Posting with Windows Live Writer

This is a first-attempt to post to WordPress blog using Windows Live Writer. Currently in beta, WLW allows using a native Windows application to publish to Spaces, WordPress (which is the platform underpinning RandomOracle), Blogger, LiveJournal, MoveableType and even SharePoint blogs for the enterprise-oriented.

Arguments in favor of posting this way? Rich-clients have more more polished UI, boast greater flexibility, and can function offline. But taking each of these in turn, the advantage disappears on closer look:

  • User interface– yes client UI is easier and more familiar than web UI but what is the complexity of the average blog post? It is neither War and Peace, nor a template letter with embedded macros getting mail-merged against a spreadsheet of names that calls for the 2000+ features in Word 2007. (Although familiar Office interface for editing tables is there for example.)
  • Similar arguments apply on the point of flexibility. Most of the flexibility gained by using a native client that has close integration with the OS is lost on the simplicity of the task.
  • Offline mode. This is probably the best argument to justify the heavyweight solution. Blogging UI has become more sophisticated– for example losing an entire post because of a connectivity issue or accidentally hitting “back button” is rarely an issue now. But when one considers blogging a type of interactive online communication, offline mode has limited value. Rarely does an article emerge with the author locked up in an office, ruminating on a subject out of his/her imagination. Posts are often responses to other blogs, track-backs, commentary on a recent article etc. and seeing all of that requires being online. So at best offline mode is useful when the author has all the relevant information collected (including hyperlinks) but has lost connectivity temporarily, for example during a flight. But for those temporary situations, there is Google Gears API released last month. It provides a generic offline capability for any web application, taking the wind out of the argument that smart-clients are necessary.


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