I have to wonder at this point how deep their standards support is. I see a lot of information on OpenSocial and developing widgets for their social networking service, perhaps someone with direct knowledge and experience can comment here. I certainly hope that the Ning folks appreciate the difference between a standard API and a tool.
If you are wondering about the MetaWeblog API, you can check Wikipedia. Or contact Dave Winer, who is not closely associated with Windows Live Writer. It is a standard way to programmatically add blog posts to a Website.
As for Ning, I can only quote my recent exchange with their support desk:
“[The Ning Team - 01/13/2009 03:23 PM]
We don't currently support a way to integrate Live Writer into networks on Ning. This is an open feature request that our product team is considering and I'll certainly add your vote and comments to that request!
I hope this helps!
[Reporter - 01/12/2009 12:13 PM]
I'd like to use Windows Live Writer for blog posts. Live Writer uses the MetaWeblog API. Does Ning support that API?”
Their system calls me “Reporter” for some reason. I do use my real name on Ning.
As a recent user of a Ning social network (the Entrepreneurs of Knoxville Website), I am impressed by the Ning mix of features for Web-organized clubs (pardon me, social networks!). They have become extremely popular with their free service, which reportedly supports over 700,000 clubs. There are several extensibility points for adding “OpenSocial applications” and styling pages. I have to wonder how long the current business model will survive. Especially since they’ve outlawed adult Websites.
As I’ve written this, I’ve made a really bad assumption. I didn’t think it would be necessary to point out why the crappy Ning blogging interface (and lack of MetaWeblog support) would be a problem. Well, I am posting this on two of my blogs (Live Spaces and Lounsbery Direct), plus the EOK Website. As appropriate to a post like this, it’s just larded up with hyperlinks to more information. I can write this very easily using Windows Live Writer. I even get spell checking.
Since Live Writer supports the MetaWeblog API, when I’m done writing I just click a couple of things and this post goes to both of my Websites formatted according to their CSS. No muss, no fuss.
On Ning I’ll have to copy and past this post into that little editor window, then reformat every hyperlink because they don’t copy properly. If I had pictures, that would also create more work. Ning blogs are, therefore, seriously crippled and a major PITA.
-- Walter Lounsbery, 12-13-2008
P.S. OK, I give up! If you want the hyperlinks just head on over my post to real blog platforms: Live Spaces
or Lounsbery Direct