When talking with the Writer team they said they just made QFE level bug fixes and did not add new features to the product. As always I would recommend updating as things should be more stable than what you have today. You can get the new version from http://get.live.com
As an aside working on the Photo Gallery team we did make some improvements when working with web services in that users of flickr, Facebook, or Geo-tagging will enjoy and that should be reason enough to update your build.
About a year ago I blogged about how the URL created for sharing of a YouTube video would not work in the Insert Video dialog in Windows Live Writer. Well it turns out that between now and then Google has changed things again, hence this blog post.
If you want to insert a YouTube video via the URL you have to use the long version of the URL and not the short version which is the default. Once you have found the video you want to embed in your blog post on the YouTube site click on the Share button.
Next check the Long Link button.
This will change the link from something beginning with “http://youtu.be” to beginning with “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=”. Copy that longer URL and then paste it into field on the From Web tab in the Insert Video dialog.
Over on the Inside Windows Live blog, Arthur de Haan announced the availability of an update to Windows Live Essentials 2011 (Wave 4). While I did not work on this directly for Writer I know there were a few changes for Writer and Writer technologies. SSL was a big part of this of this release for Windows Live Mail and photo mail which runs the same code as Writer was updated to enable SSL support. This means that when your photo mails are created the images linked to SkyDrive now use SSL. This holds true for images you add to your blog posts in Writer that are saved to SkyDrive.
You can go download the new bits via http://explore.live.com, search for them in the Microsoft Download Center, or wait until before month’s end when you will be prompted to optionally update the suite when you boot one of the applications. Across the board this update is worth the download. SSL support means things are more secure for you and there are bug fixes to almost every application that just makes life better. My team worked on the Photo Gallery changes and help a bit with the Movie Maker updates and there are some great fixes there that make things more stable.
Maybe the needed plug-ins for Windows Live Writer have all been written as there has been a big slow down in what has been submitted to be posted to http://plugins.live.com over the last few months. Since the beginning of 2011 there have three plug-ins added plus an update to an existing plug-in. Since there is not RSS on the site you have to go looking for them but if you do you can find some great plug-ins. Here are the ones added/updated in 2011:
Twitter Update – this plug-in is a little more extensible than the plug-in published from Microsoft and allows for tweeting to three accounts on post of the blog entry.
Amazon Book Linker – Do you blog about books? Add your Amazon associate id and if people click through from your blog to buy you will get your commission.
Source Code Formatter – this is an update to a plug-in that has been available for awhile that allows you to added formatted source code to your blog entry.
GeSHi Server Blocks – This is another source code highlighter that works with many server side plug-ins for GeSHi.
I hope to see many more plug-ins submitted for Windows Live Writer to the plug-in site. There are many things you can do when you are blogging.
In the past I had blogged about a few issues with IE 9 that might have you second thinking beta testing IE 9 on the same machine that you blogged with Windows Live Writer. I am happy to say that with the Release Candidate that came out today all of the know issues between IE 9 and Live Writer have been fixed. If are still having issues with the release candidate and Live Writer or Live Mail please make a comment in this post and also report the issue in the forums.
If you have been using the IE 9 beta it is recommended that you uninstall it before installing the release candidate. Once you have done the uninstall you can find the new version at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/#/download.
Ed Bott at ZDNet has a great write-up about IE 9 and tweaks you might want to make if you find a few things different from what you are used to in IE 8.
One of the nice things about inserting a map into your blog post using Windows Live Writer is that you have the full capabilities of the Bing map services for Virtual Earth. This means you do not have to enter only an address as the location but you can also enter landmarks. For example, in the location field in the map dialog instead of an address for the Space Needle you can just enter “Space Needle” and hit the search button. At this point you see a map for the location of the Space Needle in Seattle.
Another nice feature is that in many places you can select from the Road, Aerial, or Bird’s eye view of a location of the map you want to insert in your blog.
Of course the best part of inserting a map in your blog is that for the readers of the blog they can click on the image like a hyperlink and they are taken right to the Bing map website where they could get directions to the location you are blogging about from where ever they are. Click on the images/maps below and you can map a trip to the Space Needle, Disneyland, or the Taj Mahal!
I should note that depending on the language of Live Writer you are using the Bing map service might behave differently. Different countries have different guidelines for what is displayed in maps and fun things like border locations. In these cases Live Writer matches what you would find if you just went to Bing maps in your browser for that country. Not all places have a Bird’s eye view. In a few cases you might not see Aerial view, only the road view and that might not allow you to zoom in to the same detail as other locations.
