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.
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.
I do not write enough about how to develop a plug-in for Windows Live Writer and I should try and work on that in 2011. Microsoftie Dan Waters took time out from blogging about the Cloud to write up a post about writing a Twitter plug-in that supports bit.ly including how to set things up on Visual Studio.
Twitter Notify which can be found on http://plugin.live.com supports many URL shorteners but not out of the box. You can read about how to modify it and the app to do so in a post I did earlier in the year.
I have really been ignoring what search terms land people at my blog but there are a lot of things that it looks like people might need help with that I have not blogged about yet. One of the search terms from yesterday was “spell check greyed out in Live Writer”.
If you ever run into this, what has happened is your dictionary language has been set to “(None)”. I cannot explain why this might be the case but there is an easy fix. Bring up the Options dialog (drop the Blog accounts drop down and select Manage blog accounts) and then select Spelling and then select the dictionary language you want to check spelling in. The Spelling option will no longer be greyed out in the ribbon.
This summer plug-in developers for Windows Live Writer were contacted that changes were coming to how you would submit plug-ins for hosting in the gallery. Based off of feedback, the process has been refined and it should be easier now to submit plug-ins. The process has also been consolidated so that if you are authoring a plug-in for Live Writer, Photo Gallery, or Movie Maker it all works the same way.
Plug-in primary language (ex: English; if your plug-in supports multiple languages, please choose one)
Writer plug-in category (if your plug-in works with Windows Live Writer, pick exactly one):
Formatting / clipboard
Other content insertion
Photos and videos
Photo Gallery plug-in category (if your plug-in works with Windows Live Photo Gallery, pick exactly one):
Movie Maker plug-in category (if your plug-in works with Windows Live Movie Maker, pick exactly one):
Plug-in tags (up to five sets of one or two words that best describe the plug-in)
Plug-in installer MSI file. This can be zipped and attached to your email (the MSI must be within a zip file) or you can provide a link to the file online (you could upload it to Windows Live SkyDrive for example).
Windows Live team adds new/updated plug-in information and MSI installer to this website.
Windows Live team notifies plug-in author that plug-in has been listed/updated.
Here are links to the SDKs for Live Writer, Photo Gallery, and Movie Maker:
I never seen a perfect Beta and in the case of IE 9 the first public beta breaks a few things in Windows Live Writer. In most cases the HTML changes from what Live Writer intended to publish. You can also see this if you switch to the Preview or Source tab before you publish. These issues can be seen in Wave 3 (14.x) builds or the Wave 4 Beta (15.x) builds. Unfortunately there are no workarounds to the problems other than uninstalling IE 9.
Jimmy Bergmark points out in his blog that if you clear the Alt text or Title text field on a image that when you Publish (or go to the Source or Preview tab) that “alt” is added for the Alt text and “title” is added for the title.
Image alignment can change, again on Publish (or when you go to Source or Preview tab). For example, Center an image and then publish and you will see it return to Left alignment.
What issues are you finding wrong with Live Writer used in conjunction with IE 9? Please leave a comment on this post and we will try and pass along things as need to the IE 9 team.
THANKS for Beta testing IE 9. It has a bunch of cool and fast features but you might not want to use it on the same machine you are blogging on with Live Writer right now.
Update: Some people have jump to the conclusion that I am advocating with this post that you should uninstall IE 9. The point of this post was to inform you that there are issues that do not have a workaround and that IE 9 is the cause. This is the risk you run with any Beta. As tweets and comments are showing people are running into these type of issues and thinking something has broken with their Writer install or if they are using the Live Writer Beta think that there are these types of issue in the public Beta. I included a link on the IE 9 image to download the product for a reason with my original post. IE 9 is a great improvement and I have been using it on my Beta machine on a daily basis. As I started my post by saying that I have never seen a perfect Beta and y’all should be aware of the issues. Remember that you can always post as draft to your blog server and then fix up the alignment of an image or clear the Alt text on your image in your web based editor before you publish and still Beta test with IE 9. This is not a perfect workaround but I encourage you to continue to give IE 9’s Beta a chance.
