Monday, August 14, 2006

A test of MS Livewriter

I've been using the MS Word plugin to create posts here on blogger. It works OK but has some quirks. The biggest quirk recently has been the inability to post directly from Word - rather, I have to save as draft and then log into blogger and 'publish' the entry after adding the hard to read code (like they use for comments). Another long standing issue was the Word plugins annoying feature whereby it would lose the #<tag name> in a URL - meaning it was hard to point "inside a page" like this test link.

Well, I was reading this weekend about Livewriter - a currently "for free" blogging tool. In theory it should ease linking to pictures:

Where we spent the week

Which so far seems to be true (we'll see what happens when I upload this blog entry). Using the word plugin, I had to save as draft, log into blogger, go into HTML edit mode and paste in the flickr information. This tool let me just go into HTML edit mode and paste in the flickr stuff (I'm wondering why the tools don't have easier to use interfaces to the various photo upload sites..)

It has a spell checker which is important. Just wish the spell check ran as you were typing rather than as a "batch process" at the end.

What it doesn't have is the look and feel of a MS user interface - or maybe it has been so long since I've upgraded (I still use office 2000) that I don't know what a current MS interface looks like. The UI looks familiar though.

The real question for me is - can it "do code":

$ plus

SQL*Plus: Release - Production on Mon Aug 14 07:49:28 2006

Copyright (c) 1982, 2005, Oracle. All Rights Reserved.

Connected to:
Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition Release - Production
With the Partitioning, OLAP and Data Mining options

ops$tkyte%ORA10GR2> select * from dual;


so far, so good - we'll see how it works out.

Updated right before posting

Ok, Livewriter has already justified its existence. The word plugin would just say "I failed" when it failed to post. Livewriter says "I failed for this reason". In this case, the reason was:

Server Error 0 Occurred Your post has been saved as a draft instead of published. You must go to to publish your post. To prevent these errors in the future, request a review at:
Sorry for the inconvenience

Nice, now I understand why I couldn't post directly from my machine anymore - but rather had to log into blogger and release it. That really confused me since I do a couple of other blogs (nothing of interest, for the boy scouts and a girls soccer team). Those let me post directly without doing the word verification.

Hopefully they'll "review" my blog to verify it isn't a spam blog and let me post directly again. That would be nice.



Blogger Herod T said....

It only took blogger 24 hours to review my blog and mark it as a "Not Spam" blog after I visited the link. Posting with Zoundry displayed the error as well. Then posting works normally direct from your PC to the web.

It may have simply been the spool file, but it appears to me that you have extra blank lines in your test code formatting. Could be my browser too. I have had this issue with pretty much every blog tool I tried, including Zoundry which I decided to use. Blogs created by Zoundry have the extra lines, but it is easy to fix.

The issue appears to be that the tools wrap each line no matter what in the xhtml tags for paragraph [p] and [/p] with the greater/less than signs instead of the braces. Then when you post, blogger adds a [br /] as well as the [/p] which causes at least IE to add spaces when spaces are not wanted.

Wordpress does not appear to do this, at least in the test blog I have going to try and decide if I want to move blogs or not.

I just didn't want to be part of the "Great Oracle Blog Exodus" and decided to wait it out for awhile.

To get around the extra spaces, I found the easiest and fairly efficient way is to write the normal text, then go to the XHMTL editor that Zoundry has, manually insert the [pre][code] tags, then paste in the code I want.

Now, if on blogger I could only find a template that displayed code the way I want it to.

Mon Aug 14, 09:00:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Josh said....

Hey Tom, looks like you found a winner here. The additional functionality will make your blogging much simpler, and quicker for that matter. I see you are scheduled as Keynote here in KC for September. I am interested in attending any ideas what you will be discussing?

thanks, Josh

Mon Aug 14, 11:48:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....


I couldn't help but to look at your vacation pics. It looks like nice to share the place?

Mon Aug 14, 11:56:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

it was the JW Marriot, Cancun Mexico

Mon Aug 14, 11:58:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

that would be KC in OCTOBER (you gave me a bit of a panic there :)

Looks like "It's all about binding" (my *favorite* talk right now) and "Tools I use" for the two technical talks.

And "things I know" for a keynote talk.

Mon Aug 14, 12:06:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Josh said....

Ah...Yes...October you are correct. Sorry to make your heart jump like that Tom... :-). Great, the binding and tools sound excellent!!

Mon Aug 14, 12:25:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Phil said....

Hopefully they'll "review" my blog to verify it isn't a spam blog and let me post directly again. That would be nice.

Be careful there...lest some tool+hacker hijack your blog and turn it into an automated one!!!

Mon Aug 14, 01:09:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

DIGG has a link to a rview of MS Livewriter

Mon Aug 14, 01:51:00 PM EDT  

Blogger William Robertson said....

> The real question for me is - can it "do code":

From looking at the source of the generated page, all it's done is set the font to Courier New, which isn't the same thing. You need pre tags.

Tue Aug 15, 03:06:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

You don't *need* pre tags, you need

a) fixed font (not proportional)
b) line breaks where you want them

as long as it does that - it does code.

Tue Aug 15, 05:25:00 AM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

>> You don't *need* pre tags

I seem to recall that blogger used to trim leading spaces unless you used pre tags, which rather broke the display of code. Maybe that is just their editing tool though. Courier looks a lot better then pre on Wordpress, anyway.

Tue Aug 15, 10:26:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Herod T said....


you have to install the microsoft .net framework to run it.

Is it really worth effort to make the call to the PC admins to give me the rights to install in on my laptop?

Tom thinks so... yeah :)

Tue Aug 15, 10:28:00 AM EDT  

Blogger William Robertson said....

> You don't *need* pre tags

Try posting some code with indentation or other multiple whitespace characters.

Sat Aug 26, 07:36:00 AM EDT  

Blogger William Robertson said....

Sorry, just noticed David's post. It is not Blogger that collapses whitespace, it is your browser correctly following the HTML standard. That is what it is supposed to do.

If you want pre to use a different font, that's what stylesheets are for. The CSS definition will loook something like:

pre { font-family: Lucida Console, Courier New, Courier, monospace; }

Sat Aug 26, 07:44:00 AM EDT  


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