It was quite coincidental that the day I was looking for Windows Live Writer again, Microsoft released Beta 2 of the product. On May 30, Microsoft launched new betas of Live Messenger 8.5, Live Writer, and Live Mail. All three products have been updated to fit in more with the Vista look as well as the Windows Live design found on the web.
The product I was most interested in, Windows Live Writer got a huge overhaul from Beta 1. The old beta was very much a rebranded Onfolio product that Microsoft got when it acquired the company. Now, it fits in with Vista and brings a bunch of improvements to the user interface that I’m very happy with. Key is the inline spell checking. In fact, I’m writing this from Live Writer Beta 2 and foresee most of my writing will be happening here in the future.
Live Messenger also got a slight revamp, although, apparently, most of the changes are in the back-end. There are some changes in the UI to fit in a bit better in Vista.
As you can see, the main theme seems to be gloss, gloss and more gloss. You can also see the color scheme Microsoft’s after. I personally don’t use Windows Live Mail so I didn’t download the new version of that, but from the couple of screenshots I saw, it’s more of the same – the blue color scheme throughout.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the new beta of Windows Live Writer. It plugs in with most of the major weblog engines, including WordPress (WordPress.com and self-hosted), TypePad, LiveJournal, Moveable Type, Blogger and of course their own Live Spaces. It provides a much nicer interface than the web-based ones and supports a good number of plugins to make writing easier and more efficient. As well, you can write offline and publish it to your weblog whenever a connection is available.