Aaron posted something new on his website and it’s truly more [I think] of a personal existential experiment than what Microsoft would openly offer. But it’s nice to see that Aaron is willing to step out of the box and make an attempt to put a human face to the Windows Live Writer dev team, and for Microsoft in general.
In my opinion… and I don’t know him personally, but I think his post is more of a curiosity thing, more of a thing to show the Microsoft dev team, ‘hey, look at all this feedback!’, the people can and this is what they want— this is how they feel about Windows Live Writer.
Question is; once all this hub-bub has calmed down and the comments subside, will Microsoft Windows Live team even stopped to listen? Will they care? Or is it back to listening to which shareholder is using Windows Live Writer, and what do they want it to do [today]?
Aaron has/had a great idea, but I can’t just respond in his comments section on his post; so I did this post to answer his request/post…
Knowing what’s wanted in Windows Live Writer isn’t really a hard thing to figure out, you just have to go to the support forums. All the problems and wishes are right there to read…
The Windows Live forums are so jacked up you can’t search or find anything, you won’t be notified when your post is updated, so it’s very difficult to find out what Microsoft Windows Live dev team has reported, or what they’ve resolved. And there’s never a WHAT’s NEW in the Windows Live Writer programs— so you don’t know what changes from version to version.
Here’s my list of top things for Windows Live Writer to implement for the greater good, from requests presented in the support forum:
[Like it’s some sort of mystery…]
Find And Replace
Absolutely, a must have for Windows Live Writer. Why it’s not already in there— I don’t know; it’s 2011 and so simple to implement. Why it has to require a plug-in to have the option to do a find and replace on a post is beyond me.
Another MUST have for Windows Live Writer is the ability to attach files to a blog. This is another basic function I believe Windows Live Writer should’ve put in place for before the 2011 release. Instead, Windows Live Writer relies on plug-ins to do that for the application.
Add the Ability to Indent
Windows Live Writer misses the basic ability to indent. Blockquote TAG is the only option there is to indent in Windows Live Writer. And while some blog themes react to this just fine, this isn’t the case for other blogs and thus there should be an option adjust indenting method.
Indenting text can be done with a P or a DIV tag in the HTML code [very easily] and the application of the callout of the MARGIN is the magical option. Just about every blogging editor has an option to indent [using margins] and still Windows Live Writer doesn’t.
The last time I inquired about it, I was told it’d be handled in the next version. The next version is out and nothing was done.
[this whole section is a DIV section with a MARGIN indent]
Sync Plug-ins, posts and drafts to the ‘cloud’ – not just Skydrive. This would include a service like drop box or somethingelse, like gDrive. Since Microsoft doesn’t want users to have a portable version [see below] — maybe we can have a SYNC option.
Storage of Posts
With the current structure of Windows Live Writer right now, all the posts are placed in to a specific location on your hard drive; you can’t change that or move it.
C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\My Weblog Posts\
This poses some problems for some people. Windows Live Writer needs the option to be able to specify where they want to keep their posts and drafts.
Able to store posts and drafts in another places, not the hard coded place Microsoft wants.
A better extension handling, something like Firefox or Chrome has; something easier. ONe of the most appealing thing about Windows Live Writer is the expansibility of the application, but at the same time, there’s not that many plug-ins in the gallery.
And Microsoft just tried to update the Windows Live Writer gallery with a new format and it’s horrible, so much its been taken down only 2 days of being placed online. Microsoft needs to work on this a lot.
Expanding the functions of Windows Live Writer is easy with the use of plug-ins; here’s a link to the main Windows Live Writer gallery…
Better handling for tables would be nice; what you’ve now is something from the 90′s. Microsoft FrontPage 2003 has better support right now than Windows Live Writer. You can’t even set a background color for a table in Windows Live Writer right now.
Editing OLD Posts
The execution of Windows Live Writer on editing OLD posts is horrible. The current construct of Windows Live Writer says that it has to query the blog, require the server to use all it’s memory to establish a list and then have that list downloaded to the local PC, and this is done per request, each time.
I have already proved that Windows Live Writer retrieval process is flawed and turned in a bug report. The servers without enough memory will not allow you to read/edit old posts.
This poses a problem to a majority of Windows Live Writer users that have over 500 posts [dependent on host server memory].
There’s a hack to opening old posts here…
Storing Posts offline
Very close in the previous point, posts should be stored offline. Windows Live Writer should’ve the ability to download and store your posts offline [w/images], even if Windows Live Writer didn’t write them; and this is for some very important reasons.
