Monday, 26 January 2009

Blogging Tools


I wanted an offline blog writer, one that could:-

  • save drafts to blogger
  • download already posted items not written with offline writer
  • work with blogger’s labels
  • have a decent spell checker and in real English English not USA English dictionary
  • provide more functionality than blogger’s WYSIWYG editor
  • enable Zemanta - its working
  • add wikipedia links - added them all for this test
  • make it easy to add code and with syntax highlighting
  • not generate too much noise - extraneous (X)HTML in the process

Well I looked around and I settled on ... wait for it...(Microsoft) Windows Live Writer. I enabled various Plug-ins and here I am writing my first post with this editor! This is not yet a recommendation, just a test but it seems to be doing all the right things. It does have a nice web preview feature too, one that also works offline, great for when I am writing whilst travelling on the train (my preferred time to blog).


Anyway first of all I had to get and install the Windows Live Installer and once this was installed, I then had to install Windows Live Writer (yes this link gives you the Live installer just mentioned). Once this was installed I needed to get the last updates which I could only do by running Windows Automatic Updates which downloaded a huge amount of other files for applications I do not use - this was on a mobile dongle but likely it was fast and I had plenty of spare capacity for this month. Finally it was working as I hoped.(Note I was multi-tasking on this, maybe I could have downloaded Writer direct and with updates but I did not find out quickly how to do this and so did the above laborious approach instead).

Plug-InsImage representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Then I found some Plug-Ins primarily Zemanta Plug-In a tool I have wanted to use for a while. It finds and adds images related to your content.. ahem... as you can see here. It also created some wikipedia links. Annoyingly Zemanta launches Internet Explorer to change it’s settings.

I also added WikiPlugin for manually creating wikipedia links - just select a word and press "Insert Wikipedia Link" just did it for wikipedia here, quick and simple. (Note the Windows Live Gallery does not have a decent search so I have great difficulty in finding the original links for the files I downloaded, even searching google on the whole filename. I can’t be bothered to scroll through all the pages again, sorry!).

One Plug-In I have not found is one to select some text and search google and provide a drop-down list of results to select one to make a hypertext link for - can’t be that hard if it has not been written but I might have missed an existing solution.

I was particularly glad to find WLW Scrubber which claims

Some code that WLW automatically add into your post make you angry? With this plugin, you just select the entire post, and then click on this plugin (Insert Scrubbed Content)

well I will shortly see if this works.


The usual Microsoft negatives though it required massive downloads - far, far greater than installing Firefox or Opera  and about 3 reboots and has crashed twice (albeit when I was doing multiple plug-in installs and dotNet upgrades).


Well I hope it is stable now. If not well I can revert to the Blogger WYSIWYG editor and not much time lost. Still if anyone has any suggestions for better windows offline Blogger editors, please post in the comments.

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faithlessgod said...

Seems fine!

Now finally I can get back to writing content!

Anonymous said...

Personally I prefer wordpress internal writer but for offline use I generally used Firefox' Scribefire plugin which is awesome.

PS: Since you're insterested in that stuff and helping others with blogging perhaps you can write a page in the Atheist Resources? It's a little project I've started with Mojoey and Larro but it hasn't managed to take off.

faithlessgod said...


I will check out scribefire although WLW is working nicely. I read that scribefire does not work well with zemanta, note I have the firefox add-in which works fine with blogger wysiwyg editor.