Archive for June, 2011
UPDATE 10 December 2011: SkyDrive has been updated, URLs are again easily accessible. See Sourcing photos from SkyDrive is now easy.
Illustrating blogs with images makes them more interesting and informative and Live Writer makes the process of inserting pictures very easy. You can use photos from your computer and Live Writer takes care of uploading them to your blog file store. Images can also be sourced from other locations on the web. My post “Sourcing blog post images from SkyDrive” explained the process in detail. The recent facelift of SkyDrive introduced changes that necessitates these revised instructions.
The look of the new SkyDrive has been handsomely improved, more of that is covered in my post “The new SkyDrive – Bouquets and Brickbats”. When you display an album the thumbnails are larger and show the image in correct proportions. The next level is similar to the slide show view in the previous version.
There is no additional view, as before, that shows the image in an otherwise empty browser window. That is where one got the image URL in the past.
Sourcing with “Embed” code
REVISED AFTER POST – The “embed” code does not work! It is stripped during publishing.
DO NOT USE THIS METHOD!
Before inserting an image from your SkyDrive, make sure that the album containing the photo is shared publicly. The easiest way to bring a picture from SkyDrive to a blog post is the “embed” method. Note the Sharing group in the information pane to the right of the photo. There is a link “Embed”. Click it to obtain the code. In the next page click in the code box. It will be selected, highlighted, and you can copy it with Ctrl+C to the clipboard. Then, in Windows Live Writer, just place the pointer where you want the image and press Ctrl+V to paste it in. You don’t need to do this in Source view, this works fine in Edit view.
Here is what you get:
It looks like this and there is a hyperlink to the SkyDrive page of this image. It work in Preview, but during publishing the code appears to get stripped.
Nice, quick, you couldn’t ask for more. Or could you? Click on the image and the tools in the Ribbon are greyed out. There is no Picture Tools tab. You cannot change the size, location, nor specify text wrapping. Yes, clever blogging geeks can make changes to the code in Source view, but even that is a rather aggravating. If you can be happy with an illustration as shown here, you can use this method. There is one nice feature: A hyperlink is already present that takes the reader to the full view of the image in SkyDrive, with access to the other pictures in the album (and other public albums and files). If this is not to your liking there is another way.
When this is published all you get is an URL text that may or may not connect to something. So this method does not work! Here in Windows Live Writer is an image that looks right and works in preview, but see what you really get in the actual published post:
Sourcing the image directly
To get control over the image size and placement you can get the address to the image – sort of. In the full view SkyDrive, right-click the image. You may see Copy image location, or Copy image URL, or Copy image address. Some browser do not offer the image address (URL) directly, including Internet Explorer, but you can get it by clicking Properties at the bottom of the menu and then copying it from the properties listing. This address can be used in the Live Writer Insert Picture dialog. Click Picture in the Insert group of the Ribbon, then click From the web… In the next dialog paste (Ctrl+V) the address of the image. A preview of the image will be shown. If you don’t get the preview, you did not get the address correctly.
Click Insert and the picture will be inserted full size into your post. It likely will spill over beyond the post margin. Click on the picture to select it, the Picture Tools tab will be displayed. Click Lock aspect ratio, then select a size, Small, Medium or Large. You can manually set the size, of course. You can set the alignment and margins around the picture and a simple frame, or none, as is usual with web-sourced images. Do not attach a hyperlink to the address you used for the picture. It will not work. You cannot show the image full-size in a browser window. You can get the address of the image in SkyDrive from the browser address bar. This will give your reader access to that image in your SkyDrive and all other public material.
If you do not wish your reader to have access to your SkyDrive album (and more), simply set the link setting in Picture Tools – Properties to No link.
Sadly, the self-running slide show feature is no longer available in SkyDrive. Let’s hope that this is just a temporary shortcoming.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck
Static pages can be quite useful beyond the “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages that are so common. This blog has a “Resources” page and there are many ways to enhance a blog with pages. Creating in page in Windows Live Writer is just as easy as preparing a blog post – if your blog is hosted by WordPress. Just click the File tab, move the pointer down to New post and over to the right to Page page. Hovering on New page brings up the screen tip balloon. It show the keystroke for initiating a new page, Ctrl+G, and also a disclaimer: “Not supported by all blog service providers”.
