I have a new and blossoming relationship, with a blog editor, and it’s from . . . gulp . . . Microsoft. I’m trying not to feel icky about it, and that’s not hard because there is so much to like about Windows Live Writer. It’s a cinch to set up the connection to your blog, even WordPress blogs (single and multi-user versions). You can have multiple blog connections and switch between them effortlessly. If you ever want to get to the dashboard of your blog, there is a link that you click (labeled Manage Weblog) that will get you to your admin pages.
You can insert hyperlinks and images with ease. As far as images go, you just pluck them from your hard drive and WLW handles the upload to the proper directory. You have lots of control of the appearance of the images, even the ability to add effects and watermarks. You can also insert tables, as well as maps from Microsoft’s Virtual Earth.
Finally, inserting video is extremely easy. Just plug in the URL that’s provided and it will show you a preview. YouTube and Google video work, as I’m sure many others do. There is another, separate tab for Microsoft’s Soap Box video site. Anyway, did I mention that adding video was easy?
What I’ve mentioned so far is what comes with a standard install of WLW. You can also add "plug-ins" (what a quaint little term). There are plug-ins for adding Flickr images, ink from a tablet PC, even SnagIt screen captures.
All of your categories are available to you from a drop-down menu, and you can add categories too. You can also get a live preview of your post and see how it will look in your blog, and even preview and print out your blog post. I’ve installed WLW on a Windows Vista and XP machine, though it is a part of a Windows Live "suite" install (programs like Live Mail and Windows Live Photo Gallery, also worth a look). The experience that I have had with WLW blows away anything I’ve tried previously, such as Flock and Performancing. So it leaves me with a dilemma. Do I avoid it because it’s from Microsoft, or do I reward the people who created this jewel and use it to make my life easier? You might begin to see which way I’m leaning.