Announcing Open Live Writer - An Open Source Fork of Windows Live Writer
Today is the day. An independent group of volunteers within Microsoft has successfully open sourced and forked Windows Live Writer. The fork is called Open Live Writer (also known as OLW) and it is part of the .NET Foundation and managed by this group of volunteers. Read the fantastic announcement at the .NET Foundation Blog! Download Open Live Writer now!
Windows Live Writer 2012 was the last version Microsoft released and can still be downloaded from http://www.windowslivewriter.com. If you're not comfortable using Open Source Software, I recommend you stick with classic WLW.
If you're willing to put up with some bugs, then join us in this brave new world, you can download Open Live Writer from http://www.openlivewriter.org. We're calling today's release version 0.5.
Here's some of the added features, the removed features, the stuff that doesn't work, and our plans for the future:
- REMOVED: Spell Checking. The implementation was super old and used a 3rd party spell checker we didn't have a license to include an open source release. Going forward we will add Spell Check using the built-in spell checker that was added in Windows 8. Open Live Writer on Windows 7 probably won't have spell check.
- REMOVED: The Blog This API. It was a plugin to Internet Explorer and Firefox and was a mess of old COM stuff.
- REMOVED: The "Albums" feature. It uploaded photos to OneDrive but depended on a library that was packaged with Windows Live Mail and Live Messenger and we couldn't easily get permission to distribute it in an open source project.
- ADDING VERY SOON: Google runs the excellent Blogger blog service. We've worked with the Blogger Team within Google on this project, and they've been kind enough to keep an older authentication endpoint running for many months while we work on Open Live Writer. Soon, Google and Blogger will finally shut down this older authentication system. Blogger will use the more modern OAuth 2 and Open Live Writer will be updated to support OAuth 2. Windows Live Writer will never support this new OAuth 2 authentication system, so if you use Blogger, you'll need to use Open Live Writer.
- BROKEN/KNOWN ISSUES: We are actively working on supporting Plugins. We have an plan in place and we are looking for your feedback on the most popular plugins that you want brought over from the Windows Live Writer ecosystem.
Our roadmap for the future is published here on GitHub.
NOTE: Open Live Writer is NOT a Microsoft product. It is an open source project under the .NET Foundation and is managed and coded by volunteers. Some of the volunteers work for Microsoft and are doing this work in their spare time.
Are you an existing user of Windows Live Writer?
We encourage you to install Open Live Writer and try it out! OLW will run side-by-side with your existing Windows Live Writer installation. Open Live Writer installs VERY quickly and updates itself automatically. Try it out! It's early but it's a start. Please bear with us as we work to improve Open Live Writer.
if you do find bugs, please share your bugs at https://github.com/OpenLiveWriter/OpenLiveWriter/issues and be specific about what's not working. And please, be patient. We are doing this as volunteers - we are NOT representing Microsoft. Open Live Writer is no longer a Microsoft project, so while we will do our best to support you, let's all try to support one another!
Are you a developer/designer/writer?
We've got dozens of volunteers and a few dedicated core committers. Your Pull Requests and code ARE appreciated, but please talk to the team and comment on issues before submitting any major Pull Requests (PRs). Community is appreciated and we don't want to reject your hard work, so it's best you talk to the team in a GitHub Issue and get approved for large work items before you spend a lot of time on OLW. We welcome http://firsttimersonly.com to open source as well! Help us with our docs, as well!
IMPORTANT HISTORICAL NOTE: Much of the code in Open Live Writer is nearly 10 years old. The coding conventions, styles, and idioms are circa .NET 1.0 and .NET 1.1. You may find the code unusual or unfamiliar, so keep that in mind when commenting and discussing the code. Before we start adding a bunch of async and await and new .NET 4.6isms, we want to focus on stability and regular updates.
Building Open Live Writer and making your own personal copy!
To be clear, you don't need to be a programmer to run OLW. Just head over to http://www.openlivewriter.org and download now. However, if you do want to hack on OLW here's how!
Clone the sources:
git clone https://github.com/OpenLiveWriter/OpenLiveWriter.git
At this point, you can build and run inside Visual Studio 2015 Community. It's free to download at https://www.visualstudio.com/free. A solution file for OLW is located at
- Alternatively, you can build at the command prompt:
.\buildto compile. The binaries are dropped in
.\runto launch Writer.
I know it felt like it took a long time to open source Open Live Writer. In fact, my buddy John Gallant found the first email where we started asking questions in April of 2013. There was a lot involved both legally and technically as we were breaking new ground for Microsoft. Consider this. We've successfully open sourced a previously completely proprietary piece of Windows software that shipped as part of Windows Live Essentials. This software was used by millions and contained code as old as a decade or more. Persistence pays off.
This is just the beginning! Big thanks to the team that made this possible. Specifically I want to call out Will Duff, Rob Dolin, and Robert Standefer who have been there from the beginning offering coding, logistical, and legal support. Thanks to Ben Pham for our logo, and Martin Woodward from the .NET Foundation for his support, Azure Storage account, and code signing certificate! I can't thank everyone here, there's a longer list of contributors on our home page!
We are looking forward to hearing from you and perhaps you'll join us in our open source journey.
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