Live Writer hasn’t been significantly updated since 2012 but still retains a loyal fan base. For writers who don’t trust authoring directly within their content management system, the combination of familiar word processor-like interface and seamlessly integrated publishing is a compelling one.
The lack of maintenance, however, threatened to render the tool useless. The most pressing concern is Blogger. Google is switching Blogger from an old authentication system to OAuth 2. Live Writer only supports the old system and will never include OAuth 2 support. Although Google has extended the availability of the old method to ensure that Live Writer continues to work, it will not do so indefinitely, posing a problem for users of the app.
Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman has been pushing for the company to open source the software since April 2013. Earlier this year, he tweeted that the app would indeed be open sourced before backtracking somewhat to say only that open sourcing was being seriously looked at but was still not a settled matter.
But now it is. Open Live Writer is an open source, C# language fork of the Live Writer codebase. The code is now on GitHub and published with the permissive MIT license. Prior to publishing its source, a few features dependent on third-party code—spell checking and OneDrive photo album viewing—had to be removed. So too was a Firefox/Internet Explorer plugin. Beyond that, however, the app should be complete.
Going forward, the app will be developed by the community, with that important OAuth 2 support being the biggest priority to ensure that Live Writer will continue to work with Blogger.