Update (2/10/11): The IE9 RC (release candidate) was made available today and fixes the problems written about above with Live Writer or Live Mail. Uninstall any beta build of IE9 you have and then go to http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/#/download
Today Twitter changed the way that you sign into Twitter. Over the last few months you might not have even know that your favorite Twitter application had been updated with this change. You were prompted to take a new version and you just updated. In the case of the Windows Live Writer plug-in Twitter Notify there was no way to notify that you needed to update. What you would see is that you tried to log in with your user name and password and you would just see a dialog that your user name or password was incorrect as you went to post your blog post.
Have no fear there is a new version of Twitter Notify in the Live Writer plug-in gallery that works with the changes that Twitter has made. You just need to install it from the gallery. Here is a link.
Thanks to Will and Ron for their hard work to turn around the fix on this. Also thanks to Joe Cheng for the reminder that it needed to be updated.
If you have ever submitted a plug-in for Windows Live Writer to the Windows Live Gallery today we sent you the following email to the email address you used to submit the plug-in. Since we have years of submissions there is a chance that you have changed your email address and did not get notified. We really appreciate the Live Writer plug-in developers and hope that we see as many if not more plug-ins via the new submission process.
Dear Windows Live Writer plug-in authors, On behalf of the Windows Live Writer team and all of our customers, thank you for the valuable contributions your plug-ins have made to the Writer experience. We’re writing to let you know that Writer’s plug-in hosting and submission processes are changing. Note: Existing plug-ins currently hosted on Windows Live Gallery will need to be resubmitted using the new process outlined below. In the future, should you wish to provide additional plug-ins for Writer, we request that you also submit your plug-ins using this process. We hope that you find the new plug-in submission process and hosting solution simple and lightweight. New plug-in submission process:
Author uploads plug-in MSI installer to Windows Live SkyDrive using his/her Windows Live ID (email address).
Author Windows Live ID (that will host the plug-in MSI)
Author contact email address
Plug-in category (pick only one):
URL to plug-in MSI on SkyDrive
Writer team verifies that the plug-in works as described.
Writer team updates public list of Writer plug-ins that will include information on the plug-in and a link to the installer that is hosted on the author’s SkyDrive.
Writer team notifies plug-in author that plug-in has been listed.
We value your efforts and want to ensure that your plug-ins will continue to be accessible for the many people interested in them. In order to do this, we need you to resubmit any existing plug-ins on Windows Live Gallery using this new process by September 10, 2010. You will be able to add more plug-ins after this date, but we need you to move existing plug-ins by then.
At least twice a month we discover some new server that has added support for Windows Live Writer. In many cases it is some up and coming server that is big in a local market and is starting to break out and expand its user base. The current trend seems to be a CMS product that has added blog support and not some new blog server. Since Live Writer supports many common blogging application program interfaces (API) things just magically work. In many cases the hardest part is to do the authentication for a user with the server.
This last week we got an internal request on how to add support for Writer by someone that was writing a DIY blog server and one of our developers, Will Duff, put together the following set of links on how a developer can implement support for Live Writer in a server project.
The first thing you need to do is implement one of the common blogging API that Live Writer supports. Current Live Writer works with the following APIs:
You also need to implement RSD (Really Simple Discoverability) since this is what Writer uses to detect which API your blog server has implemented.
Lastly, while optional, we encourage the use of a Writer manifest file on the server. You can add customizations that are server specific and let Writer know about them. Blog Provider Customization API. Customizations include:
Defining the subset of weblog features supported by the weblog. This allows providers to implement any subset of the core XML-RPC based weblog APIs (MetaWeblog, Movable Type, or WordPress) and have Writer’s UI correctly respect this subset.
Provide the correct URL entry points for viewing and managing the weblog as well as editing posts online.
Define a custom icon and watermark image that appears in the Writer Sidebar
Define custom buttons that can link to web-pages, display content in a drop-down, and notify the users of new content and other online activity.
Define WYSIWYG editing templates for the active weblog theme.
I am sure you can find pointers out there on how to add one of the APIs to what you are developing. Here is an example of how to implement MetaWeblog API in ASP.NET