Windows Live Writer Beta 2 – Updated Finally

Today saw the much anticipated release of the next version of Windows Live Writer having seen no new builds since November. This new release comes as part of three Windows Live updates, which are Messenger, Mail and Writer, which means not only the new Windows Live UI that we saw in previous screenshots, but also an attempt to give it a more Vista feel to it, as shown straight away with the transparent splash screen: 

Writer Splash

Once the program has loaded we get the first view of the new UI, and if you haven’t seen any of the previous screenshots (here, here), the new UI is quite different to the original beta:


So what else is new? Lots! They include:

  • Adding new categories/tags;
  • Inline spell checking;
  • Support for creating tables;
  • Support for excerpts and extended entries (unfortunately not in Community Server though)
  • Sharepoint 2007 support
  • Plugins become automatically enabled after installation, even if Writer is running
  • Service specific features within the UI (a button to take you to your Windows Live Spaces’ Stats page, for example):
  • Probably the biggest new “feature” this time round is it’s available in 6 different languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Chinese.
  • A nice easy way to get to Windows Live Gallery to add more plugins (if you get an error when going to gallery, or can’t see the writer section as an option, please read my instructions on how to get them enabled).

One of the nice little features I like is the Publishing Reminders (Tools > Options > Preferences):

From a developer point of view, there are new things as well, although not for creating plugins sadly, all of which I will go into in another post soon. All of the plugins should still work as nothing from the original APIs has changed (although if you are a developer, it might be worth just double checking). All of mine work fully, including the popular Video Plugin.

To see more of the changes, go to the full article.



So What Else Is New?

  • Post synchronisation – this is where you post using Writer, then edit the post using your blog form, then re-open the post in Writer. Writer will synchronize the updated content so you aren’t overwriting the edits you made online;
  • Link Glossary – A place you can put your most regularly used links. You get this from the options window and clicking on Link Glossary, once you have some in there, access them in your blog entry by clicking the hyperlink button, then Link to, Glossary entry, then choose your entry;
  • Preferences for window management:
  • You can now have more than just 5 plugins showing in the Insert section, in fact, you’re only limit for how many you can have is the size of your screen;
  • High DPI / High Contrast support;
  • The team have also tried to ensure that you see less of those “Temporary posts” for getting the blog style.

What’s Fixed?

So what about problems that have been reported? What bug fixes are there? These include:

  • When posting images to Windows Live Spaces, Writer no longer overwrites images with the same name, each blog entry has its own folder (on the MS servers) like how the other blog providers are done;
  • Hyperlink dialog now works for images;
  • Images are no longer re-upload every time you edit your post (only if the image changes).

What’s Next?

These are things that I’m hoping will be in the next version:

  • The ability to rename images within the blog entry (for example if you paste a screenshot in, I might want to give it a meaningful filename);
  • A British spell checker (ok, a spell checker for other markets too);
  • More APIs;
  • Support for podcasting (think;
  • More support for inline stylesheets;
  • Reduce blurring in images when pasting an image (like a screenshot) straight into Writer.