As I mentioned in my previous post, I am writing some of my blog entries in "Windows Live Writer" now. It is a little simpler than logging into Movable Type every time I want to make a post, but there are a lot of problems with it as well. First of all, It doesn’t understand the multi-level category concept, therefore all of my categories are in a flat list, which in some situations makes very little sense. Also, I can only select one category at a time, bummer.
Windows Live Writer is a more comfortable writing environment for me, its more like writing in Word, including the auto-save functions. I am not constantly being careful of what I do in my browser so that I don’t crash mid-edit. MovableType offers some protection, but not enough to make me happy. WLW allows me to set a publish date, the same as MT does, but for "in the moment" posts, it posts the actual publication time, not the time that I first thought about writing, which is often a few hours before I even get started on anything. There is also the benefit of Microsoft’s wonderful spell checking engine, I am not relying on A-Spell or the OpenOffice spelling kit to give me bad suggestions.
The coolest thing about WLW is that it offers some really neat plugins that help me do what I want to do. For example, I can now link in Flickr content without having to either publish from Flickr or create my own little linked thumbnail set. Some of the plugins are a little lame though, most of them are for programmers (makes sense, programmers wrote them), things like "code snippets" and "insert from console". Neat features, just not useful to most people (but they are useful to me sometimes). There also some more blog-traditional plugins, like the "currently listening" and "tags" plugins. I’m looking forward to using the Amazon.com functionality at some point, it looks really cool.
Some problems I have run into are that it won’t install on Windows Server at all, which nocks out 2 of my primary systems from being able to run it, restricting it to my laptop and to only one OS of my desktop (Vista). The other thing that pisses me off is that there is only 1 ink-blogging tool available and it is for TabletPC users only. I want to write from my tablet too damn it!
I wish WLW were more of a "full service" blog tool, but I’ll take what I can get. It would be neat to manage comments and be able to respond to them from here, but I cant. I never thought I would use a WYSIWYG blog application, but I am and I kind of like it.
WLW is part of the Microsoft Windows Live Desktop Pack if you wish to give it a try. You can get it at http://get.live.com/ (felt great not having to do that link by hand).