Using Live Writer on Multiple Computers

I’ve really come to like Live Writer for writing blog posts since I started using it a few months ago.  I’ve been especially happy since upgrading to the beta release of Live Writer 2011.  Not only does Live Writer support a much larger set of formatting capabilities than the WordPress editor but it also allows editing posts using the blog’s theme giving a fairly accurate preview when composing new posts.  I have a few minor gripes about how it handles adding categories and the limited selection of HTML styles but so far it’s my favorite blog editor.

The real problem I have is that I have a tendency to jump between three computers.  I have a personal laptop I travel with and use for some development work and light photo processing.  I have a desktop PC I use for development, gaming, heavier photo processing, and some video processing.  Finally, I have a work laptop that I use for well, work.  There are plenty of times that I start a post on one computer and would like to continue it on another.

Ideally Live Writer would make better use of the blog system for saving and retrieving drafts and provide an option for working offline but instead it stores everything locally.  There is a “Post draft to blog” option and Live Writer can pull down the drafts from the blog but saving it as a draft again creates a new post rather than replacing the earlier one.  Using this technique for switching computers really just creates more work.  I don’t want to jump through hoops to write a blog post, I just want to write.

Luckily there’s a workaround.  Live Writer stores its post data in %userprofile%\My Documents\My Weblog Posts.  I decided to use another tool from Live EssentialsLive Sync (or Live Mesh, or whatever it’s called this week) to synchronize this folder across each of my computers.  Once I included the folder in Live Sync and selected the target devices I was able to switch to a different computer and pick up right where I left off.

I used Live Sync because I already had it installed and configured but I’m sure other synchronization packages would work equally well.  Hopefully a future release of Live Writer will eliminate the need for manual synchronization but for now this seems to be a workable solution.