Once upon a time, when I first started blogging, I used a tool from Microsoft called Windows Live Writer. Windows Live Writer had a lot of really great features that made it more powerful than typing directly into the WordPress interface. But, over time, it seems Microsoft lost interest. The last real update to the platform was in 2012.
Microsoft Open Sources Windows Live Writer
I abandoned Windows Live Writer after realizing it wouldn’t be updated any more. It’s not that anything was broken, per se, but I didn’t like not having updates and some newer features of various platforms weren’t handled very well by the aging Live Writer.
Today, I learned that Microsoft has released Windows Live Writer as open source. For those of you not familiar with open source software, the idea is that the software is free to both use and modify. What that means to you, as a writer, is that you can use the new open source version of Live Writer, called Open Live Writer, for free. It also means that developers who care about the project can expand, fix, and update it.
So, what’s the catch?
Since the software is free, and the people working on it are volunteers, you can’t get the same kind of support that you might be used to with other software. However, active projects always seem to develop a bit of a community in which there are those who can, and will, help you, as long as you are respectful and honor the fact that they are doing it a volunteers.
I’m excited to see what the future holds for Open Live Writer and look forward to giving it a try. I probably won’t rush to download it right away. For now, it’s just a copy of the old 2012 software, but I have no doubt some improvements will happen right away.
One of my favorite features that I miss from Windows Live Writer was the ability to define certain keyword or key terms and have them automatically link to something. In other words, I could set it so that every time I typed “professional freelance writer” it would automatically link to my freelance writing business website, or something like that. That is invaluable when it comes to search engine optimization, or SEO, as well as for helping new users, or potential clients, find your best content.
I, for one, will be heading over to the Open Live Writer community and seeing how I can pitch in. C# isn’t really in my wheelhouse, but I’m sure I can help as a community member. And, who knows, maybe this will be the excuse I need to expand my web developer skills out into the C# realm as well. I mean, seriously, how hard can it be 🙂