Like many people who write code, ideas come to me all the time for things I’d like to build. Most times the ideas are fleeting, but there are others that stick in my head, and it’s these that get written on the whiteboard in my home office.
Among those ideas is to build a better blogging app for Windows. Admittedly, it’s been up there a long time, but it’s on there because Windows Live Writer, the defacto Windows blogging app, was abandoned by Microsoft back in 2012 and hasn’t been updated since (even though it continues to work fine).
And not only did I want to build a replacement for Windows Live Writer, I planned on scoping it to work only with WordPress. A fresh Windows blogging client built on top of the WordPress REST API sounded pretty good to me.
And then two announcements happened this week, both within an hour of each other:
1. A group of volunteers inside Microsoft launched Open Live Writer, an open source and forked version of Windows Live Writer.
2. Automattic, the company behind WordPress, released the Windows version of Calypso, their new desktop blogging app.
Open Live Writer
I downloaded and installed Open Live Writer about 2 minutes after that tweet was posted and found that it worked pretty much as expected. Meaning, it was the same as the usual trusty Windows Live Writer, which is a good first step.
While there isn’t anything different with Open Live Writer, that will obviously change as the group iterates the app over time. It’s nice knowing that Windows Live Writer, I mean Open Live Writer, will continue to live on, and I look forward to its future updates.
The real surprise here is Automattic’s WordPress.com desktop blogging app; it’s almost exactly what I had in my head for what I wanted to build, but moreso. In short, it’s a stellar piece of software. It’s very well-designed and integrates seamlessly with your WordPress site (the Jetpack plugin is required for self-hosted WordPress sites).
But what makes it special is how good it feels. This is an app that is simply a joy to use, and quite frankly, makes me want to write more just to use the app. It’s that good.
The Future is Bright
So while I’m sort of disappointed that I no longer need to build a new blogging desktop app for Windows (I know, call me crazy), I’m thrilled we have two great choices for writing blog posts on Windows going forward.
Needless to say, my whiteboard now has a little bit more free space :-)