Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Re: Evaluating WYSIWYG editors

I've been using TinyMCE with varying degrees of sucess. It deffinately has some issues... But it's easy enough to install and configure. One thing I can't stand that I've seen almost every person get caught on is thay in TinyMCE, when you click in the empty white space below the text, it doesn't change the character position to the end. It's really simple and seemlingly nit-picky but it really makes a difference.

Also, I can limit the options people have as far as formating (a good thing), but someone can just paste in something coppied from word to get around those options (a bad thing), so I have to have a seperate filtering process.

Comment on Evaluating WYSIWYG editors
by Brantley Harris


I've had some work done with FCKeditor, and it's been something of a bitch to get to work correctly. People (clients) kept breaking it... I do wonder why you are not including WYSIWYM in your reviews, it just recently got some link love (on Reddit, at least) and it seems pretty nice. It may not do a lot, but it does try to be all semanticky about it, which is a Good Thing in my book.

# Manuzhai

I've been doing the same wysiwyg-evaluation game and I immediately fell in love with WYMeditor when I saw it.

Demo: http://demo.wymeditor.org/editor/editor.htm Home: http://www.wymeditor.org

The biggest problem is that it doesn't yet work in Safari, but I think a lot of those you listed are in the same boat, because I've evaluated them all too.

# Brian Beck

I don't know -- it doesn't particularly excite me. All I care about is HTML; I don't need semantic markup beyond that. All most users care about is what they can see; what it means is implied, and only important in so far as the meaning is clear to the reader. Writers write for readers, not for computers.

That said, I am very interested in microformat support, which is kind of schema-related (but very loose schemas mixed in with content). I don't think anything has that now; part of why the community and code matters to us is because we want to build on this, we don't just want to use the product. A more semantic/abstract editor has some advantages here; but I'm not sure it's enough of an advantage, especially compared to a more mature product (and maturity really matters for this case, as there's tons of little usability issues).

One of the plugins I like for Xinha is the stylist plugin (to see it you have to look at the demo and select Stylist). I think there's some hidden potential in that, or something based on it.

# Ian Bicking

Wow, I really like that WYSIWYM editor. That fits the web perfectly. I always thought that the problem with WYSIWYG editors is that the process is of "styling" the information, which doesn't really fit the way we deliver the web (CSS+XHTML). But the WYSIWYM definitely fits that model.

I'm sold.

# Brantley Harris

It's actually somewhat surprising to me just how well most WYSIWYG editors respect CSS styles, with no special work to do it. I guess a testament to the underlying browsers' editing. Usually you have to pass a stylesheet in (so it can be loaded in the iframe that most editors use), but once you do that it's all just magic.

They still usually included non-semantic controls. But you can just take those controls out; again, adjusting the toolbar in most of these is easy. If you took those bad controls out (e.g., color, font), wouldn't you have something very much like wysiwym?

# Ian Bicking

No, I don't think so. The idea of WYM is that you have something broken away from a context of the presentation. Instead you have something embedded in the structure of the very ideas. I think the practicality of it requires some formating elements to be displayed in the WYM-editor, i.e. bolding, italicizing, unordered lists, etc. But in the distant ideal those would just be highlighted and marked as such, rather than actually displayed as such.

In TinyMCE, at least, I can remove the controls from the toolbar, but someone could just paste something from word to circumvent my restrictions (especially annoying). Although, admittedly, I haven't looked for many fixes for that.

I think the idea of WYM could be expanded beyond just web-publishing. I imagine a collaborative screen-writing application. I should just go ahead and patent that right now, anyone have any capital for a startup?

WYM can't keep people from pasting HTML. It can try to clean that HTML (though it's rather tricky to do this, and given its age I suspect it doesn't). Several of the other editors have special code to try to clean up code pasted from Word; they also include different kind of cleaners, some which are applied on save and some which can be applied on paste.

However, I hate opinionated editors. Legacy HTML is important. HTML with differing opinions is important. If you are doing green-field content development I guess WYM could work, but I'm more interested in content development that builds on the content we already have. The words matter more than the form.

# Ian Bicking

I assume you mean WYM-Editor? and not WYSIWYM?? .. _WYM-Editor: http://www.wym-editor.org/en/ .. _WYSIWYM: http://mcs.open.ac.uk/nlg/old_projects/wysiwym/

# Marc-Antoine Parent