I use Windows Live Writer (WLW) to compose my blog posts and quite frankly, it is the main reason I write such detailed articles. It connects directly to my WordPress-based blog and uploads posts, along with their associated images, with a single button-click.
One of the things that I like about the combined WLW/WordPress is the ability to publish articles in the future.
A bit of background
One of the interesting things about this blog is that most of my readers visit during the work week, as you can see from this graph:
Given that set of circumstances, I decided to not publish blog articles on the weekends, unless something extraordinary occurred. I also try to only post one article per day, if I can help it.
So my usual practice is to make note of article ideas then take some time out of one of my days to create several articles an set their publish date to sometime in the future.
Future publishing is all well and good, but it sometimes becomes hard to track what days I already have articles scheduled.
I have to open up the blog, go to the Posts section of the administrative interface, and review what is publishing when.
There had to be a better solution that didnâ€™t require any manual labor. That solution, it turns out, was to create a Windows Live Writer plugin that would create a calendar appointment whenever I published an article for future release.
Let us walk through the solution, step by step.
Step 1: Configuring Outlook
The first thing you need to do is create a custom category for your blog.
1) Open your calendar.
2) Click the Categorize button
3) Select All Categories.
This will display the Color Categories dialog:
4) Create a new category by clicking the New button.
5) Enter the name of the Category and choose a color:
The Category Name needs to be the exact name of your blog, as defined within WLW.
6) Click OK twice, to save the new category.
Note: if you look at my categories, you will notice that I have one category for each of the blogs that I own. This allows me to differentiate the blog posts by color and name. ( Iâ€™ll show you how later ).
Step 2: Install the Windows Live Writer plugin
You must have Windows Live Writer 2011 and Microsoft Outlook installed on the same machine for this process to work correctly.
I am using Outlook 2010, but I think it will work equally as well with Outlook 2007. But, I have no way to test it, so if it doesnâ€™t work, then please let me know.
To help me with this process, I have created a WLW plugin, that will automatically create a calendar appointment.
1) Download and unzip the Create Calendar Item plugin.
2) Exit WLW if you have it running.
3) Assuming a default installation location, place the plugin WLWCreateCalendarItemPlugin.dll into the following folder:
C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Writer\Plugins
4) Start WLW.
5) Click the Blog Account tab.
6) Click the Blog options button
7) Click Plug-ins to display the list of plugins:
8) Make sure the checkbox beside Add to Outlook Calendar is checked.
9) Click OK.
Verify your work
1) Create a blog post, then set the post date and time. If youâ€™ve never noticed, it is the dropdown in the upper-right corner of the editing window:
2) Publish your post.
Note: A calendar appointment will not be created if the article is being published on the date it was written.
3) After the post has been published, open your Outlook calendar and navigate to the date you specified in step 1. You should see an appointment that looks like this:
4) Open the appointment that was created and you should see something like this:
The appointment has the following characteristics:
- The category is listed at the top of the appointment showing both the category color and name. The name is, of course, the name of your blog.
- The subject is the blog article title
- The appointment is an all-day event
- The time of the appointment is shown as Free. This denotes a reminder more than something to do.
I think this small addition to WLW will make my blogging life much easier â€“ especially since I now have several blogs to maintain.
If you end up installing and using it, please let me know your experiences.
While I will probably write another blog article on how I created the WLW plugin, my wife thinks I should sell the source code for $20. Iâ€™m still debating that one.