If you are new to blogging you may not have yet used a desktop editor for editing and creating posts, a desktop editor will allow you to work offline if you choose, and comes with all the functions you need to create a full blog post, such as text formatting, image formatting, and so on. Then any good writer will allow you to upload and publish the entire post from your desktop, or if you prefer you can also save a local copy to your PC.
If you have have used a desktop editor previously, you will most probably have given up on them, as many editors do all sorts of funny things to the text formatting, meaning when you try to publish the post you find it contains a great deal of unnecessary formatting tags. However some advances have been made to sort out this messy formatting and there are now a few desktop editors that actually work very well. Windows live writer is one such tool.
There has been a lot of criticism in relation to windows software in the past, this aside, windows live writer is simple to use, smooth to operate, works for many different blog platforms and is expandable using Plug-ins.
The most interesting feature perhaps is the way text formatting is displayed on the editor, which is set to reflect the CSS font used in your blog, giving you a feel for the final output, this is done automatically, but can also be disabled. Additionally there is also a preview function which will show you how the post will look on your site, without actually taking the post live. In fact there are four views on this desktop editor:
- Normal – Excludes CSS and shows a standard output.
- Web Layout – Includes your blog CSS formatting, as defined by your theme.
- Web Preview – Displays what the post will look like on your blog.
- HTML -Displays the code behind the post.
Windows live writer feels like a premium editor which is surprisingly free. Although created as a complement to Windows Live Spaces, the functionality to edit posts and pages on other platforms are included. WordPress, Typepad, Sharepoint are all supported, but I have only tested on wordpress.
The plug-ins feature allow you to expand the editor, although there is a limited number of these, popular plug-ins such as the ability to insert Flickr images are available.
For those who prefer to make a few changes to their post on their platform editor, the desktop editor even comes with a ‘post draft to blog and edit online’ feature, allowing you to make those additional changes if you publish!
Do you use a blog writer, or do you prefer to use your platforms editor from your web-browser? Please comment and share your views.