Microsoft Live Writer beta released

Another piece of the Microsoft Live mosaic is slotted into place with the release of a beta of the Live Writer tool.

This is an editor principally aimed at bloggers for Windows Live Spaces, although the company says it can also be used with other blogging services including Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad and WordPress

It offers WYSIWYG authoring and Microsoft says that the software can adapt to the styles of a blog, including headings, fonts, colours, background images, paragraph spacing, margins and block quotes. It also supports embedding of photos and other images and can modify size, text wrapping, borders, and apply graphic effects.

Bloggers can also include a photo either by browsing image thumbnails through an ‘Insert Picture’ dialog box or simply by copying and pasting from a web page

Finally, Writer can incorporate maps from Microsoft’s Windows Live Local map directly into a post. Once inside Writer, the map can be customised to include modifying the view to show road, aerial or bird’s eye detail and by adding pushpins

Writer is the latest product in the wave of ‘Live’ online applications that the company is introducing as part of its strategy to capture the market for integrated online applications before either Google or Yahoo!

Microsoft is also encouraging developers to create customised versions of Live Writer through the Windows Live Writer software development kit. The tools and APIs allows developers to add extra features to Writer. Examples given are functions that allow users to embed images from online photo publishing sites, video and audio players, tags from tagging services like del.icio.us and Flickr and links from e-commerce sites.

The Live Writer beta is available at the Microsoft Writer Zone.

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