4 07 2013
My first attempt to blog on Surface RT
One question I had after buying Surface RT was: what about offline blogging? There’s no Live Writer and I have no information about the future of Live Writer. Suddenly I got an idea – but why not to try out Word – the most awful blogging tool I have ever seen. Maybe there have been some progress nd I have right tool here in my machine. So I tried Word and I got massive surprise.
This blog post is almost fully written on Surface RT. The only exceptions are last chapter and conclusion as there was no way to make this post to match the standards I have for this blog. I still modified this post only from few aspects and left it in big part as it came from Word. Some paragraphs in this post are written when waiting for coffee or when going to meetings with public transportation.
Managing blog posts
Maybe the first quetion that old good Live Writer gangstas have is how to keep drafts and how to manage them. Two options:
- Connected – save drafts directly to your blog and open them directly from blog.
- Disonnected – save drafts locally or to SkyDrive.
I prefer to keep drafts on local machine and if I need to access these from other machines I will publish them to blog. Yor choice will probably depend on situation. Sometimes you have web connection available only for some busy hours per day and then you just publish what is ready enough.
Typing on screen is not quick and easy if it is new to you. You get used quickly and you get even used with problem that Word may skip letters when you type. Not sure what problem it is but as I type slowly and read my sentences carefully it’s not problem for me.
Additional keyboard that you can buy separately my be great help for you. Although it’s small it is still more familar than on-screen keyboard and probably you are faster on it when writing. Of course, I suggest you to try two-hand typing on on-screen keyboard too. You may also be very fast on it.
Word on Surface RT supports all most important text formattng options you may need. There’s more than you need for regular blogging, just try out what you can do and how things look when uploaded to blog. There may be unexpected suprises.
User interface of Word is familar from desktop version. New thing for many users is the fact that by default ribbon is minimized. Here it is only good because you are working on small screen.
Screenshot above gives you some idea about how Word looks on Surface RT.
One thing that is a little bit uncovenient is that Word and also other Office programs on Windows RT are not optimized for touch. Yes, they are touch-friendly but not optimized for touch. After some intensive using of these programs you get used with it.
Publishing is easy. It works same way as on desktop Word. Select share from file menu, register your blog and click publish. Nice thing is that publishing to WordPress based blogs also works normally. Categories and draft publishing are also supported.
Blog posting mode
When you go to blogging mode in Word you will see way less tabs on ribbon. The most important tools are available and also image handling changes. There are some impotant things missing or I am not able to find them:
- Alt tags for images
- Post meta info like publishing date, slug and excerpt
- No way how to break blog post two to parts
- Image width and height are shown in centimeters and not in pixels
Still these features seem to be the ones that experienced bloggers may ask.
Problems with generated HTML
I published this post as draft to my blog and opened it with Live Writer to make some fixes and solve HTML related problems:
- Page break is not handled as post break although WordPress supports it.
- There is extra new line after titles and list items.
- Images are not links to originals.
It’s interesting that blog design is able to hide this problems. Of course, image problems cannot be hidden and I found no better way than working with images only on Live Writer to make sure tha big screenshots are shown correctly.
As a blogger you can do very much on Surface RT and if you don’t need anything complex you can go with Word. It is recommended to check out your first posts on blog engine before you publish them because this way you find formatting issues that Word may produce. Although there are a lot of small bugs and missing features in Word you can still do basic blogging on it. It’s good enough for simple things and if you need more complex stuff like resized and linked images then you can work on these things with Live Writer. I hope next version of Word makes blogging on Surface RT better and brings Word one step closer to be replacement for Live Writer.