Thursday, May 28, 2015

RESOLVED: The Sudden, Tragic Death of Windows Live Writer

UPDATE 6/7/15:  Looks like Windows Live Writer is back in business and able to publish to Blogger again!  There is a God!

After publishing my last post late Monday night, it appears Google finally turned off their old authentication system (that allowed third-party apps to store your Google login/password and log in automatically on your behalf).

As a result, the blog authoring software I've used to create this blog for the past 9 years (Windows Live Writer, or WLW for short) has now died a sudden, tragic death.  It is no longer able to publish to Google's Blogger service, because Microsoft never bothered to update it.























Google had announced to developers over a year ago that they would be shutting down the old authentication system in April of 2015. They gave developers plenty of support materials to help developers make the needed update to utilize the new authentication system (OAuth 2.0), and even extended the deadline an extra 5 weeks to May 27.

Some blog authoring software developers updated their apps in a timely fashion, but many, like Microsoft, did not.

Initially, there was a glimmer of hope yesterday when a Google staff member, Nick, posted on the Blogger Help Forum that they would be working to fix this issue immediately.  But this morning, it seems, Nick has now revised his statement to essentially say that Google will not likely be turning the old system back on again just to accommodate the various lazy developers (like Microsoft) who refused to update their applications.  Nick suggested logging a request directly on Microsoft's WLW Help Forum (on the slim chance that MS might actually respond).

I can't see as I blame Google.  They need to keep their authentication system regularly updated and as bullet-proof as possible from potential hackers.  Shutting down the old system allows them to better do this.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has never really put much effort into Windows Live Writer.  They acquired the blog authoring software over a decade ago, and haven't released an update since 2012.  To my knowledge, they never charged money for this application-- it was always just a freebie download.

Currently, an independent developer is asking Microsoft to release the WLW source code to the Open Source community so further updates to the app can be made that way.  But, I'm not sure if or when that will ever happen--the developer was originally meeting with Microsoft about this a year ago!

For the foreseeable future, it looks like all WLW Blogspot bloggers will now need to find a new authoring solution to publish their blogs.

I've been hunting for a good Mac-based WLW replacement for the past 3 years with no real luck.  Most recently, I tried the $30 Mac app called Desk which seemed to do text really well, but did not support the resizable image "thumbnails" that I liked so much with WLW (allowing the reader to click an image in the post to view it larger).

Before Desk, I had tried the Mac-based Blogo app last month.  Its image features were downright comical.

So the search for a decent WLW replacement continues, and has now become much more urgent for me and thousands of other bloggers.

For now, I'll be using the only editor (that I know of) that currently works-- the free Blogger.com web editor.  It's not as robust as WLW was, but at least it still works.

Please, please, PLEASE-- if anyone out there knows of any better Windows Live Writer replacements, let me know!  And, hey you enterprising young software developers--- here's a golden opportunity to get thousands of new customers!

21 comments:

  1. there's no love lost between windows and google. Running chrome browser under windows 8 is equally hampered. Windows still wants to be the only player on your PC/MAC. Arrogance to the max.

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    1. Well, I switched to Mac a few years ago (the kings of arrogance!), and was running a session of Windows 7 on that for the sole purpose of running Live Writer. I guess on the bright side, I can finally get rid of Windows on my Mac :-)

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  2. I guess I never needed more than just writing my blog post in the form that blogger provided. There are times I want to write something in advance, I'll just write and save the post on Word and then cut and paste it later to the blogger form.

    Bonnie...I run Chrome as my browser on my iMac with no issues ... of course that could change anytime once Apple and Google decide not to work with each other.

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  3. I agree 100% with your assessment that this is a Microsoft issue and not Google. Microsoft needs to either address this or announce finally that they are abandoning Live Writer so that users can get on with another blogging tool.

    The closest app I've found to Live Writer is, incredibly, an iPad app called Blogsy. Here's the link as it's pretty darned good:

    http://blogsyapp.com/

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    1. Oh Rick! You may have just given me another excellent reason to upgrade my iPad Mini (which at only 16GBs can barely store just apps alone!). That looks like a cool little app-- I'll put it on my radar.

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    2. Lynne ... that 16GB's on my iPad Mini has me wanting to buy the new MacAir ... LOL

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  4. I'm like Steve...I never needed anything more than the blogger post form. Suits my needs just fine, but then maybe I just don't know what I was missing.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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    1. posting lots of photos easily is what you missed :-) That honestly is the one thing WLW did better than any other authoring software I've seen. Oh well, on to Blogger's spartan interface for awhile until hopefully something better comes along.