For a WordPress blog page, just create the page as easily you would a regular post, then publish it as you would a post. You may want to arrange the menu location in your WordPress Dashboard. That’s all there is to it.
If your blog service provider does not support creating a page in Live Writer you can still use it for the detail work. Blogger is one of the services that does not support creating a page in Live Writer. To get a page started, proceed as follows:
In your Blogger Dashboard click the Posting tab, then Edit Pages. Click the NEW PAGE button. Give the page a title, then click SAVED to save the page as a draft. The actual page composition can now be done in Live Writer. Instead of creating a page as you would for a WordPress blog, just prepare a post draft with all the information you want on the page. When the page is done, copy the HTML source code and paste it into the Blogger editor – I will come to the details shortly.
There is one very important “gotcha”: Any images must be sourced “From the web…”. The reason is, Live Writer will not be used to publish the page and so it can’t upload your images. Upload the images manually. I like to upload images to my SkyDrive and source them from there. Since SkyDrive provides a generous amount of storage this is an efficient place even though getting the image URL is a bit of a hassle. See my post “Sourcing content for your WordPress gallery page” for the details of getting the image URL for a picture on your SkyDrive.
When you have finished the page in Live Writer, click on the Source tab in the lower left of the window. In the source window, select all the code, use Ctrl+A. Then copy the code onto the clipboard with Ctrl+C. Now go back to your Blogger Dashboard and edit your page draft. Be sure the Edit HTLM tab is selected. Just paste the code from Live Writer into the main window, use Ctrl+V. You can inspect the looks of the page with the Compose tab. Then publish it with PUBLISH PAGE.
These steps don’t really add any extra work as you would have had to do most of the steps anyway if you used the Blogger online editor. Using Live Writer makes the preparation of a page as easy as preparing a post, the publishing steps are not much of a chore.
Of course, you can keep the draft copy of the page so you can come back in the future to add to it or modify it.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck
This is a post to establish ownership for Technorati.
One of the pleasant things about blogging is that it provides a way for finding new readers and friends. This, like many other blogs, is aimed at a specific audience, but there may be many other folks who are looking for information on this topic. The topic of this blog is using Windows Live Writer for preparing blog posts. It is intended for beginning bloggers.
One way of helping others is to provide references and links to blogs covering similar topics. Technorati is a quick way to connect with others. Just click on one of the terms below and Technorati will show other blogs covering this topic.
This specific post includes a code to help Technorati verify the ownership. If you would like to learn more about Technorati and their services, click on the first term below.
This post was first published over at Ask Ludwig, but it fits the topic and is still current so I am reposting it here.
Windows Live Writer is an amazingly powerful, yet simple to use tool for preparing blog posts. If you are not using it, you should! Get it here: explore.live.com/windows-live-writer.
To connect Writer to your WordPress blog (other blogs connect just as simple) proceed as follows:
At first time use, Writer walks the user through the setup procedure.
The next dialog ask about what service you are using.
In this case click WordPress. If you are using another service, this is where to make the selection.
For the web address enter the name of your blog followed by the blog service address, like this:
The dialog will add the http:// prefix, you need not worry about it.
Writer will set up the blog and download the template, “theme”, information from your blog.
This is how Writer will then use the layout, color scheme, fonts, etc. to be able to make writing posts a simple wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) process.
There is an option to “Share my blog on Windows Live”. Click this to make this connection.
Your browser will open. You will need to sign in to your Windows Live service.
Another windows ask for confirmation to connect WordPress to Windows Live.
Click the Connect button or Cancel should you wish to skip this feature.
You can then close the browser and continue in Writer.
Writer opens with the theme loaded. Here is an illustration of such an initial window:
Note the window color, font, headers, etc. all there just as you have defined them by the theme you set up.
All you need to do now is enter a post title, the actual post text and click Publish (on the Home tab) to get the post on your blog. It really is that simple.
Note: If you want to configure an additional blog or skipped the initial configuring, click File (the button in upper left), then Options, then Accounts. There is an Add button, click that and it takes you to the “What blog service…” dialog as illustrated above.
Notice the Blog Account tab on the Windows Live Writer Ribbon. Click that and you have access to your blog and your blog account. Click Dashboard and your browser opens and takes you right to your WordPress dashboard (you may have to sign in, set the “remember me” options to get right in on future visits).
Note: If you are using another blog service, these option may be different or some may be missing.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck