I use a lot of Microsoft products, usually because I am compelled to at work. But, particularly with Microsoft Office software, I usually have a lot of complaints. It is not bugs, particularly, but the overwhelming feature sets built into their products that always surprise me, especially since there isn’t usually an easy way to work in “simple-mode” where unnecessary distractions like footnote tools and grammar checking as you type are disabled.
Practically the last tool category I expected Microsoft to excel in was offline blog editing software. So, I tried BlogDesk, and Zoundry Raven, two products that others had raved about. But neither of them were very compelling. Both had a few nice features, but for some tasks, like editing a table, I found it as easy to just edit online in WordPress.com, my target blog software. If an offline editor isn’t better than the online editor, then why bother?
Then I tried Microsoft’s Live Writer, and was pleasantly surprised at how much the programmers at Microsoft got right. The interface is simple and uncluttered, the UI utilizes the online CSS styles for colors, and there is a relatively broad set of community supported plug-ins to extend the capabilities of Live Writer.
It still doesn’t quite do everything I want. I’d like to see more awareness of online CSS, for example. But hats off to the Redmond programmers, they got it right this time.