I've seen a number of people ask if MSN Spaces supports any web service APIs such as the Blogger API or MetaWeblog API that allow users to post to their blog from applications such as MarsEdit, BlogJet and w:bloggar. This question has been asked in blog posts by a number of people including Robert Scoble, Don Smith and Roland Tanglao. Like every question there's a short answer and a long answer.
Short Answer: There is currently no support for any web service APIs for managing ones Space. We are investigating the feasibility of supporting a web service API which enables our users to manage their Space while not having to compromise on security which unfortunately is currently the practice in the blogging world.
Long Answer: I listed the problems with the current crop of blog posting APIs such as the Blogger API and MetaWeblog API in my post from a year and a half ago What's Wrong with the MetaWeblog API? . The main issues for us working on MSN Spaces are
Security: The MetaWeblog API has no concept of security. Passwords are sent in plaintext as parameters to XML-RPC functions (i.e. they are sent in plain text on the wire as part of the XML message). Limited Functionality: The MetaWeblog API only allows one to either post and edit blog entries, fetch information about a specific user or change the website template. This is a drop in the bucket considering all the things one would like to do with a weblog engine which can be supported by the engine.
The security issue is a big problem and we do not plan to compromise on it. Although it may be satisfactory for certain services to exchange user's passwords in plain text where they can be sniffed by malicious third parties we don't want the Passport accounts of our user's exposed in such an insecure manner. This basically means we can't plug into the ecosystem of tools and services built around blog posting APIs today.
Already the current beta version of MSN Spaces has more functionality than is exposed by APIs such as the MetaWeblog API. For example, it would be difficult to imagine how one would manage their music list with just that API. Add to that the fact that we are planning to add more features in future versions that also have no useful analog in that API.
I plan to present 3 choices to folks at work on what we should do in this regard. The choices I see in order of preference would be
I should note that there is also the question of whether it makes business sense to do support blog posting APIs. Mike will be the one making the business case pitch to folks over here while I'll be making the technical pitches. It would be interesting to know what percentage of users actually use a rich client versus using the Web interface for editing their blogs in existing systems.
Anyway, your thoughts and feedback are welcome. I'd especially love to hear from authors of blog posting tools.