Pretty much since I started to have a blog on WordPress I have used Windows Live Writer as the tool of choice for writing posts. In the beginning I found it to be an excellent tool. It still has many good points but it appears that it is not fancy enough for the “new Microsoft” today so it is slowly but surely becoming obsolete. That seems to be something one can say about the entire Live Essentials suite by the way. The mail tool have not been updated for quite a while and as we all know, the Windows 8 tool is just not cutting it, the SkyDrive app is gone on Windows 8.1 and with it some useful features etc…
I have stuck with Live Writer for some time even though it is becoming less and less functional to use. Already quite some time ago it stopped fully understanding the various WordPress themes so if you tried to detect the theme to get a better WYSIWYG experience you did not quite get the real layout. Lately this have been aggravated to the point where it is useless. If you tell Live Writer to use your theme you get an editing panel which is more or less unusable and certainly not something resembling the actual end result.
Live writer do also not understand certain basic features like WordPress Featured Image functionality, post formats or sticky posts. All of this you have to fix in WordPress afterwards. Since I recently switched to a theme that relies quite a lot on both the Featured Image feature as well as sticky posts this really have become an issue.
So I decided to dump Live Writer and try something else. Unfortunately there is not really that much else that works well in terms of native Windows applications. At least not anything that I felt would be much of an improvement over Live Writer. Hence I have resorted to try to use the web-editor that WordPress provides. I did try it early on but found it lacking and prone to crash every so often. That was a few years ago so a new try might be in order.
So far I have to say that it is working quite well. It is rather minimalistic but it is doing its job for sure. You can easily set and manage the features mentioned above, it is reasonably WYSIWYG and it has a working preview functionality. Something that Live Writer never really managed very well. The spelling and grammar checker is also a tad better since it actually have limited grammar checking and not just stupid spell checking. It does not correct or flag on the fly though which is a minor drawback.
Of course I did not get something without losing something. The one feature that I will miss the most is the automatic linking of certain words and phrases. It was so convenient that you could set it up so that if you, for instance, wrote CERN it would automatically link to the page I had given it for CERN. I had set it up to do so for 20-30 various words or expressions that I used frequently.
Another thing that I am missing is that Live Writer would tell me if I forgot to add categories or tags. The web-editor is also not as smooth and slick and a proper native application. Unfortunately these drawbacks were overshadowed by the growing “obsoletness” of Live Writer so it is dumped into the dustbin as from now and I will use the web-editor. At least until something better comes around.