Windows Live Writer Beta – Workarounds


Microsoft has released an excellent blog editor called the Windows Live Writer. It’s still in beta. Get it here: Windows Live Writer Beta. I’m trying it out now and so far, I think it’s cool!

When I upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007, I saw that Word 2007 supports publishing to blogs. It was a bit of a hassle to configure at first but wasn’t so bad. I did not expect Word 2007 to produce good HTML for the blog, given past record of Word-generated HTML. I was mildly surprised, actually. I really like the graphic tools – saved me lots of time from the photo editor (I was using Paint.Net and sometimes, Gimp). I also like that it uploads all the images unlike when using the WordPress editor where it’s a bit of a hassle to insert pictures.

After reading an article in the newspaper, I tried the Flock browser. It’s cool, especially the "Blog This" function. However, I have some issues with the limited features of the editor. So, I turned back to Word 2007 or just use the online WordPress editor.

Then today, I get an email from Microsoft about this wonderful tool and decided to try it out. It’s a small download (5.4MB) and quite easy to install. However, it didn’t work right away with my WordPress server. It’s a beta, so that’s expected.

When I try to connect, it says: 403 (Forbidden). I was confused and login to the web server to check what’s wrong especially with the user access. The xmlrpc.php file got proper user access So, I updated WordPress to version 2.2 thinking that maybe that’s the problem. But I still get the error. It turns out that Windows Live Writer (WLW) claims it is Internet Explorer but does not send the ‘Accept’ header. I have the Bad Behavior plug-in in WordPress and it doesn’t like anything that claims to be IE but does not send the header. I found a solution from James McKay here: http://www.jamesmckay.net/2007/06/bad-behavior-does-not-like-windows-live-writer.

After I put the solution, I still cannot connect. Now WLW give this error:  Invalid Server Response – The response to the blogger.getUsersBlog method received from the weblog server was invalid. Invalid response document returned from XmlRpc server. What? I was confused. I saw somewhere that it could be due to a PHP bug and the solution is to add $HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA = file_get_contents('php://input'); to the top of xmlrpc.php. But I saw in my xmlrpc.php that there’s already some code to handle that bug. I added it anyway but I still have the problem.

So I try visiting this blog and saw some error message from Bad behavior. It seems that in my haste, I wrongly copied James McKay’s solution and now Bad Behavior was behaving badly :) . After I recopied the solution, it works and here I am typing away happily in WLW!

I think this tool is cool! I’ll write more about it later… Coming soon!

You can see more about the problems WLW have with WordPress here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Windows_Live_Writer_Help.

Edit: When trying to add another blog to Windows Live Writer, I had the "403 Forbidden" problem. However, I don’t have the Bad Behavior plugin for that blog. So, as a note to myself, make sure there’s a ".htaccess" file in the folder where "xmlrpc.php" is to allow Windows Live Writer to connect. The content of ".htaccess" should have: <Files xmlrpc.php>SecFilterInheritance Off</Files>.

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Reader Comments

There are still a lot of things you can do with Paint.net and that you cannot do with Word…

Yes. I love Paint.net! I think it’s the coolest freeware photo editing application and I use it all the time. Still, when it’s just about resizing and adding some borders to the photo, WLW saves me the hassle.
Anyway, I’ve just got my own notebook now so I’m going Linux. I’ve been on Linux since Caldera 1.0 and RedHat 4.0 but can’t put it on office PC (except in a VM). I’d miss Paint.net but Gimp is rather powerful (if a bit ‘different’). See my later posts on linux for my experience installing several distros.