One of the reasons I have been putting off blogging is the number of extra steps required to load word press and then write my posts. Lately I also wanted to upload code artifacts and start using more visual content. I found this quite a tedious job with Word Press editor as this involves uploading images, cropping them and inserting them in line with your blog content. Not being too impressed with the in browser experience had to offer, I finally decided to do something about it today, the solution Word 2007.
When the beta came out back in 2006 I played with Publish to Blog functionality within Word 2007 to publish to WSS 3.0 based blogs, but hardly anything after that. To my surprise it’s quite easy to setup Word 2007 to publish content as blog posts with visual content like images to Word Press. Therefore my first post with Word 2007 will discuss just that, publishing Blogs with Word 2007. A quick how to guide followed by a technical synopsis.
Here’s how to setup Microsoft Word 2007 for Easy Blog Publishing:
Inside Word 2007 click on the Office Button and select Publish, one of the options there will be Blog. Click on the Blog Tab.
This switches the word editor in blogger view with its own set of ribbons.
To start publishing you have to Word your blog location and connection details, you do this by clicking the Manage Accounts button on the Blog Post ribbon.
This open up the Blog Accounts dialog, simply click on new button to add information about your blog.
Word 2007 has got basic setup information for most popular blog sites, Word Press is one of them, if one does not exist then there is a option to choose Other. In this case we will select Word Press.
The most important piece of information is your blog address, in this example we use raiumair.wordpress.com followed by the xmlrpc.php page name. You will also need to enter your blog site’s User Name and Password. Click the OK button to complete the process. For word press there is no need to set any extra Picture Options, the default settings work perfectly fine. For other provider you might need to set up a 3rd Party FTP store for images.
If all goes well you will be prompted by a successful account registration prompt. Click Ok to continue to writing the blog post. (This might not work behind certain firewalls or content blockers).
Once happy with the content you can either publish a draft copy or publishing it directly to the blog using the Publish button on the Blog Post ribbon.
The Insert Category and Open Existing are other cool features. Insert category allows tagging the blog post with existing categories (pulled from your blog) or new ones. Open Existing allows editing of published blog posts.
Behind the scenes Word 2007 uses the MetaWeblog API to work with the blog providers like Word Press as in the case above (created by Dave Winer some 5 years back, it is a popular way to interact with blogs, more information here http://xmlrpc.com/metaWeblogApi) . The same MetaWeblog API is also exposed in SharePoint (WSS 3.0 and above) by using a unique Web service implemented in a file called Metaweblog.aspx. Use of the ASP.NET page to work to as a web service allows SharePoint servers to be compatible with various other blogging tools who expect the API to be available through an .ASPX page including Word 2007. I have also used the same technique to generate public site SiteMap.xml definitions for search engines. A live in use example is the Stargate Global Consulting site here: http://www.stargateglobalconsulting.com.au/SiteMapGenerator.aspx
Given the availability of Word 2007 on most desktops and the ease of authoring minus any learning curve surely makes Word 2007 a great option for writing blogs. All in all I found Word 2007 has certainly simplified for me the blog authoring process.