Patrick R. Michaud
pmichaud at pobox.com
Mon Nov 21 12:37:03 CST 2005
On Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 06:57:15PM +0100, Joachim Durchholz wrote:
> Since things like FCKEditor have paved the way, I think it's entirely
> sensible to set up a Wiki like this:
> * use HTML as markup
> * do some fairly rigorous filtering
> to prevent the Bad Boys from inserting malware
> * use a WYSIWYG editor so end users don't have to bother
> with HTML syntax.
If the above list were sufficient, then FrontPage (or
something like it) would've become a widespread and standard
editing tool long ago. Since that hasn't happened, and lots
of people have claimed for many years that this is what
should happen, I'm guessing there are some inherent issues
with this approach that have yet to be solved.
Essentially I think the problem is that it's too difficult
to create highly customizable WYSIWYG editors that will function
properly across independent browsers.
> I'm not sure what place current-day wikis would have in such a scenario.
> I fear it's an adapt-or-perish situation though - simple wiki markup is
> never enough (as witnessed by the feature bloat that all wikis have
> succumbed to, sooner or later), so they all have a syntax that must be
> *learned*, and a WYSIWYG editor lets people discover instead of learn
> (and relieves them of syntactic subtleties).
I disagree here -- what WYSIWYG often ends up doing is hiding the
subtleties to a point where it's impossible for someone to be able
to reliably work around them. How many times has someone taken a
Microsoft Word document from one computer and opened it in another
computer and discovered that all of the formatting is completely
changed? And where does one look to figure out why?
There's a reason that most web designers create web pages using
tools that aren't WYSIWYG editors, and that's because WYSIWYG
editors tend to hide too many of the important details.
Anyway, it may be "adapt-or-perish" for wikis, but I doubt it--
I think the fact that many people continue to edit and run
email using non-WYSIWYG editors (and refuse to accept HTML-formatted
email messages) is evidence that non-WYSIWYG is still important.
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