As Promised, Microsoft Open-Sources Live Writer

Posted on December 9, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Dev with 0

As Promised, Microsoft Open-Sources Live Writer

Fans of Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer—an ancient way to write blog posts—will be excited to hear that Microsoft has fulfilled is promise to open-source the classic Windows desktop application.

“An independent group of volunteers within Microsoft has successfully open sourced and forked Windows Live Writer,” Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman announced on his personal blog. “If you’re not comfortable using Open Source Software, I recommend you stick with classic Windows Live Writer 2012.”

The “new” version of this application—it appears largely unchanged from what you can still get with the out-of-date Windows Essentials package—is called Open Live Writer. Because, you know, it’s open and stuff. But as it turns out, it’s actually less capable than Windows Live Writer, because some features have been removed:

Spell Checking. The implementation of spell checking in Windows Live Writer was “super old” and was made by a third party, so it’s been pulled. “Going forward we will add Spell Check using the built-in spell checker that was added in Windows 8,” Hanselman says. “Open Live Writer on Windows 7 probably won’t have spell check.”

The Blog This API. This was a plugin to Internet Explorer and Firefox and was a mess of old COM stuff, so it’s gone.

The “Albums” feature. This feature uploaded photos to OneDrive, but because it requires a library that was packaged with Windows Live Mail and Live Messenger, it had to go. “We couldn’t easily get permission to distribute it in an open source project,” Scott explains.

Going forward, Open Live Writer will be improved with plug-ins, modern OAuth 2 support for Blogger, and presumably other new features, Hansleman adds.

While it’s unclear whether there’s a real audience for this, if you are interested in this application, you can download it from the Open Live Writer web site. Certainly, the effort it took to make this happen was incredible.