I’ve been using both WordPress and Blogger for the past several months – most recently with Microsoft’s new Live Writer beta. Live Writer is the first free blogging application that I’ve run across that’s intuitive and possessing almost all the features I’d like. (Wonder if it’ll be ‘ported to Linux?)

A couple of things about the sites have become apparent during the Live Writer test.

Foremost is the fact that Blogger doesn’t permit direct insertion of images into posts, i.e., from the editor. You have to upload them in the usual, rather clumsy, way. This is at odds with WordPress, which accepts the WYSIWYG post perfectly. Even Blogger’s sister application Writely won’t do it, and one of its claims to fame is the ability to post directly to blogs. It’s no wonder the other blogging sites are catching on so.

On the other hand WordPress, (because of its CSS construction, I suppose), is extremely slow to load on dialup if there are images of any size in the post. It’s so slow, in fact, that the first couple of times I attempted to test Live Writer at work on a dialup connectionI thought there was a conflict between the editor and the site. When I got home to my 6 Mb DSL and went back to look at it, I found it loaded just great. If nothing else, this could be a PITA for the large number of users who still have dialup.

It would be a good idea to keep images in WordPress as small as possible for that reason. The flip side is that Live Writer allows you to change the font in WordPress posts, which you can’t do from the Web interface. I’m sure you can do it from the WordPress client, but check out the beginning of the installation instructions for the bloody thing:

  • Unzip the package in an empty directory
  • Open up wp-config-sample.php with a text editor like WordPad or similar and fill in your database connection details
  • Save the file as wp-config.php

Now, aren’t you just dying to get started? Live Writer, on the other hand, installs from an .exe file… bing… and has cute little wizards.

I’m generally a gleeful Micro$oft basher, but I really like Live Writer. I find myself finding excuses to use it, it’s so clean and simple. Another thing I like about it is the simplicity of the HTML it produces. Anyone who has fooled around with code from Word has come to hate the mess that it creates. Live Writer, on the other hand, produces code that will paste into and display well in just about anyplace I’ve tried it – including Blogger, Writely, MovableType, and Backwash.com. My next project is to see how imported HTML plays with LW.

Now, before someone comments that all of these functions are available (in whatever application) if idiots like me would bother to look for them, it doesn’t count. This column is for idiots like me, who think you ought to be able to open an application and – with minimal knowledge and experience – use the thing. If I can’t open an application and have it perform at least its rudimentary functions without doing more than looking at the online help file for a couple of details, I’m not recommending it. There are plenty of places where geeks can get their kicks. This column is for the other 90%.

I’ll tell you something – and you have no idea how much pain this is causing: if Micro$oft can produce a clean application like this, and if it’s really working at making Vista as good as it can be, I might have another PC in my future. It’s finally shown me something here.

[tags]blogger,writely,live writer beta,wordpress,blogging software[/tags]