So I'm writing this post using the beta version of the blog authoring tool Windows Live Writer, which you can download here.  I really like this piece of software and am going to start using Live Writer to draft all my blog posts.  (Note: don't bother if you use a Mac.)

Windows Live Writer is a downloadable application that allows you to write blog posts using a WYSIWYG editor.  You can update/post directly from Live Writer to your blog, meaning you don't have to do battle with the slow and clunky HTML editors that come prepackaged with blog software packages like WordPress.  Live Writer has a couple of advantages over other similar tools I've seen:

(1) As mentioned it is a downloadable application.  Being a laptop user that works primarily from one machine, I prefer something that I can run locally.  Web based application are great in theory, but oftentimes they are slow and more prone to crashing than a local application.

(2) It produces pretty clean HTML and actually tries to work with the style sheets you are using on your blog.  A lot of the programs I've tried before produce mangled code and my posts end up requiring massive clean up.  So far so good with Live Writer.  It also downloads your WordPress categories so you can put the post in the right place on your blog.

(3) It has a really easy to use image editing interface.  The image editing tools are the best I've seen in a program like this, by a ways.

(4) Live Writer automatically uploads any pictures I include in my blog post to the correct file location on my blog.  So basically people who don't even really understand the concept of uploading can post pictures.  And it saves a lot of time for those of us who do understand the whole uploading thing.

(5) It has a pretty cool integration with MSN Maps that allows me to easily includes maps in my posts.  Below is an overhead shot of our office here in Washington, DC.  I'll probably never use this again, but still pretty cool.

(6) It supposedly has an open API, meaning developers can potentially use Live Writer as a publishing tool for their own custom Content Management Systems. 

Anyway, I'm hoping Live Writer is the first step towards a version of Microsoft Word that includes the same types of web publishing features.  The technology exists to publish from Word to the web.  Building this functionality into Word (along with clean HTML creation) would save developers countless man hours and headaches.  Microsoft – make it happen!

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.