As announced today the final version of Windows Live Writer is now available for download. You can download it from http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer. While I think there is great value in the suite as a whole if you just want Writer please make sure you do a custom install and uncheck the parts of the suite you are not interested in.
If you are a 2009 Live Writer user, you can see my previous posts to get an idea about the changes made to get to the point of what Live Writer 2011 is all about. This post is all about my favorite changes made since the Beta refresh. Many of these are issues report by Beta testers and the team really thanks you for your feedback.
Better support for Japanese IME
This really surprised the team but for many customers in Japan the IME was just plain broken epically those typing with a Japanese keyboard and using the IME vs. those using a QWERTY keyboard and the IME which was working just fine. This was not just a 2011 issue but also an issue with 2009 but we had never received the feedback that it was not working. I would like to think that many users in Japan will be very delighted with Live Writer now where if I were in their shoes I might have just uninstalled it and walked away in the past.
An issue with Live Writer 2009 is that on upload to blog servers like WordPress, Writer would change the file name of your image. It would strip out characters like the hyphen or dash that were part of the file name. For example, “Cool-Product_1.jpg” would become “CoolProduct1.jpg”. This was very frustrating to those that wanted to take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) and have a web crawler index the image name as published so that when you did that Bing search it would bring up your image name as part of the results list.
Multi-language User Interface support (MUI)
This change is not specific to Live Writer but it is supported across the whole suite. In Office and Windows for a few releases, you could apply MUI packs and quickly change the language of your UI with a simple restart of the application or Windows. Live Writer now has this support for all 40+ languages out there today. This also means that by installing the MUI you get the spell checker for that language making it really easy to spell check in more than one language after you change the spell in the Writer UI.
In the Windows Control panel if you click on “Clock, Language, and Region” you will see an entry for Windows Live Language Setting. This will allow you to switch or add languages other than the default language you installed. Some of the dictionaries have been updated since the Beta and overall all languages should be as current as what Office 2010 has.
Aspect ratio support for Videos
This had been a fairly common request from users and now you can pick to have your video formatted in 16:9 or 4:3 when you publish it was part of your post. Here is a screen shot of the new buttons on the Video Tools Format ribbon tab.
Aspect ratio for images works again
This was broken in the Beta and if you resized an image and had aspect ratio turned on Writer was not honoring this setting but in the final version, it is working as expected.
Improved support for Specific blog servers
- Live Writer has better support for configuring and using Squarespace blogs
- For TypePad publishing with a future date is now supported
- For all of our French users we have made configuring a blog with Overblog easier to do
- Split post (jump break) support has been added for Blogger
- Server side tags are no longer returned as Keywords on Telligent Community Server – this should make Microsoft employees happy who post to Technet or MSDN
- More work in blog theme detection focusing on WordPress and Blogger. Also fixing blog title font size issues with specific themes.
- Photo albums look better with the new Blogger theme templates introduced in the last year or so.
WordPress.com is now the default for creating new blogs via Live Writer
This was blogged about this here.
“No” tags are now stripped from Web Preview
2011 added stronger security in that script is not run from inside of Writer. This meant however that when you went into Web Preview in the Beta build you would see a preview where for example the page would act as if something like j-script was not installed and you would see whatever was included in say a <noscript> tag. Blogging on SharePoint 2010 showed this, which looked confusing as it looked like there was a problem with the page. The change is that all of the “no” tags like <noscript> or <noframes> are now stripped from Web Preview which should make it look more like what readers of your blog will see.
Improved encoding support
While most of the world is now using UTF-8 for their blog serving needs, there are still users that prefer a specific encoding for their blog. Work was done across the board to make this better. Users of ISO-8859-1 encoding should see improvements over the Beta.
In the Beta refresh there was a big focus to make copy/paste better. More work was done in this area. For example, in some cases after copying an image from Microsoft Word and pasting in Live Writer you could not apply image formatting in Live Writer.
Improvements to Windows Live Mail
As blogged about in the past the Live Writer team worked on making the text editor better in Live Mail and here are a few key issues fixed from the Beta refresh:
- Captions applied to photos in Windows Live Photo Gallery are not lost when you create a Photo Mail from selected images in Photo Gallery.
- Change All from the context menu when Spell Checking a mail message now works
- Edit Hyperlink from the context menu on a Hyperlink now works
- Albums in Photo Mail are even more robust on upload to SkyDrive (this also is an improvement in Live Writer)
We are always interested in your thoughts. Please leave us comments.