I’ve been playing with the new beta of WLW for the last couple of days and I really like the way the product is coming along. I thought the first beta, which I have used for quite some time now, was already the best blogging editor available. The update solidifies that position even further, IMO.
Beta 2 fixes a raft of bugs in beta 1 and introduces some new ones, of course. After all, it is beta software . . . There are a load of functional enhancements that really make the product a lot better. These include:
- New GUI – much nicer look and feel. Not complicated, but more complete and aero-ish. Still very easy to find your way around.
- In-line spell checking (squiggles). God forbid you have to wait until you’re done writing to do a batch spell check, but we’ve all become addicted to knowing right away.
- Much improved detection of blog theme. WLW retrieves the blog theme for local and offline WYSIWYG editing by creating a dummy post, retrieving it and then deleting it. In beta 1, if you pinged servers that consumed your feed as you posted, those servers could grab the temporary post before WLW could delete it. Thus, the large number of “Temporary post for style detection” posts all over the place. Apparently, while this can still happen, it’ll be rare.
- Easy in-line table editing – surprisingly complete. Think Word and Excel.
- Page authoring (in addition to posts) for WordPress and Typepad.
- Easy linking to previous posts in your blog and the ability to catalog favorite links for quick reference and insertion.
- An API that lets the weblog providers (WordPress, Typepad, etc.) open weblog features up to the editor. Some of these have been exposed already by WordPress and Typepad.
The upgrade from beta 1 was easy. I just ran the installer over the existing software and had no problems. You run beta software at your own risk, of course, but the beta 2 release looks pretty stable (see the bugs outlined in the link above) and offers some cool new functionality. Worth checking out.