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Microsoft Open Sources Live Writer

| by Abel Avram Follow 4 Followers on Dec 10, 2015. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

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Microsoft has turned the Live Writer source code to the .NET Foundation inviting the community to contribute to the project now that it is in their hands.

Although Live Writer has no longer been actively developed by Microsoft since the launch of Live Writer 2012 for Windows 8, it was considered worth reviving it by several decision makers within Microsoft including Scott Guthrie because, among others, Live Writer is the most used blog post authoring tool for wordpress.com on Windows. Back in February, Scott Hanselman, a Principal Program Manager at Microsoft, was tweeting from the fifth meeting where it was being discussed open sourcing Live Writer. When someone asked why it took so long to make a decision, Hanselman said: “because it's FILLED with old code. It's about what needs to be cleaned out first.” Ten months later, with the voluntary contribution of about 2 dozens developers from Microsoft, Live Writer was open sourced under the .NET Foundation as Open Live Writer (OLW).

Live Writer may seem like a trivial word editor application but it has ~200K lines of C# code which needed cleaning and preparing to offer it as a stand alone project. Due to the large code base they considered it fit for the .NET Foundation which took the project under their wings to ensure the project won’t die due to lack of contributions.

Currently, Open Live Writer runs on Windows 10, and the roadmap mentions Windows 7 and 8 if “time permits.” It is also possible to make it work on Mac OS and Linux via Mono. This porting is not trivial though because OLW contains many Windows API calls.

Some of the features have been removed either because of licensing issues or old stuff that was no longer considered appropriate. The spell checker was removed but it will be replaced with the native Windows checker. OLW is still not working with Blogger and OAuth2 but it should be working pretty soon. Earlier this year, Live Writer stopped working with Blogger when Google introduced the mandatory use of OAuth2, but Microsoft convinced them to allow it working until the tool would be open sourced. Current Blogger users authoring with Live Writer will have to switch to OLW because Google will close the loophole and LW will no longer be able to publish on their platform.

OLW will continue to support plug-ins and a survey is running asking what plug-ins people want to see added. Plans for the tool also include: adding support for other popular blogging platforms like TypePad and LiveJournal, certain integration with Facebook and Twitter, support for Markdown and multiple languages. More is to be added later.

The source code can be found on GitHub under the MIT License.

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