Microsoft have just launched a new blog editing tool, Windows Live Writer. This is a desktop based tool that allows anyone to post to their blog using a rich GUI driven environment that offers spell checking and easy insertion of pictures and maps.

Once downloaded you insert your user details and Live Writer will then connect to your blog and download categories, check blog type and ensure a  connection can be made. You then choose a title and start blogging. Inserting links and pictures was very easy but the key test will be the markup that is applied to the post on the real site.

One nice feature is that drafts can be saved to your website (unlike Flock) so that editing can take place at a later stage.  Web Preview is also useful as it allows you to see how you post will look once it is uploaded to your site. The tool has full undo and redo and while it is GUI driven there are only options for common tasks like font weight, bulleted and numbered lists, blockquotes, hyperlinks and images.

Multiple categories can be selected as well as options to turn off comments and trackbacks. Spell checking isn’t live and has to be run at the end of you post.

This post was written in Live Writer so the real test will be how this looks on the site. Will it handle the publication of images and also the formatting? If so then this is an OK tool for some quick blogging but no different to whats available in Flock or Performancing. I’m sure it will appeal to some users especially as there is an SDK allowing plugins to be developed for the platform but for me I’ll stick to using the WordPress GUI as I feel more in control, know it works and can apply tags and other features with ease that aren’t supported in Live Writer.

*Update* – posted with no problems. Markup looks a bit ‘iffy’ but images got to the site once I’d setup FTP properly. More difficult to edit as the text is one big blurb rather than a nicely spaced out draft post but I can see this tool becoming quite popular. Ah – just spotted categories didn’t come through properly. Still – it’s only a beta.