Saturday, 16 May 2009

TIP - WLW Exposed

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I have spent some time exploring the many attributes of 'Windows Live Writer' and it continues to surprise me with its versatility.

Your needs will probably NOT be as demanding as mine (I'm a 'geek' who likes to push the envelope), but even for the simplest of tasks, like putting up a new post, this little gem is going to make your life so EASY that when you start to use it you'll wonder how you managed without the darn thing!

This is truly a WYSIWYG editor of unparalleled excellence, because you actually type into the space allocated to you by your blog template. So, what you see in the window is exactly what you get when the post is published. You can format your paragraphs with the alignment of your choice, 'left', 'right', 'centred' or 'justified' (as this post is). It spell-checks as you type, underlining your spelling mistakes just like a word processor does, so there is no longer any excuse for those hilarious 'typos'. You can even select to  'bold', 'italicise', 'underline', 'strikeout' or 'change the colour of the font' on the fly.

What's not to like about that?

And none of this requires you to get your hands dirty with HTML and CSS. The programme does it all for you, although, in its typical Microsoft way the code produced isn't necessarily 'standards compliant'. But I don't suppose you care about that little nicety if you are an 'average' blogger. You should, but I won't hold it against you!

If you haven't already tried it out you're probably wondering what all the hype is about. So I suppose a couple of graphics are in order. I haven't planned any of this, so I shall post and edit, look at how things are being displayed, change formatting to 'present' the post as I'd like it to be presented, then click on the button that says 'Publish', and it is done …


SnagIt capture of the WLW start page

I use 'SnagIt' almost exclusively for my screen captures and this programme comes with a plug-in that allows me to use SnagIt directly from this window. That's a 'wooo-hooo' for me!


WLW Edit window showing history and add-ons

Of course, the graphics 'sizing', 'placement' and 'effects' are far superior to anything I've seen in any other WYSIWYG editor. And the three little tabs at the bottom of the window, 'Edit', 'Preview' and 'Source' do exactly what they are intended to. 'Edit' is the pane I've shown in the screen captures above. 'Preview' is a preview of your post as it would appear on your site, including banners and sidebars. 'Source' shows you the HTML source code, something I am very grateful for as it gives me a chance to insert the little 'extras' that aren't included. I still have to investigate whether little bits of JavaScript and other HTML formatting can be added to the programme, but if it can't I am not going to get bent out of shape about it.


WLW Edit window (bottom) showing additional features

The graphic above is there to emphasise the 'power' of the various features of the programme. When you set up the 'Options' tell the programme to not allow you to publish until it reminds you to add a label or two. You still have the choice of publishing a post without a label, so it will only remind you, not refuse to publish. You can also defer publication date, just like you would do in Blogger, but the option is there for you if you wish to use it.

When I discover more, I'll let you know.

Enjoy, really enjoy, your blogging …


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