Windows Live and WordPress… so close yet so far away…

Just like buses here’s a 2nd post in one day, thought this one deserved to be split away from the last post.

I got an email through on my phone the other day saying this…

We want to share some important changes that are coming soon to Windows Live Spaces. We are very excited to announce our collaboration with a premier and innovative blogging service, WordPress.com, to offer your end users an upgraded blogging experience. On March 16, 2011, your end users current Windows Live Spaces will close, however, we will help them migrate their current Windows Live Spaces blog to WordPress.com or they can download it to save for later.

For your end users who migrate, existing links to their blog and specific articles will continue to work and their visitors will be redirected to their new location on WordPress.com.

Your end users will soon receive the email below that outlines these changes, the associated timeline, and any action they must take.

Thank you for using Live@edu and we hope your end users enjoy the new blogging experience.

Regards,

The Live@edu Services Update Team

Was a weird feeling to see Spaces being shut down as I remember back in 2004 when it first came out. At the time the drag and drop customisations etc were pretty clever but as everything time catches up on you and the competition gets better

My reactions to this (in order) went something like this…

  • typical, just a few weeks after I move my blog over to WordPress Microsoft release a migration tool to do it for me!
  • well done Microsoft, WordPress is a quality product so makes sense to work with someone to get a stable, high quality platform
  • wow, this will be really useful for our web courses that teach blogging as everyone will have a WordPress account ready in the same way as they can with Office Web Apps, SkyDrive etc
  • I wonder when we can use this with our Live@Edu accounts?

So when back in work I get Googling and find this…

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_live/b/windowslive/archive/2010/09/27/wordpress-com-and-windows-live-partnering-together-and-providing-an-upgrade-for-30-million-windows-live-spaces-customers.aspx

As I’m reading one thing stands out… I can’t use my Windows Live ID to sign into this?!?!?!

I’d love to be proved wrong on this but it basically sounds like what you actually have is a link pointing to WordPress that will do a few updates to Windows Live Messenger (how many people still use it? I’ve found since the Facebook revolution it seems to be dying out…)

That’s not exactly what I would’ve expected. Surely at the very least any Windows Live Service should be using the LiveID to do login duties; as a result I can’t really call it a Live@Edu service as my users with Live@Edu accounts can’t set up a new blog without signing up for a separate account!

Another interesting item to note was Messenger Connect, I noticed it uses the same consent.live.com domain as our Moodle plugin so seems to be the way delegated authentication is going… I wonder if we might see an update to the plugin one day using this technology (or the scarier thought of MS pulling the plug on the current Windows Live Delegated Auth SDK and leaving us with no Moodle plugin but surely they won’t do this?!)

Any thoughts on this would be interesting to hear, am I being too demanding or should the upgrade be a more integrated service than what it looks like it’s going to be?

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4 Responses to Windows Live and WordPress… so close yet so far away…

  1. warero says:

    Same issue I am facing right now, I am deploying Live@Edu for an institution that is keen to use blogging avidly,linking directly into their institutions ID, groups and Skydrives.

    However the route we will have to take is configure the WordPress portals separately! So this means MS has created business for WordPress, without directly (or so it seems) benefiting from the partnership, in particular as regards Aouth.

    The closest I have seen is an OpenID plug in, which I am yet to test, here:

    http://verselogic.net/projects/wordpress/wordpress-openid-plugin/

  2. gshaw0 says:

    Good to know I’m not the only one thinking this way!

    It does seem an odd move, not so much dropping Spaces but the way the WordPress move has gone. There’s an interview with one of the Microsoft staff who said something along the lines of “LiveID isn’t a major feature in this case” but I’m not so convinced tbh.

    The service would’ve been a lot more integrated had it been hosted on MS servers using WordPress software customised to take advantage of Live ID… now that would’ve been a real bonus for Live@Edu users.

    As it stands we’re stuck with the manual method with MS saying that we can do blogs on the upcoming (and somewhat mysterious) SharePoint-based product we’re going to get at some point. How good it will be remains to be seen but I can’t see many people wanting to move the blog again and tbh I think WordPress will be the better platform in comparison.

  3. Darren says:

    Could be time to move to Google Apps. Moodle and Google Apps SSO works fine.

    • gshaw0 says:

      Hi Darren,

      Funny enough we nearly went to Google before the whole Apps \ Live@Edu programme went live. We teach adults starting off with email etc and at the time I recommended GMail due to the low spam counts and easy interface. Unfortunately the students hated the conversation view; the whole “me you, me you” idea didn’t go down well and they went to Hotmail instead. Had the recently-added option to have GMail act as a traditional email client been there I reckon we’d be a GApps shop now.

      As it stands Live@Edu has the benefit of familiarity with Office Web Apps and Outlook Live but there are things that are somewhat clunky in comparison with a GApps solution imo…

      – Google Sites is a very handy tool (being used in our web beginners classes), will the mystery SharePoint offering in Live@Edu match it? We shall see…
      – Blogging (well we know all about that one!)

      The Moodle integration is something I’d like to see in action as it seems to have been done the right way round i.e. Moodle login kickstarts GApps rather than the other way round with the Live@Edu plugin.

      The frustrating thing is that the technologies are there for Microsoft to level things up and make Live@Edu work effortlessly with Moodle but it’s just not happening. Granted what Microsoft give us for free is really good but it could be so much better with a few tweaks in the right places.

      Whether that’s because they don’t know we want the features or don’t want to provide them hoping that some day we’ll shift to a Sharepoint VLE I don’t know. Another biggie will be if MS update the plugin properly for Moodle 2.0 as I know from testing GDocs already works with the Moodle 2.0 repository feature (very very very useful!)

      One thing I did notice at MoodleMoot was that the Universities were rather cold to MS \ Live@Edu whereas colleges seemeed to be gearing towards the Microsoft solution. All very interesting to see the battle being slugged out!

      If there’s any chance of a demo of your SSO I’d be interested in seeing it; I’ve got a GApps Education demo site up at the moment but not had time to set up the Moodle plugin…

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