I mentioned some months ago that I was experimenting with Windows Live Writer. This is an off-line blog editor, somewhat like Ecto or Qumana. I’ve been quietly using the Beta 1 version ever since, and have been very happy with its functionality.
There were really only a single thing that kept me from endorsing it whole-heartedly. Although it worked quite well with WordPress, WLW didn’t “synchronize” with changes made in the blog. That is, if I created a post in Windows Live Writer, posted it to my WordPress blog, then edited the blog entry with some other tool (E.G.: natively within WordPress itself), WLW wouldn’t know about the changes.
On June 9th, WLW Beta 2 was released. I didn’t hear about it until today, and just installed it this morning. My singular concern has been addressed: Live Writer now picks up changes in my WordPress blog, so I can edit in both places without worrying about synchronization.
I am really happy with Windows Live Writer. It just *works*: it connected to / recognized my WordPress site on the first try, it’s “what you see is almost what you get” formatting is as close as any I’ve seen to perfect, the spell checker works well, and so on.
So why would you use WLW, or any off line blog editor for that matter? Really, it is a matter of personal preference. I like to *compose* my posts, and often check sources on multiple websites or look up references. I find that doing this while editing the post itself in a browser never seems to work as well as I’d like. It’s always a bit slower than an actual native editor, and never feels to me at least quite as safe. There is always the fear that I’ll hit the submit or save draft button, the browser will pause for a moment, and then a blank screen will come up with a 404 error.
In conclusion, if you edit a blog, like the idea of composing your entries off line, use WordPress, Blogger, Windows Live Spaces or another “popular” blogging platform…I can highly recommend WLW Beta 2.