Windows Live Writer – release one observations, wishes, etc

I’ve posted many entries about WLW. But now that version 1 has been out a while I thought I would add my latest observations.

  1. The deferred posting mechanism just doesn’t work. Posts just don’t get posted when you tell them they should be (true in WordPress 2.x and Blogger, so far as I can tell). This isn’t a huge issue – but it is a feature I’ve learned to avoid. Even pulling up the calendar and NOT changing the post date/time causes the post to not get posted when submitted. Something appears very broken here.
  2. The “Insert Video” function isn’t near as clean as say, cutting and pasting embed code from YouTube. WLW is adding something to the video when you use the “insert video” tool that causes my theme to get very broken. Pasting the embed as a raw HTML doesn’t cause these issues. So I don’t think it is my theme. So I avoid this feature and switch to raw HTML editing when I need to insert a video.
  3. I post on nine different blogs. I would really like the option to have WLW remind me that, “You are posting this to Stuffleufagas – continue?” Of course this would never appear if you only had one blog configured in WLW, and it should be able to be shut off. Believe me, it would be VERY embarrassing to post to the wrong blog!
  4. Because I post on a number of blogs, and I use a number of machines to do it, WLW should not just store my settings locally. I have a Live! account. And an Internet connection. Store my settings in the cloud somewhere and let me retrieve them via my Live! account.
  5. Build a web based version of this tool. Now! 🙂 Really – a rich web application that did what WLW does would be a killer application for bloggers. And I really wouldn’t even mind if you ran an ad or two on the page – as long as it stays out of my way. I HAVE to believe this is already planned, if not already under development. The old Onfolio team is too bright to have not thought of this.
  6. Change the image defaults to add margins of 5 all around. I can always tell a blog post that was made with WLW in the default picture margin mode. The text is so close to the image it is almost unreadable. No reason not to set this as the default since it can always be changed by the blog owner.
  7. Get MUCH smarter about errors. Don’t just tell me that there was an error putting up a post. 99% of the time WLW kicks an error the post still is posted. So what was the error? Perhaps in many cases the development team just can’t tell. But in the case where they do throw an error they could then go back and read the latest post on my blog. Is it the same post that I WLW just reported an error on? If it is, assume it worked (because 99% of the time it did). Save the post locally, and let me get on with things. “Ghost” errors are the biggest single issue I have with WLW. And even when the error is real, I have no clue what caused it. Start a “Windows Problem Reporting” style database for errors. If you learn a specific plug-in causes a specific failure, then tell me. I can do without almost any of my plugins before I can do without WLW (except my Spam Karma 2 plugin – but then, you could build a Windows OneCare blog plugin and take care of the spammers for me)


  1. All – just FYI – the plug-in hardly anyone should use is exec-php. It is a very well written plug-in that adds a lot of power to your blog – but it really shouldn’t be used unless you completely trust your audience Exec-php allows direct code execution from your blog posts/pages (and even comments). It takes about 2 minutes to hack a blog running exec-php unless you _really_ know what you are doing.

  2. Joe-
    Thank you so much for the offer of help! Just goes to show Rob has a great community here.

    Rob-Thanks for getting me all fixed up. Haven’t had a chance to give it a try yet, but have no doubt it will work.

  3. @Joe Cheng – thanks for the great Microsoft support!

    @Kaylyn – I looked at your plug-ins – you are using two I have never tried (looking at them now) and one you shouldn’t be running (almost nobody should). I’ll chat you about this when I see you online. (BTW – Joe is one of the great guys at Microsoft that always seems to be everywhere helping people – I know your logs will tell him a lot)


  4. kaylyn, I can help you if you e-mail me at joe.cheng *AT* with your log file (Help | About | Show log file).

  5. Hi Rob,
    Did you get an answer to #7? I’m getting an error 500 right now and am unable to post my blog from WLW. It’s driving me crazy!

    I used to have a similar problem with Live Spaces when I would post multiple photos in a blog, but if I posted as a draft first I wouldn’t get the error. With WP it won’t let me post as a draft either.

  6. Joe, thanks much for the response. On #1, why does just clicking the button to pop up the calendar cause the post to not immediately get posted (WordPress)? If I don;t change the date or time, and just close the calendar then click publish, it should e published immediately, I would think.

    On #2 – try it with TED videos. Although I have seen it with other videos, TED videos seemed to be more of an issue. But come to think of it, that post had 6 videos embedded (one from On10, one from YouTube, and the rest were TED videos)

    #4-6 – 🙂 Cool!

    #7 – I get this error about 60% of the time I post. Normally it is an error 500 (sorry, I will email you the exact text the next time I see it). I would also be happy to work with you looking into this – to include giving you admin access to my blog for a bit. I’m fairly confident it is something on my blog’s end, because it happens across multiple computers. It does NOT happen on 7 of the 9 blogs I post to. But the ones it dos happen on it happens quite often.

    Again, love the product. I’ve been evangelize it since the very first beta (and was an Onfolio customer before that!).



  7. Thanks for the great feedback!

    1. We don’t have a deferred posting feature–it’s completely up to the server to decide how to interpret dates in the future. WordPress respects them but something about the implementation appears to be broken (we haven’t gotten to the bottom of this yet so I can’t say with certainty that the problem needs to be fixed on their side, but I suspect that’s the case). Blogger always publishes posts immediately, regardless of date. You get a warning from us if you try to post-date with Blogger (unless you clicked "Never show this warning again" in the past).

    2. We do our own special HTML in order to make sure the video still appears in RSS readers, the majority of which strip embeds. We haven’t heard of this breaking blog layouts before, I’ll take a look.

    4-6. Noted, thanks.

    7. We designed the product to translate errors into something useful, unfortunately that feature hasn’t been much use because almost all of the errors we get are extremely generic (e.g. "NullPointerException") or otherwise unhelpful (e.g. not getting a response at all). What we would really like to do is get to the bottom of the errors and make sure they don’t happen again. We certainly aren’t aware of widespread errors happening where the post goes up anyway–I would be interested to hear more about those.

    Starting a list of incompatible WP plugins is definitely a great idea and I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

    Thanks again!