Archive for February, 2007

Live Spaces Photo Album Browser

I had an idea for a new plugin for Live Writer, and that was basically a Live Spaces Photo Album Browser Plugin. What this would be is a plugin that will allow you to browse a Live Space’s photo album and insert a picture from that album. Now, something that I’ve started to do with my plugins when writing them is I will actually start off by writing a prototype application, a standalone program that will perform the functionality of the plugin (without the insert part), this allows me to more easily run and debug the plugin’s internal code before trying it with a plugin.

Now, this prototype is actually quite cool, so I’m going to actually release this as a little program for you all to just play with . I will most probably start making the plugin (and yes, improving the UI ) over the weekend and next week, and I am probably going to try and develop further with the prototype program, specifically, I’m going to try and develop it further using WPF and make it look all snazzy .

In the meantime, you can download the program and have a play with it in its current state. And for those of you who are really interested, for the first time, I’m going to do this program, and plugin, under opensource, so if you want to see the code behind it all (and there isn’t really that much to be honest), go to Thoughts on this should be left as comments, or emailed to me at the usual address, wlm[at] Just as a note, anyone using Windows Live One Care, when you first run the program, you will get an error, and then a firewall popup asking if you want to block or unblock the program. Just press unblock, and try it again.

Oh, just for information, I have stopped taking on new people as beta testers for the video plugin.



Live Writer Sidebar Gadget Updated

Ok, first off, thanks to those of you who have downloaded the Sidebar gadget and given me feedback. I would like to now announce an update to the gadget based on feedback I have received. The new version is still considered beta, and still has the same GUI for it (still open to offers on that one).

So what’s changed? Well, you can now have a smaller gadget so that it doesn’t take as much room up on the sidebar. It’s now also small enough that you could have it undocked and always on top without it being obstructive. The smaller gadget (at the moment) follows the same sort of GUI as its bigger brother:

What other options are there? Well, up until now, clicking on the options button would open the options at the plugins pane, this is still the default action, but can now be changed in the settings of the Gadget:

As before, please email any feedback (or offers to help improve the GUI) to wlm[at]

The download for it is the same place as before on Windows Live Gallery which you can find here (version



Beta Testers Required

As you may or may not know, I have a video plugin for Windows Live Writer which will allow you to insert a video from sites such as MSN Soapbox and Youtube into your blog entries. This week I have decided to do a full rewrite of the plugin, literally starting from scratch, loading up my Live Writer Plugin template and writing a brand new video plugin. with improved performance, a new interface, new site support, and biggest of all, the ability to resize your videos on the fly.

Version 3 is almost complete now, but I need some real users to try the plugin out and give me their feedback. So if you often post videos on your blog, then please email me at wlm[at] and let me know of your interest.

Anyway, I shall leave you with a screenshot of the new GUI



Windows Live Writer Sidebar Gadget (Public Beta) And More

As the title to this suggests, this blog post is about a new gadget that I have written for the Windows Vista Sidebar that makes use of Windows Live Writer. So what does this gadget allow you to do? Well first off, I’ll show you a screenshot of it and then go through that explaining what each part is:

(v0.5.0.2 Beta)

Ok, so it’s all pretty self explanatory really, you click on New and it opens Live Writer with a new blog entry screen (it will use whichever blog was last used if you use multiple blogs), this isn’t actually something I can control unfortunately, so you can’t straight off choose which blog to use. Next we have Open, so you click on that and it opens the open blog post window, you select your blog entry, and Writer will open that blog entry. And finally, Options. This will open the options and defaults to the plugins section. I can change this if people want, depending on feedback that I get.

Ok, so that’s the obvious parts of the gadget done with, what else is there? Well, you can now drag and drop into the gadget itself. Let me give you an example: Say you have a picture on your computer that you would like to blog about, well now you just drag that picture file onto the gadget, and it will open up a new blog entry in Live Writer and preloads the picture into your blog entry. And it’s not just pictures, you can also drag a website’s URL from Internet Explorer (or Firefox) and it will create the blog entry with that information in it too; you can also drag an image URL, too, and it will put the image in (rather than the link as the normal URL part does).

So that’s the Live Writer Gadget, and for the first time, I’m not offering it as a straight download from my web domain like I normally do, it is only available from the Windows Live Gallery, so go give it a try and download it today . I’m open to all feedback on this, as well as any offers for helping with the GUI  so if you need to get hold of me for feedback etc, then just email me at wlm[at]

Ok, next I have another slight update to the Video plugin for Live Writer and is going to be the first of a series of extra options that I’m going to be rolling out for it. As you know, I recently changed the video plugin to include a drop down option so that you can choose how you want to embed the video into your blog entry, well, that option has now found itself in the sidebar of Live Writer, too.

So once you have made your selection and have the video in your blog entry, if you want to change it, you can do so now without deleting it and doing it again. 

Now here’s the really cool thing, if you use my gadget and my video plugin, you can have seamless interaction. Say you’re on YouTube and you have a video you want to blog about, you can drag the link for it into the Sidebar gadget which will load Live Writer up, my video plugin will then kick in and pick up that video url and automatically insert the video into the blog entry, rather than just a link. The only issue with this feature is that the default setting for pasting a link in is to put the full embed code in, and when this is done via a Blog This application (whether the sidebar gadget, or Blog This for IE/Firefox) then the sidebar in Live Writer becomes useless and changing the option for the video doesn’t actually do anything. I don’t believe this is a fault with the plugin but I’m working with the Live Writer team to verify where the problem lies.

Anyway, the new version of the plugin (v2.1.2.3) can be downloaded at the usual place here.



Update To Video Plugin

As you may recall, I mentioned that Windows Live Spaces now allows you to embed videos into your blog entries and you’ll also recall that I said my video plugin doesn’t embed them into Live Spaces still. Well, I have no built a work around for that by adding in an option to explicitly choose whether you want the video embedded or not. So the plugin now looks like this:

I’ll quickly run through the options that you now have in the plugin:

Embed Full Video

This option means that you will get the full embed code put into your blog entry and the reader can watch the video in your blog. Do remember that if your blog doesn’t support embedded code, this option will post an empty space where the video once was.

Picture + Link

This will behave in the same way as if you were posting to Live Spaces (as an example) before the change. The plugin will take a screen capture of the video player and video, and put that image on the blog with that image linked to the original video page.

Plugin Decides

This means the plugin will put the code in so that if your blog supports embedding it will have the embed code, if embedding isn’t supported, then you will get an image as described above.

The latter option of letting the plugin decide is my recommended choice, but only if you’re not using Live Spaces as your blog service. If you have been using the feature of pasting the video link straight into the blog entry and having it get the information and images for you, then the default behaviour for this is the same as choosing the "Plugin Decides" option. I am working on something that will allow this to be customised, look out for a future update.

I have also added support for videos. So the list of supported video sites is now:

  1. MSN Soapbox
  2. YouTube
  3. Google Video
  4. MySpace Video
  5. Yahoo! Video
  6. MuveeMix

So I guess you’ll be wanting the download link for the new plugin. It’s below

Download: here.