Thanks to Chris, I stumbled upon Windows Live Writer. Till date, I've used a variety of blogging clients like wbloggar, ecto, Performancing for Firefox (the current one) and almost everything else that supports the Metaweblog API. And I have to say I am quite impressed. The only weak point I can see is that it does not allow easy Technorati tagging like how Performancing does. Now, for the positives:
- WYSISWYG authoring with non-MS Office mangled HTML source.
- "Web Preview" that allows you to see the post within your blog's layout without having to publish it.
- Multiple account support (meaning that you can post to Blogger, Wordpress, Windows Live Spaces etc).
- Spell check (ahem, one feature that's badly needed for most bloggers).
- SDK to integrate other services (that should take care of my tagging complaint).
- Support for RSD, Metaweblog API and Movable Type API (in layman lingo that means it would support most of the blogging services out of the box without forcing you to wade into the ugly tech details).
- Absolutely spanking support for embedding images.
So the verdict for now is that it is really a non-Microsoft product in terms of being usable and irritation factor. There are downsides like being based on .Net and a standalone application. But for most Average Joes, this would really be a great addition to the regular blogging toolbox.
p.s: The spell checker does not have the word 'blogging' in its default dictionary. Now, that's really hilarious.windows+live+writer, microsoft, blog