly free (or free software) it is available to those using licensed copies of the Windows Operating system.
Again, the install was simple. You can bypass the various WindowsLive toolbar installers as you like, although the WindowsLive toolbar search feature for those who use Outlook is very nice. However, as Alton Brown on “Good Eats” says – “That’s another show.”
Even though the tool is really set up to work with Microsoft’s LiveSpaces product, it does autodetect a WordPress install and pulled down all the info on the current site settings. What is really impressive is that if pulls the site style – including background and font. So typing is like editing directly on the blog page. There are options to view the edit panel in plain text and HTML also, should you not like reading your text in the design of your blog.
Also impressive is a preview function that places the new post in the contect of the existing page.
The category interface is a bit harder to find – being a dropdown in the upper part of the screen. It did import all the current categories. There is also an interface allowing you to open and existing post.
Post date and time are configurale through the View…Post Properties menu option. This is an important thing for many people who like to write in advance and load stories to be published at a specific date and time.
The big thing I am still looking for is photo integration with Gallery – specifically with the G2 project. Digging into the behind the scenes info on LiveWriter it appears that there is an API that will allow the creation of such an interface. There is already a community release of a Flicker interface. So there is promise there.
The other thing that is not available is the WordPress specific tags – like more. Will take a look at how to insert those later.
High coolness factor – the ability to insert WindowsLive maps.
So for a Microsoft tool that is designed to woork with (and promote) their WindowsLive product line – it is good to see that it offers some other good features for those who have alternative blogs.