Since April 2019, I have been contributing to the .NET Foundation’s Open Live Writer project. Open Live Writer is a Windows application for editing and publishing rich, HTML blog posts to a variety of blogging services. Open Live Writer was originally in fact a Microsoft product, known as Windows Live Writer before being open-sourced by Microsoft in 2015. Since being open-sourced, it has received a wide array of contributions from over forty contributors; primarily consisting of fixes to maintain the application as the Web and blogging services evolve.

My contributions

My notable contributions to the project include, but are not limited to;

  • Rudimentary static site support, by saving post HTML with YAML front-matter to a local folder, and running external building and publishing commands.
  • New ‘Office 2019’-like splash screen
  • Blogger photos upload fix – as the previously-used Picasa API was deprecated by Google, an alternative had to be found. I initially attempted to use Google Photos, however found that the API did not provide sufficient information for the embedding of images. Google Drive was used instead.
  • Fixed various DPI scaling issues.
  • Fixed an issue with the MSHTML editing component, causing many features such as table manipulation to be broken.

Going forward, I’d like to work to fix the various features of the program which have broken due to their age; video uploading, map embedding are some examples. There are also still some various DPI scaling issues present, particularly with the MSHTML post previewer. Eventually, I’d like to transition the program away from MSHTML and onto a more modern rendering engine. Edge-Chromium, anyone?

Why?

Programming isn’t just a way to make a living for me, but a passion; I have been programming as a hobby for over ten years. I’m constantly seeking new challenges, and ways to further develop my skillset. Before Open Live Writer, I hadn’t contributed to a major open-source project before, and definitely haven’t been considered a maintainer of one. When I decided to take up blogging again, and found out that the venerable Open Live Writer’s Blogger photo support was in fact, broken, I decided something had to be done about it.

The former Windows Live suite also holds nostalgic value to me; I had extensive experience with Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Mail when they were still around, and quite enjoyed those applications’ simplicity and power. They didn’t look half-bad either, in my opinion presenting some of the better Windows application visual styling at the time. Although I seriously used Messenger and Mail in that era, I didn’t really use Writer much; really I didn’t have a whole lot to write about as I was just a kid. I did explore the application though, analysing how it looked and functioned, and thus do have good memory of how the application behaved back in the late 2000s.

I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Jon Galloway, amongst others from the .NET Foundation, for onboarding me onto this project and supporting my work. None of this would have been possible without all the wonderful work the .NET Foundation has done to get this project in the open. Thanks all!

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…and of course I wrote and published this in Open Live Writer