A. Referencing all old posts, to find similar posts/topics in regards to the one your writing— Zemanta does this a bit within it’s plug-in, but having this natively seems to be obvious.
B. To be able to reuse, gallery images, pictures in more current posts [recycling if you will]. I’d like to reference Zoundry Raven [open source] in this section because it has this function already and works very well as an offline resource for finding like stories and images; it’s ver convienient.
C. Backup; everyone in the forums are always asking about backups of their blog/blogs. Currently Windows Live Writer only stores what it composes. Any posts not created with Windows Live Writer in some way or the other, there’s no backup of that content.
AutoLinking Per Blog [LinkGlossary.XML]
Everyone who has a blog, most likely has another, or multiple ones.
One of the neatest, and time saving, features of Windows Live Writer is the auto linking feature, but if you blog about technology and about tree pruning, you may not have a need to link technology links in your tree pruning blog; that’s why there should be an auto linking library per blog, and/or the option simply use a global one.
Theme Detection Correction
Windows Live Writer biggest draw and point of friction is the Theme Detection. Windows Live Writer advertises the ability to edit posts with a WYSIWYG editing environment, but when Windows Live Writer can’t detect the theme, problems and frustration ensue.
Themes for blogging services [Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress, Etc.] continue to evolve and while Windows Live Writer has made some improvements to theme detection; it’s still not perfect.
This was also a problem with previous versions as well, and Brandon Turner saw this and actually tried to come up with a way to FIX the theme problems with Windows Live Writer, but even when I submitted my suggestion to make the theme FIX part of Windows Live Writer, I knew it wouldn’t.
This problem continues to plague users and this is why I believe Windows Live Writer dev should offer more in the form of theme correction and the ability to MANUALLY edit the basic Template theme, per blog account. So, even if you can’t download YOUR blog theme, you can still compose and edit the post based on the FONT and the WIDTH of the blog column…
Something I‘ve asked for repeatedly.
Windows Live Writer needs to have the ability to edit multiple images at once. For instance, if you import 20 images in to a blog post, you should be able to use the CTRL option to select all the images you want and then apply image size, effects, alignment and basic adjustments, at one time; right now you’ve to do that one at a time [unless you’re using a default option]
Options for more Image Profiles
Image profiles should have the option to add more, or manage them. Small, Medium, Large and Original just aren’t robust enough. Anyone who’s ever added images to Windows Live Writer knows this is an area for improvement.
Better Access to Plug-ins [Return the SIDEBAR]
With the latest release of Windows Live Writer the ribbon GUI was introduced. While this is great for some, it was a less than stellar addition from my point of view. The biggest issue is the removal of the SIDEBAR.
The Sidebar used to be quick access to all the plug-ins I was using, now the plug-ins are buried in a drop down menu I have to navigate each time I’d like to apply a plug-in effect or function.
In my opinion… there should be at least an option to use a sidebar. There are users out there that more more advanced and would greatly appreciate its return.
USB Portable Version
Windows Live Writer is arguably the best blogging tool there’s on the web. Even MAC users want Windows Live Writer for MAC; that’s how good it is, but while the previous version had a hack that’d allow v14 to be loaded on to a jumpdrive, Windows Live dev team seems to have closed that loop and denied users from having Windows Live Writer on a jumpdrive— taking it on the go.
Again, Windows Live Writer is very popular. I fail to see why Microsoft would not allow a portable version— its been requested over and over.
I spend a lot of time in the Windows Live Writer forum and I make an attempt offer help and workarounds to issues as they’re presented. Lots of users are requesting help on Windows Live Writer issues, but sadly on a lot of issues there’s only a response to SUBMIT FEEDBACK for features…
I’d speculate this is okay for Microsoft, but I believe people are getting used to, from other projects, seeing what’s being worked on; what’s being fixed. There’s many projects like Hootsuite and others that have open forums,a nd the USERS vote on what need to be fixed.
Microsoft Windows Live dev team [not that I’ve seen] offer an open notice the development of Windows Live Writer. There’s nothing to show direction of Windows Live Writer, or what users are requesting most. I believe this makes a typical user feel powerless and hopeless in the application that they’re using.
And all the issues I have listed here have been presented in the forums on multiple times; you’re welcome to research it— I just wished the Windows Live dev team was more open about Windows Live Writer and it’s current status and future.
Even with all the things that are listed here that need to be fix and/or addressed, Windows Live Writer is still the best blogging software.
If not already, download the latest version…
I appreciate it…
Larry Henry Jr.