Microsoft’s love affair with the open source community continues as Windows Live Writer becomes another project shared between the two. Thanks to a handful of independent volunteers at Microsoft led by Scott Hanselman, the blogging tool Windows Live Writer has been forked and reintroduced to the open source community as Open Live Writer (OWL).
Windows Live Writer (WLW) was first introduced as a desktop application intended to make the nascent form of blogging easier for writers. WLW included a WYSIWYG blog editor and published posts using Windows Live Spaces or other preferred services at the time. Since its introduction, Microsoft has gone on to make a developer SDK available, extending the original capabilities of the services as well as bridging to other well-known blogging services such as WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger.
To keep the service up to date, the Microsoft volunteers have removed or tweaked some features to WLW that was last updated in 2012.
New tweaks to OWL now include:
- REMOVED: Spell Checking. The implementation was super old and used a 3rd party spell checker we didn't have a license to include an open source release. Going forward we will add Spell Check using the built-in spell checker that was added in Windows 8. Open Live Writer on Windows 7 probably won't have spell check.
- REMOVED: The Blog This API. It was a plugin to Internet Explorer and Firefox and was a mess of old COM stuff.
- REMOVED: The "Albums" feature. It uploaded photos to OneDrive but depended on a library that was packaged with Windows Live Mail and Live Messenger, and we couldn't easily get permission to distribute it in an open source project.
- ADDING VERY SOON: Google runs the excellent Blogger blog service. We've worked with the Blogger Team within Google on this project, and they've been kind enough to keep an older authentication endpoint running for many months while we work on Open Live Writer. Soon, Google and Blogger will finally shut down this older authentication system. Blogger will use the more modern OAuth 2 and Open Live Writer will be updated to support OAuth 2. Windows Live Writer will never support this new OAuth 2 authentication system, so if you use Blogger, you'll need to use Open Live Writer.
- BROKEN/KNOWN ISSUES: We are actively working on supporting Plugins. We have an plan in place and we are looking for your feedback on the most popular plugins that you want brought over from the Windows Live Writer ecosystem.
The Microsoft volunteers are now asking developers and writers of the open source community to pitch in their ideas, codes and improvements to help fuel OWL’s growth.
We've got dozens of volunteers and a few dedicated core committers. Your Pull Requests and code ARE appreciated, but please talk to the team and comment on issues before submitting any major Pull Requests (PRs). Community is appreciated and we don't want to reject your hard work, so it's best you talk to the team in a GitHub Issue and get approved for large work items before you spend a lot of time on OLW. We welcome http://firsttimersonly.com to open source as well! Help us with our docs, as well!”
The future of OWL seems bright, as the volunteers believe that the open sourcing of “a completely proprietary piece of Windows software” is just the beginning.
Download Open Live Writer here.