I’m a huge OneNote fan. I’ve actively used the product since it was first released with Office 2003. Even with the local storage of OneNote files, it was easy to pick things up and move to a new machine or rebuild when needed. Take this to the current day and all of this content is stored in my OneDrive, so it follows me from device to device or from a machine rebuild and a login with my Microsoft Account.
I’ve also been a huge fan of LiveWriter. It works with my WordPress.com site as well as SharePoint and other blogs. There is a rich supply of add-ins created by a passionate community. However, the last release is from 2012. While it does continue to work well (I am using it to create and publish this post), people within Microsoft are trying to get this upgraded or at least moved to an open source project so the community can take over this product. If you are interested, go to the link and retweet.
Note: if you are looking for LiveWriter, this blog post has the correct links. Use this to get the latest version and not your favorite search engine.
So when the OneNote team announced that you ‘could connect OneNote to WordPress’, I was excited that this would provide an updated solution to posting content to WordPress. I’ll be honest, I was truly disappointed in the solution.
The solution is actually a plug-in for WordPress. It contains files you deploy to your WordPress server and these files provide a toolbar icon in the WordPress post creation window. This button looks at the OneNote instances stored in your OneDrive Personal only. OneDrive for Business, SharePoint or local OneNote instance are not supported in this plug-in because of OneNote API limitations. This may evolve in the future, but it is the current state. Select the page that contains your blog post content and it appears in the WordPress textbox for you to continue editing. It also looks like this solution is not available if your blog is hosted on WordPress.com.
While it is great that this plug-in exists, this is not how I write posts. I avoid the WordPress editor except when absolutely necessary. Is it a bad editor, probably not. It just does not fit into my workflow. I jot down lots of ideas for blog posts in OneNote in sections for both work and personal and even use it to initial outline the content. What I was hoping for was a OneNote ribbon button or side panel, where I push this content directly into WordPress once it is completed, much like LiveWriter does. Yes, there is a method of publishing content from OneNote into WordPress, but it needs Word as the intermediary that creates a Word document and pushes the content and keeps track of your blog settings. This may be because OneNote is very flat from a formatting perspective, and it needs to be. Word can provide some interesting format options required for some blog posts. However, I don’t need a Word file in addition to the OneNote content.
OneNote has a rich set of APIs, as does WordPress. I think it may be time to take a look and see what can be done to push instead of pull this content.