One of the most useful software programs to come out of Microsoft in the past decade is Windows Live Writer, what I consider to be the best offline blogging editor for Windows.
WLW first appeared in 2006, but since the last version was released in 2012, with an update in April 2014, it has languished in the no-longer-supported and -developed bucket. I continue to use it, though, as I have still seen no other blog editor for Windows as good as this.
Now, though, there’s great news for anyone who’s as wedded to this editor as I am – WLW has been open sourced and is being maintained by a group of volunteers at Microsoft. And the group has now released a fork of WLW known as Open Live Writer – OLW for short.
The new program is available now on free download as version 0.5. I’ve installed it on a Windows 7 desktop PC and will add it to a couple of Windows 10 machines. The developers say:
We focused on Windows 10 for the v0.5 release. We hope to support Windows 7 and Windows 8 for a while at least.
Definitely looking ahead; indeed, the developers have ambitious plans for development to version 1.0 and 2.0. And that’s a major appeal: a clear commitment to ongoing development, something that was sorely lacking by Microsoft with WLW. And here’s an interesting word on that:
Microsoft Corp. did not see a business case to continue investing in Windows Live Writer, but a bunch of passionate volunteers inside and outside of Microsoft spent early mornings, late evenings, and weekends to help fork the Windows Live Writer code and make any necessary edits so it could be released under the MIT License as Open Live Writer.
We’ve successfully open sourced a previously completely proprietary piece of Windows software that shipped as part of Windows Live Essentials. This software was used by millions and contained code as old as a decade or more. Persistence pays off.
I’m using OLW to write this post that will be published on my blog that runs WordPress. According to the developers, it will also work with Blogger, TypePad, Movable Type, DasBlog and many more – just as WLW does.
If you have bemoaned a lack of updates to Windows Live Writer, give Open Live Writer a whirl and support the development of a terrific open source project.
I think you’ll love it.