Using Open Live Writer

For this blog I’ve started using Open Live Writer as my blogging tool. It’s been brought back to life by a team of volunteers who have obtained sourcecode for the old Windows Live Writer tool that has been discontinued.

One of the things I’ve been keen to do is make sure I have a way to format my PowerShell scripts, as it’s my preferred way of automating what I do in Azure.

Open Live Writer doesn’t yet have plugin support, but searching around I found a plugin written by a developer named Richard Hewlett. It needs to be manually updated, and thanks to numerous PC changes I seem to have been through the process three or four times now without ever getting a blog posted. After continually referring to Benjamin Perkins’ steps to make this work, I’ve decided in the spirit of what I’m trying to achieve I should write a script that will automate the process.

First step is to download the file. It’s coming directly from the download area of Rich’s blog, so I’ve hard-coded the URL in. It’s at the top, so easy enough to change if/when the file is updated. The file comes down to the directory the script is run from, so the assumption is the credential it runs under has permission to write there.

Next up the destination directory for the plugins is created under the application folder. To attempt to future-proof the script I haven’t added the application version number, I’ve set it to iterate through folders that have “app-“ as the prefix. It’s not foolproof, but might keep the script working if the app team doesn’t change the folder structure.

The downloaded .zip file is then decompressed to the newly created plugin directory, which is made simple with the Expand-Archive cmdlet.

Finally there’s an xml file that needs a new element added. OpenLiveWriter.exe.config is in the main application directory, and needs the element loadFromRemoteSources added to runtime.

Put together, here’s the script, and it was used to setup Open Live Writer on my new machine to write this post!


#download zip file for syntax highlighting
$url = "" 
$path = (Get-Item -Path ".\" -Verbose).FullName + "\"

Write-Host "Downloading [$url]`nSaving at [$path]" 
$client = new-object System.Net.WebClient 
$client.DownloadFile($url, $path ) 
#create destination directory
$LocalAppDir = [Environment]::GetFolderPath("LocalApplicationData")
$OpenliveWriterDir = $LocalAppDir + "\OpenLiveWriter"

#just in case there are multiple versions installed, or there's an upgrade, enumerate the application binary folders
$appDirectories = Get-ChildItem $OpenliveWriterDir | Where-Object {$_ -like "app-*"};

foreach ($appDirectory in $appDirectories) {

    #Create destination directory
    $targetDir = $appDirectory.FullName + "\Plugins"
    if(!(Test-Path -Path $targetDir )){
        Write-Host "Creating path $targetDir"
        New-Item -ItemType directory -Path $targetDir

    #decompress file into target directory
    Write-Host "Expanding $path to $targetDir"
    Expand-Archive $path -DestinationPath $targetDir

    #update config file
    $configFileName = $appDirectory.FullName + "\OpenLiveWriter.exe.config"
    [xml] $xml = gc $configFileName

    #create the new element
    $newitem = $xml.CreateElement("loadFromRemoteSources")

    #if it doesn't already exist in the file, add it and save
    if (!$xml.SelectSingleNode("//loadFromRemoteSources")) {

Blog posting done, and my next imminent rebuild streamlined. At least a little.