Windows Live Writer can upload pictures using the upload features of some blog-publishing services. It will do that with Blogspot and Windows Live Spaces, for example.
If you are hosting your own blogging engine, such as Movable Type, or have your own web site where you want blog posts and the images they use stored together, there is an option to upload images via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This does not require any cooperation of the blog-publishing engine. Windows Live Writer posts the images independently, incorporating them in the post that is then submitted to the blog engine.
Another way to incorporate images into blog posts is to have them somewhere else on the Internet. I often have photos and images on Flickr that I then include in blog posts. I use this method occasionally, but not for images such as screen captures that are meaningful only in conjunction with a blog post. Even when there is a Flickr version, I may want to resize and crop differently for the blog version.
Aside from using photos that are already on Flickr, FTP is my chosen method for all blogs that are published on nfoCentrale sites. I did this when I used Windows Live Writer with Blogger to publish to nfoCentrale sites (also via FTP), and I am creating the same procedure for using Windows Live Writer with Movable Type.
Configuration of Windows Live Writer for FTP transfer of images to a web site is in four steps:
- Connecting Windows Live Writer and the Blog. The blog must already be set up and Windows Live Writer configured to post to it. If Live Writer can’t log into the blog-publishing engine for your blog, it can’t be configured to upload images. This step can be performed any time prior to step (4).
This part of the setup depends on the blog-publishing engine and how accounts for automated publishing through it are managed. I use a Movable Type configuration on an Apache-based hosting-service account. The user identification and password that Windows Live Writer uses to deliver posts is determined by that configuration and custom setting under my control.
- Preparing a Place for the Images. A web-server location for the images must already be created for use. This can be accomplished by using web-development software that publishes to a web site. It can also be done using FTP access to the full web-server account and creating the necessary directories and any initial content. The result will be a structure such as the one for nfoCentrale Status images described in Part I.
If the site is already published via FTP, then providing additional FTP accounts for delegating limited access to Windows Live Writer may be relatively straightforward. I use a combination of Microsoft FrontPage, Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), Visual SourceSafe, and FTP as part of a web-site development workflow. While that’s more involved than many prefer, it also provides a backup and a restoration/migration mechanism for my web sites and the blogs that are part of them.
- Creating a LImited FTP Account. It is desirable to create a limited FTP account that can only be used to upload to the images location in step (2). While there is little risk that the account credentials can be stolen and abused, I find it to be a consistent practice to create separate, limited FTP accounts that are easy to cancel or to change the password of without disrupting anything else. This stage is illustrated in Part II.
In my case, I also use computer-generated passwords that are definitely not memorable. I remember these passwords in a digital safe on my computer. This helps me to avoid using the same password in more than one place while also making it difficult to attack the password. This, combined with the limitations on the FTP account limit the damage that can result from a successful exploit against the limited FTP account. Along with the backup procedures that are kept in place, recovery from an exploit or other damage is also relatively straightforward.
- Configuring Live Writer for Photo Upload. The final stage.
Open Windows Live Writer and select Tools | Options | Accounts. The account should already be set up for publishing to the blog without accompanying images. (At this point, only images that are elsewhere on the web can be posted.)
On the dialog for editing the Blog Settings, select the Pictures option, select “Upload pictures to an FTP server:” and then click “Configure FTP …”:
To configure FTP, I use the settings obtained when I created the FTP account. I recover the password from its location in my password-safe software.
This password is delivered to Windows Live Writer and I allow it to remember the account log-in for automatic use from my blog-authoring computer(s).
An interesting feature of Windows Live Writer is its provision for browsing to the FTP account. This confirms that access works and it reveals what the access reaches. Take that opportunity:
The option to Browse For Folder shows the achievement of access and the structure that is available at that point. We are (we trust) looking at the place on the web server that corresponds to http://nfoCentrale.com/status/images and that is where we want Windows Live Writer to place the images it uploads:
Technically, the FTP account that I supplied has a base address at the server location publish_html/status/images/ and when we view the server via that account, all we can see is what is under that location. Even that location is relative to my server-account location /home/orcmid/ but that is not part of the material displayed by the web server as http://nfoCentrale.com/ (although I can access it as part of working directly with software on the hosted account via logging into the Linux server through a remote console).
FTP Browse allows creation of subfolders. I chose not to do that at this time. My experience is that unless there is something already there, Windows Live Writer has difficulty confirming the setup. I have already created an index.htm file in the images/ folder, although it is not visible in the Browse, and it will help confirm that I have found the right place.
After selecting that I want to use the folder that Browse shows me, Windows Live Writer fills in the appropriate base-relative location in its configuration:
The configuration is accepted. Windows Live Writer has confirmed access to the place that pictures will be published to. The validity of the URL has also been verified, although I do not know if Live Writer has any way to establish that the two places are actually the same.
In any case, the test, now, is to confirm successful upload of pictures inserted into a Windows Live Writer post and uploaded with the publishing of the post. I accomplished that by writing and posting Part I.
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, Passwords Max
, using FTP accounts
, Windows Live Writer
, uploading pictures
, web configuration
, Internet Information Server
, Miicrosoft FrontPage
, Visual Source Safe
, FTP transfer