Recently there has been an uptick in the number people asking about how to embed videos from YouTube into Windows Live Writer so that you can include the video in your blog post. The problem stems from the fact that YouTube is using <IFRAME> as the default for their embed and Liver Writer is not really happy about the <IFRAME> tag in the Source view or pasted into the Insert Video dialog. There is a couple of reasons for this but one of the main reasons is that not very many blog servers support IFRAMEs and if you were to publish with one it would just get stripped out of the source and that might cause data loss for you. Off of the top of my head Blogger is the only one I know that lets you add an IFRAME in their blog editor. This post is about how to help you add a YouTube video to your blog so let’s move on.
If you are on the YouTube site you should be able to just copy the URL from your browser and paste it into Live Writer and it should convert it to a video and the location you have pasted. Alternatively you can select to Insert a Video from the web and paste the web address.
A problem can occur when you want to use the embed created from within a YouTube web page. The embed can contain more options beyond what you get by just pasting the web address into the Insert Video dialog. You used to be able to just copy that embed and paste it onto the Insert Video dialog or change to Source view and paste it there. Since YouTube has gone to IFRAME by default in the embed instead of an OBJECT tag this no longer works but there is a quick way to get it working with Live Writer.
When you click on Embed on the YouTube page check the check box to “Use old embed code” and this will switch the embed source from an IFRAME to an OBJECT which Live Writer can work with. This way you can paste it right into the Insert Video dialog in Live Writer or into the Source view. As you can see you have a lot of flexibility when pick the embed option in YouTube. You can pick a specific size for the video or elect to play the HD version as examples.
If this was helpful for you please leave me a comment in this post.
On of the program mangers on the Windows Live Writer 2011 team is a big fan of Drupal and in his spare time he even supports a few Drupal installs for a side business. With the blog module Drupal and Live Writer work great together and even better with Drupal 7. He was really excited today when Microsoft’s Interoperability teamannounced that in addition to the SQL Server Driver for PHP 2.0 with PDO support which shipped last Fall that four new Drupal modules have been released from Microsoft:
Bing Maps Module: enable easy & flexible embedding of Bing Map in Drupal content types (like articles for example)
Silverlight Pivot viewer Module: enable easy & flexible embedding of Silverlight Pivot in Drupal content types, using a set of preconfigured data sources (OData, a, b, c).
Windows Live ID Module: allow Drupal user to associate their Drupal account to their Windows Live ID, and then to login on Drupal with their Windows Live ID
OData Module: allow data sources based on OData to be included in Drupal content types (such as articles). The generic module includes a basic OData query builder and renders data in a simple HTML Table. The package includes a sample module base on an Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) OData source, showing how to build advanced rendering (with Bing Maps)
In addition to the announcement the Interoperability team has a blog post about a hands on look at using Drupal on Windows Azure and using the four new Drupal modules.
If you host your own WordPress server one of the plug-ins you may have installed is one for image effects such as Lightbox or Thickbox so that when a reader of you blog clicks on an image it might do a fly-out and fill the screen. A common question is “How do I make this work with Windows Live Writer?”
By default if you bring up the Source Picture Options dialog via the Link options button on the Picture tools Format tab it will look like this:
If you have installed the plug-in on your hosted WordPress blog before you configure Live Writer then it should just work and you will see additional options in the dialog. If you have installed the plug-in on your hosted WordPress blog after you have configured Live Writer then you need to reconfigure Live Writer. To do so from the application menu select Options. Next select Accounts and then pick the blog that you want to enable image support for. Click Edit and then click the “Update account information” button. At this point just step through the wizard clicking Next and when it is finished you should now have support for your image effects plug-in.
Here is an example of that the Source Picture Options dialog looks like if you have installed the Thickbox plug-in:
This tip should also work for other blog servers that have plug-ins for image effects like dotnetnuke.
Squarespace as a blogging platform has been around since 2003. It was not until the 2011 release of Windows Live Writer that Live Writer really worked well with Squarespace. Configuring Live Writer to work with Squarespace is fairly simple.
First launch Live Writer and if have already configured a blog select “Add blog account…” from the blog accounts drop down.
In the first dialog select “Other services” and click Next.
Enter the URL for your blog on Squarespace blog. If you do not have a blog on Squarespace you need to go and create an account and then come back to Writer and enter the URL for your blog. Also enter your User name and password in this dialog. Then click Next. You will see that it is setting up your blog account. There is a slight chance that it might prompt you to do a temporary post to detect your blog theme but for Squarespace the themes are generally straight forward and you might not see the detection dialog.
On the final step you can enter a blog nickname that is show in the blog accounts drop down in Writer. You have the option to share your blog with those on Windows Live. Click Finish to complete the setup.
At this point you can now use Live Writer as the blog editor on Squarespace. Enjoy!