When I first started blogging, I used LiveJournal’s own facilities to edit my posts, but for many years now, I’ve used Windows Live Writer instead – a program created by Microsoft as part of their Live Essentials suite that just makes editing blog posts much easier, and allows me to save drafts offline before posting, as I tend to be a slow, careful writer. The single most useful thing it does is make posting pictures easy, but there are quite a number of things it just makes easier in greater or lesser ways.
However, it hasn’t been updated since 2012, when Microsoft indicated they weren’t going to develop it any further. That’s kind of OK – as a free app, it wasn’t directly making Microsoft any money so it’s difficult to complain if they decide it’s no longer worth it.
It was really disappointing, though, to think that some day I might not be able to use such a useful program because it just got left behind.
I wasn’t alone in thinking that, and people both inside and outside Microsoft campaigned to have it open-sourced, so that its development and maintenance could be picked up by enthusiasts.
Today Scott Hanselman announced that Live Writer has been open sourced, and you can download Open Live Writer immediately. It’s currently a little less capable than the old version, mainly because of third-party licensing reasons, but I expect replacement functionality will be on its way (some is definitely already planned), and that in time Open Live Writer will be an even better solution than Windows Live Writer has already been.
If you’re a blogger on Windows and don’t use it already, I’d recommend checking it out. If you’re already a Windows Live Writer user, it’s good to know there’s a new future for the application.
If you’re a developer and want to contribute, you can subscribe to the mailing list and explore it on GitHub. Scott Hanselman’s article is a good introduction.
Postscript: of course, having said that the single most useful thing it does is make posting pictures easy, Open Live Writer failed to do so for this post. Still, the original Windows Live Writer still works, I’ve filed a bug, and I’m sure it’ll get sorted out in due course.
Post-postscript: as a result of my bug report, it's already been found and fixed in development in a little over an hour, so shouldn't be too long before it's fixed in an actual release.