Blog Publishing with Windows Live Writer

by Aaron 28. December 2011 05:46

I subscribe to quite a few blogs.  I put them in Google Reader so that I can easily read them from my phone or my tablet.  When I run across one that seems like it might be useful to me, either now or later, I "star" it.

Recently I decided to go back through my starred posts looking for posts on useful utilities.  I really look for anything that can keep my machine clean, running faster, help with productivity, whatever.  I wish I could double-star those because of how useful I find them.

This time around, the article that stood out for me, and I've gone back to it several times, is Scott Hanselman's 2011 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows.  Say that three times fast.  Seriously.

The author, Scott Hanselman [blog | Twitter], apparently updates this list every year or two.  I already use a few of those utilities, but the one that I overlooked until a few days ago is Windows Live Writer.

One of my [failed] goals this year was to do a lot more publishing on all of my blog sites.  I find that it's maybe more than a little inconvenient to log into the various sites, go into the editor, which may or may not be very friendly (it is the web after all), write, spell-check, proof-read, and publish.  Windows Live Writer gives me a unified front for doing just that.

When I set up Windows Live Writer for this blog site, and the others, it downloaded the stylesheets.  It appears to be giving me an accurate view of what my post will look like once it’s published to the site!  The rich text editor in BlogEngine.NET doesn’t even do that for me.  There's a Preview tab so if this isn't good enough, I can see what it’ll look like on the site itself.

While this is obviously going to help me publish more blog posts, I still need to find something for mobile devices.  I find that using my tablet is easier than carting my laptop around the house.  Also, the aforementioned rich text editor in BE.NET isn't very Android browser friendly.  If anybody has a recommendation for something on Android, I would love to hear about it.

Tags: , , , ,

Internet Explorer 9 - Awesome with some exceptions

by Aaron 26. March 2011 02:28

I installed IE9 once it was released recently.  My initial impression was, "meh."  It looked like it has some improved looks, but I noticed it took a sort of minimalistic layout ala Chrome.  I didn't like that at first, but somebody probably put some time into the coming up with the layout.  Also, do I really use the status bar anymore?  I couldn't remember using it for anything except checking what URL a link poiints to.  The status bar isn't necessary for that anymore.

I tested the browser against a couple of experiments on http://www.chromeexperiments.com.  I was impressed!  It outperformed Firefox on the same tests and performed comparably to Chrome and Opera.  I tested it with GeoDocs, and it was faster than it's IE8 sibling.

I checked out the Developer Toolbar that's built into the browser and was more than a little pleased to find that there's now, much like Firebug for Firefox, a network tab.  Now I don't have to use Fiddler2 or the Web Development Helper to monitor web requests in IE.

Now for the exceptions.  With every version of IE comes some new style issues.  Several sites that I visited have layout issues in IE9.  Nationwide Children's Hospital, for example, has an issue on their home page (at least) where the middle content renders after the right column.  Why can't Microsoft be consistent with padding and margins?

The other thing that I noticed is that the editors in both blogs that I maintain don't work.  In Wordpress, the editor isn't accessible with the mouse unless I turn on IE9 compatibility mode.  The editor in BlogEngine.NET won't pop up dialogs to insert links unless, again, I turn on IE9 compatibility mode.

Those are the only real issues that I've found so far, but now I have to support CSS for yet another version of IE.  Firefox has some differences between versions, but IE has been the bane of every web developer's existence.

Regardless of my new pain as a developer, I'm very happy as a user.

Tags: , , , , ,