[Pmwiki-users] Markup

John Rankin john.rankin
Tue Aug 26 16:00:45 CDT 2003

> People like to tout WYSIWYG editors as somehow superior because authors 
> don't see or have to know about markup.  I'm not convinced this is always 
> a good thing--sometimes the markup is more usable and understandable 
> than trying to guess what might happening inside the system's black box 
> because the underlying markup is hidden (something I frequently find myself 
> doing when using WYSIWYG programs such as Microsoft Word). 

Mmmmh, I suppose they would dismiss the matter of looking inside the
black box with a `You don't need to'.  I'm not convinced this is
necessarily a good thing either, though the biggest reason I dislike
WYSIWYG is that I seem to consistently produce better quality texts
when I am concerned with content only, not at all with presentation.

Yes! WYSIWYG is a useful metaphor for a printed page when what you see
on a screen is a reasonable approximation for what you get on paper. But
today the same content can be on a web page, in print, or read out over
a phone... If one uses Microsoft Word to prepare the text of a web page,
one is not using a WYSIWYG editor. If the underlying *model* is fit for
purpose, the *metaphor* becomes less important and can become a barrier 
to communication.

The ability to define context-dependent markup I think is intrinsically
a more powerful model than the WYSIWYG metaphor, which forces authors to
represent structure using style.


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