Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Goodbye Windows Live Writer - To its Gallery as the first step…but next?

<rant alert> This post is a rant. I’m going to bitch, moan, groan and whine about something that upsets me. It’s not meant to start any flame wars, battles or anything like that. I just feel the need to vent and since this is my blog… ;)  </rant alert>

Windows Live Writer (WLW) has a huge following as one of the best blog writing tools around. But recent versions has had people, including myself, wondering at its future. The Wave 4 (aka Windows Live Essentials 2011 version) feature set is anemic, at best. We get the ribbon and a change in the shortcut keys. That feels like about it. And from my seat, worse there’s nothing for developers.

Now the Writer Gallery is being killed.

The WLW plug-ins are one of the main draws, one of the major reasons WLW is so darn good. As the iPhone has taught us, it’s the app’s, stupid. In WLW’s case, it’s the plug ins, stupid! Now the Gallery as we knew it is being replaced with the below process;

Dear Windows Live Writer plug-in authors,

On behalf of the Windows Live Writer team and all of our customers, thank you for the valuable contributions your plug-ins have made to the Writer experience.

We’re writing to let you know that Writer’s plug-in hosting and submission processes are changing.  Note: Existing plug-ins currently hosted on Windows Live Gallery will need to be resubmitted using the new process outlined below.  In the future, should you wish to provide additional plug-ins for Writer, we request that you also submit your plug-ins using this process.

We hope that you find the new plug-in submission process and hosting solution simple and lightweight.

New plug-in submission process:

1.       Author uploads plug-in MSI installer to Windows Live SkyDrive using his/her Windows Live ID (email address).

2.       Author emails (Windows Live Essentials Plug-ins) including the following information:

·         Author name

·         Author Windows Live ID (that will host the plug-in MSI)

·         Author contact email address

·         Plug-in name

·         Plug-in description

·         Plug-in category (pick only one):

·   Formatting/clipboard

·   Post publishing

·   Pictures

·   Buttons

·   Other content

·   Miscellaneous

·         URL to plug-in MSI on SkyDrive

3.       Writer team verifies that the plug-in works as described.

4.       Writer team updates public list of Writer plug-ins that will include information on the plug-in and a link to the installer that is hosted on the author’s SkyDrive.

5.       Writer team notifies plug-in author that plug-in has been listed.

We value your efforts and want to ensure that your plug-ins will continue to be accessible for the many people interested in them.  In order to do this, we need you to resubmit any existing plug-ins on Windows Live Gallery using this new process by September 10, 2010. You will be able to add more plug-ins after this date, but we need you to move existing plug-ins by then.

Please email us with any questions or concerns about the new plug-in submission process at Other support requests should be directed to the Windows Live Solution Center.


The Windows Live Writer Team

Are you kidding me? We have to self-host our plug ins (gee, talk about future link management, breaking, “department of what could go wrong” etc, issues)? The submission process is email based? The Gallery, with it’s review, stats, searching, etc, is being replaced with some kind of “public list”? Wow, welcome to the 90’s

Come on, I hate to say this, but this is lame. If this were from a single person or small company, then sure, this might be okay. But from Microsoft I really expect much more. The funny thing is the Gallery killed a number of WLW Plug-in listing sites. Now this move takes us back a half decade…

As a developer of a top 20 WLW plugin, Text Template, (okay, so it only has 8k downloads, but still it’s in the top 20! :) I do not see this as any kind of improvement. At this point I don’t see any benefits to WLW users or developers. Am I going to resubmit my free plugin? I really doubt it.

VS2010’s Extension Manager and VSIX is the model to beat. THAT would help everyone. That would seriously rock. This? meh…


Given the lack of real love being given to WLW and now this move… I truly wonder at the long term life span for WLW. Unless I hear good news soon, I believe it’s time to add WLW to the Death Watch List.  And that really makes me kind of sad…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Odd policy change.