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  5. Found your post when I was searching to see if there was a Live Writer update that perhaps would help, Lynne, but no go. I did want to come in and commiserate though. I couldn't believe how everything was posting/publishing fine up until yesterday for me and then those stupid messages started coming up making me question the password I had chosen. It is a shame that Microsoft dropped the ball on this and didn't upgrade as they should have, well before this happened. I am very disappointed as I have been using Live Writer for my blog posts for several years and hate having to go back to Blogger's drafting platform, but I guess it is better than nothing! It will not be fun redoing my drafts now sitting in Live Writer in Blogger. I feel like I'm moving backwards {technologically}!

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  6. I have written >3000 posts using Live Writer and it makes the blogging so easy with image and formatting..
    I must say I am thinking of stop blogging due to this mess :(

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  7. I hate the thought of having to go back to the Blogger format.

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  8. I agree totally with Judy. I don't have an IPAD so Rick's suggestion won't work for me. Sad day in blogland.

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  9. I've always used Blogger because I couldn't get pictures positioned in LiveWriter. Looking forward to hearing other, better, Windows options if you hear of something good.

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  10. There is another way out. You could compose your post using your mail editor/outlook and simply mail them to blogger...

    For details: http://bit.ly/1KC0OUC

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    1. I had completely forgotten about the Publish from Email feature of Blogger. I activated this setting in Blogger to save emailed post as Drafts (rather than publish them immediately), and just tested it out from my Yahoo Mail editor.

      Seems like an o.k. solution for text-only quick posts. But for photos? Not that workable for me. While it did push my included email photos to Blogger, it put all the photos to the top of the post and only sized them as small thumbnails. By the time I dragged/dropped the photos and resized them in the Blogger editor, I could have just inserted them with the Blogger editor instead.

      But, I do like the idea of being able to write the text of a post in email first-- an email editor is often easier to use than Blogger's editor.

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  11. Lynne,
    Blogo has added many features over the past month and we're working on new possibilities and features to our next big release. I'd love to know what made the image handling a bad experience for you so we can understand better what can be improved. :)

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    1. Well, the version I tried last month could not even generate a thumbnail of the image within the editor (it would only show a placeholder box until you looked at the entire post in a Preview window). Every other WYSIWYG blog editor I've ever used can at least show images within the editor. I also did not feel Blogo's editor was quite as easy to use as WLW or even Mac competitors such as Desk (but did think it did a better job than Desk at Previewing posts using the blog's Blogger theme).

      Windows Live Writer allowed me to easily upload dozens of images, resize the thumbnails to whatever size I wanted, place multiple thumbnails on the same line with padding in between each image if desired, and best of all when the post published, it allowed the reader to click an image thumbnail to view it's full-size image in a separate browser window.

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  12. Will miss Live Writer! So many times I did not have an internet connection....WLW made it simple to write and publish later. There's probably something out else out there. Good for my brain to keep figuring things out but do get tired....wish all the tech stuff would just take a vacation from changing.
    Thanks for this information. Lynne in Tennessee

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    1. Yeah, I kept waiting and hoping for Microsoft (or someone) to come out with a Mac version of Live Writer, but after 3 years of Microsoft not updating the product (and no strong Mac developers stepping forward), it's looking like a pipe dream.

      Well, there are a few solutions for composing posts offline (but none of them are good at handling images):

      1. You could keep using WLW (or even Word or other HTML app) as your offline editor. When ready to transfer it to blogger, click the "Source" tab on the bottom of WLW's editing window, and copy all the source HTML code (Ctrl-A to select all, then Ctrl-C to copy it). Next, open up a New Post in Blogger's editor and click the "HTML" tab at the top of the editing area. Paste the WLW code there (Ctrl-V), and then click back to the Compose view to see what it looks like in Blogger. From there, you can use Blogger to upload/insert your images.

      2. Follow the link above to Static Variable's post on how to enable Blogger to accept emailed posts. In the Blogger settings, I set mine to Save emailed posts as Drafts rather than publish them immediately. Once that's done, note what the email address will be from Blogger, and then use whatever offline email editor you're using to compose the post. Once its been emailed to Blogger, fire up your Blogger editor to make any additional formatting edits and to upload your images (or send the images with the email if you've only got a few).

      Neither solution is as easy as what we had before with WLW, but they will give you some offline composing functionality again.

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  13. Am I missing something, Lynne? Life is good over here in Wordpress land. What makes Google better than Wordpress? Do tell.

    Jim

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  14. I feel your pain. I was happily blogging along and then Tuesday happened. I spent countless hours researching/reading about possible fixes and then no fixes. I'm limping along using the Blogger interface at the moment. However, the blogs that I help out on that are on Wordpress are working just fine with Windows Live Writer. I left Blogger's interface many years ago because it was time consuming and clunky. Not to mention the fact that when our internet connection was down I couldn't do anything blog wise.

    I'm going to do what you suggest and write up posts in Windows Live Writer then copy the HTML. At least the formatting will be the same. Adding photos is going to be a pain. Sigh.

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