On Wednesday, Chris Jones outlined Microsoft's plans for Windows 8 and also the rebranding of Windows Live Essentials suite of desktop programs. Windows Live as a brand is to be dropped, and he included a table showing the old named programs and their equivalent names going forward. What was most noticeable from this table was the absence of any Live Writer app for Windows 8.
As Windows Live Writer has become a well loved blogging editor by many users over the years since its beginning, it obviously raises questions as to any long term plans for this wonderful program, which in my case I use extensively for all of my blogs and without which I would probably be lost.
Live Writer has always made use of every aspect of other programs such as Photo Gallery, SkyDrive to save your photos and photo albums, or including a Bing map to give just a few examples. Moreover, during its lifetime, its team has always been one of the most helpful to its users and also been at the ‘cutting edge’ for introducing new and innovative feature into Writer.
They set up a Live Writer forum especially to help users having problems and gain feedback from them for features they would love to be included. Once when I was having some difficulties getting Writer to sync with one of my blogs, I was contacted by one of the team via email. Wherever possible, users requests for features were incorporated into Writer in the next update, and it now contains many features that other blogging editors can only dream of. For example, they were the first to incorporate Photo Album into the product, which allows you to include a full album of photos in a blog post so that your readers can then go and view every photo in that album on SkyDrive by simply clicking on it inside your blog post. The album can be attractively presented in many innovative ways and contain as many photos in it as you like, yet is kept in the size of your blog post. This brilliant idea was then subsequently ported over to online Hotmail posts and also Windows Live Mail.
Live Writer is also one step ahead of Photo Gallery by allowing you to add a watermark to any photo that you include in a blog post, and there are many more instances where the Writer team have ‘led the way’ with new features where other teams have been lacking. Not only that, you have been able to ‘tailor’ Writer to how you use it by the inclusion of Writer ‘plug ins’ which add many useful features that may not have been included in Live Writer at the time. These include such additions as being able to add a Polaroid picture into your post or add images from your Picasa Web Albums, Facebook or Flickr if you tend to store your pictures there. Some of the more popular plug ins were then subsequently added to Writer by the team, such as being able to add an assortment of smileys to your post or the very popular Polaroid photo feature.
The Writer team have always been open to suggestions for new features from their users and have always been willing to help users when they have encountered problems. In fact, previous versions of Live Writer actually included a ‘help’ button to allow you to contact the team directly. It’s why I always considered the Live Writer team to be my favourite Live team simply because they were willing to listen to their users.
Now we face the fact that maybe Windows Live Writer is no longer going to be supported by Microsoft in the future, and that a Windows 8 Writer app is not on the horizon. As I own a Windows phone, I was also hoping for not only a Writer app for Windows 8, but also one for both tablets and mobiles so I could compose a blog post ‘on the go’. My great friend Scott Lovegrove who has coded many plug ins for Writer has begun a petition at http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/dontkillwlw and if you love using Live Writer as much as I do for your blogs, then please take a few moments to sign it. It could make all the difference.