Stupid Shiny Ribbon in Windows Live Writer 2011

Stupid Shiny Ribbon in Windows Live Writer 2011

It Started With Zemanta

It all started when I noticed the Zemanta Windows Live Writer Plugin had an update, so I went to the page for the update. I love Zemanta. Great tool. I have the extension installed on Chrome too. It lets me be lazy, suggests pictures, tags and links and I don’t have to think. But I saw this:


And had to get it. If you use Windows Live Writer also, you’ll notice the difference also. I had to have the ribbon. I am writing software in .NET now and am using a ribbon because it is such a useful feature. And for those of you who don’t know what the ribbon is. it’s that wide bar across the top that replaces the normal file menu where you have to open a dropdown first to see what’s there. With the ribbon, you just have access to much more features at once and big old buttons and icons for quicker recognition.

And I thought I could get this version just by checking for updates on my current live writer installation. Nope. So I downloaded the beta version and ran it. It balked and said I already had a version of Live installed. So I uninstalled that and starting installing the new version. And the installation now comes with even more live tools, which I did not want. So after unchecking about 10 things, leaving just Live Writer, the Photo Editor(because sometimes I hate waiting on Photoshop to load) and the new Sync(because I hope to get a new laptop soon now that there are some that beat mine out there finally and I want to keep my stuff), the installation looked like it was chugging along.

NO, Stupid Windows Live I Do Have Internet Connection

But I get bored easily waiting on things like this. So off I go browsing this and that and submitting links here and there and finally running about 4 other programs, I lost my wireless connection. An issue I am used to but never tracked down. The only thing that ever seemed to fix it is a reboot. The Live installer told me I lost connection. So just to be sure, I checked if I could search Google. And Live Writer was wrong. It was in the middle of the Sync installation.

So I let it try again and it started off again. But a few minutes later, it said it lost connection again. So I would try with a reboot and then just let it do it’s thing and not run anything at the same time while I catch up on some reading on the Nook.

After about 10 minutes of preparing the installation, I got this again:

And kept posting updates at Twitpic.

  • I found out that everything somehow got halfway installed and the Live Writer icon was there, so I clicked it. Fail. Got an error message.
  • So I uninstalled all of the new beta Live Components. And ran the installer again, same message.
  • So I turned Windows Firewall off and back on, ran Glary Utilities registry cleaner as well as hunting down the registry values manually.
  • And for good measure I used both Windows and Glary Utilities to clean up all the temporary files because Glary finds a lot more.
  • So I then rebooted and tried to run the installation again. Same error.

Looking At An Alternative – Zoundry Raven

This is a couple hours of work here. Good thing I am now on meds for anxiety, because I would have been about ready to kill my computer by now or at least kick a random cat or two. But I always hedge my bets and as I said before, getting really bored watching progress bars that never seem to move or have an end.

So while all this was going on I went through a few other free desktop blogging programs. I browsed 6 to 8 and installed a couple. Finally decided that plan B would be Zoundry Raven because who knew if the whole thing was effed now and what if I couldn’t even roll back.

Zoundry Raven Screenshot

I like the features of Zoundry Raven but one stood out that originally drew me to Wordpress and then to Live Writer: extensibility. What that means is any developer who wants to can add features to the software through a simple plugin process, not that the Raven plugin community is very active now. But if I had to, I guess I could write some plugins with xml and Python. Another great feature made me install Raven twice. You can also install a portable version on a thumb drive.

Back to Where I Began

But reinstalling the current version of Windows Live Writer worked, so while I was at it, I installed a few more plugins. Including one that allows me to hook into Flickr to upload some of these images and one that hooked into SnagIt so I could take the screenshot of Zoundry up there.

So I guess there is no moral or point to this whole story. I do use the backend of Wordpress at times. But when I put real work into a post, I hate that once in a million time when you lose internet connection or your Wordpress site lags and 500 words go down the drain.

There might be one lesson though. Open source, extensibility, and API’s kick ass. You want features, you just hunt them down at the Wordpress Codex or Windows Live Gallery and add them for free for the software you got free in the first place. That beats packaged software with “features” any day. And why three hours later, I am not really bitching. Just waiting for that official update, in anticipation.

And another, I am really attracted to shiny objects I guess, much like raccoons. To find the ribbon component I am adding to my own software, I searched and tested for three hours or more. Stupid shiny things.


I finally got Windows Live Writer 2011, shiny ribbon and all, installed, with a tweet from Scott Lovegrove, otherwise known as ScottIsAFool. It turns out you can skip the web installation and get the full installation file for Windows Live here and skip the whole stupid web install.

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Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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