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After Visual Studio And Chakra, Microsoft Open Sources The Live Writer Software

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Open-sourcing seems to be the theme of this year’s Christmas season with Microsoft intent upon playing the Santa. After recently announcing a publicly available version of its Chakra platform, the tech giant today announced the release of the Windows Live Writer, under an open source MIT license.

The virtually unknown Live Writer was first announced back in 2006, as a result of Microsoft’s acquisition of Onfolio. The latter had a product called Onfolio writer, which was adopted and developed by Microsoft into its own Live Writer.

The reasoning behind the acquisition and the subsequent development was that Live Writer would someday become the one stop for all kinds of written content — including but reaching far beyond, online blogs. However, the product usage eventually remained limited to blog creation — which was again overshadowed by better, open-source tools like WordPress.

Well, with Microsoft engineers washing their hands off the software, it fell to volunteers from the company to do something to ensure that all that painstakingly written code didn’t just become obsolete.

Well, they solved the issue by making the software open source — with Microsoft’s blessings ofcourse — and voila! You have Open Live writer, a brand new software that anyone can work upon and improve! The OLW is also compatible with services such as WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad.

However, it is not all rainbows and sunshine. With the last released version coming out in 2012, the OLW code is pretty old and will definitely take some getting used to. As per Scott Hanselman, principal program manager for Microsoft Azure, ASP.NET, and Web Tools, Microsoft,

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.

That being said, the OLW code is still relevant and with Microsoft open sourcing it, we can expect a whole bunch of developers moving into work upon it.

The OLW that is currently available for download lacks some of the features available with the licensed version — mainly due to difficulties with the third-parties responsible for those features. However, alternatives to these features along with additional goodies, are expected to began making their merry way in, soon.

Meanwhile, the OLW software version 0.5, described by Hanselman as “Quick to install and with automatic update capabilities” can be downloaded from


A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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