Live Writer & Microformats: An Incomplete Story

Jon Udell’s latest Screening Room is about Windows Live Writer, Microsoft’s quite-nice blogging client. However, the discussion of microformats glosses over a significant limitation in the current version of Live Writer, which is that addin content is atomic. For instance, I secured the domain name distributedreviews.com (it’s just parked right now) with the idea of being a site based on the hReview microformat. The idea was to:

  1. Spider the Web for hReview-tagged content, and
  2. A pingback site for hReviews

So, I wrote a plugin for Live Writer that creates an hReview-formatted post and pings back to hReview aggregating sites (like distributedreviews.com). But the problem — a big problem — is that the editing of the content must be done entirely within the add-in, not within Live Writer’s editing box. So the only way to edit the content of a plugin is within the taskpane on the right:

For my purposes, I consider this a nonstarter: no one’s going to write a review without marking it up and having undo and redo and all those good things.

So, that’s a limitation in Live Writer right now.


Now, the other thought would be to create a template for a format: <div class=”hreview”><h1 class=”summary”>What are you reviewing?</h1>…etc… and then writing a post-editing proxy that looked for that format and did the pingback to the aggregating server. The proxy is possible, but it’s kind of ugly and far more intrusive on a user’s system than I think appropriate for the scope of the projecct (especially with Vista’s security model).

Ideally, the Live Writer would simply evolve. Even if it was nothing but exposing events for BlogpostInitializing and BlogpostPosting .


 As for spidering the Web for existing hReviews, the hope is that Amazon’s Alexa Web Crawl will be my solution. Something I’ll look into in my copious spare time…


Phase three: Profit!

Search hReviews…Sign in to manage your affiliate codes…Cryptographically-signed hReviews & affiliates fees… Bucket-brigade affiliation payouts …