Cool Tool |Better Blog Composer | Live Writer

coolblogtoolTed, an audio consultant/aspiring professional chef/home improvement wizard, has a special tool for every job.

Whether he's laying bamboo flooring, carving holiday roasts or installing the Dinosphere's sound system, he's convinced that the job gets done faster, smarter and better with the proper equipment.

In 2008, I'm premiering a Cool Tool feature that gives you ways to improve your productivity. Today's feature, Microsoft Live Writer, is a Cool Tool that makes you a better blog composer.

Challenge

Blogging platform interface is clunky, limited and uninspiring

Solution

Windows Live Writer

Screenwriters use Final Draft to format and publish screen plays.

What do bloggers use to format and publish posts?

In my case, I started composing and formatting within a TypePad or WordPress window. I like having all the tools I need all on my screen at once, but I found both interfaces to be clunky, limited and uninspiring.

Beginning in Word and shifting over was a bit clumsy, but allowed me to save a copy to my hard drive. Saving content was an all-important lesson I learned when my blog mysteriously vanished - twice - overnight.

Writing in the small composition screen felt too cramped and if I left the screen up, the content didn't get saved. While most of my posts run at less than 1,000 words, I didn't lose a masterwork, but I often lost almost finished articles and starting over was never the same.

Thanks to Scott Allen's Virtual Handshake blog post about his encounter with the Microsoft Live Writer team at BlogWorld [I completely missed their booth and thought I'd seen everything], I started testing Live Writer back in November.

Now, every post I write begins here. Here's what you get . . .

- Slick WYSIWYG composition interface with a large window

- Auto-save options and a permanent home for all of your posts and drafts; even if you change blogging platforms you can take your posts and your images with you - comments stay behind, though

- Easy way to insert links, pictures and more . . .

inserttools

- Plug-in special features to customize your Live Writer experience

- Free Live Writer download walks you through how to set up your interface

- Familiar Word-type interface standardizes your blogging across platforms

- User-friendly interface manages all of your blogs in one place; making switching back and forth and composing on line effortless

Product Background

Searching back to August 2006, I found this article from ZDNet.com that talks about Microsoft's first Live killer app.

Neosmart reports on this cool tool's place in the .NET framework:

"But what most don't know about Windows Live Writer is more what it represents than what it does: Windows Live Writer is the first full-scale consumer product to ship out of Microsoft's camp built on the .NET Framework."

Cool Tool Extras

Rick Strahl from West Wind technology tells how to extend Live Writer

Find out how to create Live Writer plug-ins and customization

Click on this image to see the interface . . .

windows-live-writer

Cool Tool Overall Rating: A

What cool tools help you get the job done better, faster and smarter?

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