After putting into place the basic blogging functions on my personal site using FCKEditor for rich text editing I started looking for a more feature rich way of editing my posts.
I first contemplating using this as an opportunity to practice writing a WPF application, then I read about Windows Live Writer.
Live Writer is a desktop application that lets you create your blog entries offline. It has decent editing/preview capabilities, lets you add files/images/etc. It also supports plug-ins, so you can add in capabilities for inserting music, movies, etc.
Microsoft provides an SDK for this application, which tells you about it’s internal API, how to write plug-ins, and what interested me: ability to plug in your own blog engine via it’s provider API.
The SDK is a good reference, but did not help me get started quickly. A few Google searches brought me to PlugBlog.
From the http://plugblog.codeplex.com/ page:
“PlugBlog is an open source project focused on Windows Live Writer. First goal of the project is to help developers and companies that run blogging services to integrate with Live Writer by providing them documentation, samples, screencasts and Visual Studio templates. Second goal of the project is to develop a set of Live Writer plugins and also document it so that the developers can develop plugins more easily. The project is done by students from Croatia but is open to entire community and we invite you to participate.”
The documentation they provide gives a decent background on the basics of XML-RPC, the metaWeblog API, and the basic requirements for integration with Live Writer.
Examining their documentation and the Visual Studio template they had put together gave me a very good idea what I needed to implement on my services endpoints.
Using the CookComputing.XmlRpc dll, the MetaWebLog API RFC, Microsoft’s MetaWeblog API Reference, Google searches and some trial and error I was able to implement the needed API methods.
Now I can create my blog entries offline in Live Writer – a much nice interface than any web based rich text editor!
I know that there are other desktop based blog editors out there, perhaps another day I’ll explore those to see if they offer a richer experience.
-- Erik Hoffmann
(** In the course of writing this, I also discovered that Microsoft has an C# code sample of implementing the MetaWeblog API here. I don’t know if I just missed that link earlier or if it’s newer content)