Many of you may have used and experienced the benefits of Windows Live Writer, and it's a fantastic blogging tool, second to none in my opinion, and as soon as the rumours of the Windows Live brand being killed off started circulating, I've been worried that I'm going to be left using something different that… well that I won't enjoy using as much.
I'm not going to go on about if, when or why Windows Live Writer will be binned… others have done that enough… but instead I wanted to write about alternatives. Over the last few weeks there have been a few exciting developments. Office 2013 Preview was made available to the public, and it's an excellent release. Pretty stable, and a nice enhanced UI. The whole interface seems to have a more fluid and responsive feel to it, which is great.
Whilst I was using Microsoft Word as part of Office 2013, I thought I'd see just how useful it is as an alternative to Windows Live Writer, and to my pleasant surprise, it's actually a viable alternative, though some of the best things of Windows Live Writer are still missing.
Word 2013 pretty much has the same editing facilities as any other blogging tool in that you can connect to your MetaWeblog, you can write a blog post, and you can upload, and for doing as much, it feels nice. The interface is very clean, and distraction free, which (in my opinion) is essential for any blogging tool.
What it doesn't do, however, is allow you to edit in-place. This was one of my favourite features of Windows Live Writer… you can (through the application) download a preview of your blog, and it's styles, then view your blog post in its surrounding as you're editing, which gives you a great feel for the content that you're writing. Many would no doubt argue that writing a blog post shouldn't worry about the style, but when you're determining the size of the images that you're using, it's really useful to see the size of the page.
Anyway, we thought we'd give it a full and fair trial, and as a good test, this particular blog post has been written using Microsoft Word 2013 Preview.
If you'd like to give this a try for yourself, you can download the Microsoft Office 2013 Customer Preview from:
Step-by-step instructions to configure Word 2013 are below…
Firstly, create a new blog post, you can do this by clicking File > New… and from the templates, simply search for 'Blog post'. If you've created a blog post before using Word, it should appear as a template you've used recently.
When you create your blog post, before being able to write anything, you'll be asked to setup your blog account. If you don't opt to do this now, you can configure your account by choosing 'Manage Accounts' from the 'Blog Post' ribbon.
If you do choose to create your account, you'll first be asked for the provider of your blog. As this post is about Kentico, we'll be targeting our settings for MetaWebLog API, so we need to choose 'Other' as the type:
After clicking next, you'll be asked to select the API, which you'll find contains an option for MetaWebLog, as well as the URL, Username and Password. If you've ever used Windows Live Writer, then all of this will seem fairly familiar, as these are the same settings that you will have entered when setting it up. If, however, you haven't ever configured Windows Live Writer, you'll need to enter the following settings:
Blog Post URL: http://<application path>/CMSModules/Blogs/CMSPages/MetaWeblog.ashx
User Name: Your CMS Desk Editor's Username
Password: Your CMS Desk Editor's Password
Clicking OK, and Word 2013 will head off to the MetaWebLog API on your Kentico site, and query a list of blogs that you have setup.
You'll first be prompted as to whether you want to allow your details to be passed to your selected provider:
When prompted, choose which one you want to setup:
Once you've selected your blog, choose OK and Word will be configured. If everything works as expected, you'll get a successful message, and your first blog post will be ready to write: