Native Rich-Textarea, what do you think?

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Hello people,

In the current HTML-standard there is just the textarea without any rich
text editing. Most sites want rich text editing and are using one of the
WYSIWYG javascript scripts out there. This has a few downsites i see:

  1. By using javascript WYSIWYG scripts, each site defines on its own
how that tool(s) looks like.

I think that it is not the responsibility of the web-application to
define how the tools given to the user should be designed.
It is the responsibility of the overlaying software, toolkit or even the
operating-system to do so.

The same goes for Java, GTK, QT, WinAPI and Cocoa defining the look of
widgets for programs using these API's/toolkits.

  2. Users have to learn how the editor works on nearly every site they
visit. Maybe the web-designers are not noticing this, but beginners that
are "not that much into cumputers" will take a while longer to figure
out how these tools work when they all look different.

With at least the rich-text-editors looking (nearly) all the same on not
only all programs they use, but also on most websites they visit, the
web would become more beginner-friendly.

  3. In javascript implemented and by (different!) browsers (and
js-engines) interpreted WYSIWYG-scripts will always be huge hacks and
workarounds for the missing of rich editing in normal textarea's.
All of these editors i've seen by now are working by hiding the actual
textarea and replacing it with a huge structure of HTML elements and CSS
declarations to emulate a textarea. Just watch these scripts work in
firebug or whatever you use and try to understand all the tricks used
just to feel like a textarea.

That is not only an extremely inefficient way of "just making a few
words bold and colorful", it also is extremely buggy and incompatible
because everything the textarea can do native has to be re-implemented
in javascript: line-handling, char-spacing, etc...

And these editors also often has bugs caused by ugly hacks. For example
not bringing up the keyboard on iPad (cause theres no real textarea or
textfield, just mocked by javascript) or missing
screenreader-compatibility, just to name two. And i am sure there are
more problems coming for these hacks with new devices and technologies
coming in the future.

Just imagine what happens if you write a huge custom javascript
interacting with an external WYSIWYG-editor (with a site working like
facebook or twitter or so) and the developers of that editor stops its
work on it. The editor will get incompatible with new browsers after
some time and you can throw all your work out of the window and begin
from scratch, because the depencies are too huge.

  4. Javascript has to be on for them to work. And i see noscript (the
firefox addon) on many systems. (That also means that you cannot block
Ad's on sites using that editors)

I also think that it would not be such a big deal to implement a native
rich-editor-textarea as most people think because most big
browser-vendors already have a rich-editor:

  - Mozilla has one in Thunderbird,
  - Google has Google-Docs
  - Microsoft has Word
  - Apple has its "Mail"

They would just have to port their rich-editor into the browser and make
it work with the textarea.
After doing so there could also be a standard javascript-API to talk to

Then it would be possible to have a rich-text-editor by only doing
something like this:

    <textarea type="rich">...</textarea>

(Please dont rely in this exactly syntax. Its just a hint to what it
could look like.)

So, what do you people think of that? Is it worth to make a
feature-request to w3c (or whoever), have i missed something or is all
this just bullshit?


Gerrit Addiks

PS: I'm refering to rich-text-editors as all text-editors supporting
that functionality (e.g. Word) and WYSIWYG only the scripts in the web.
Just for the case you got confused by me using the terms "rich-editor"
and "WYSIWYG" seperate.

PSS: This is my first time writing to a newsgroup, please tell me if i'm
doing something wrong. :)

Re: Native Rich-Textarea, what do you think?

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A normal person without any deep internet slang knowledge would first like
to know, what do you mean by WYSIWYG?


Re: Native Rich-Textarea, what do you think?

Kristjan Robam wrote:

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Although on one could argue there is no such thing, but more like
WYSISWYG What You See Is Sometimes What You Get or WYSIRWYG What You See
Is Rarely What You Get

Take care,


Re: Native Rich-Textarea, what do you think?

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Thanks for the translation.


Re: Native Rich-Textarea, what do you think?

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M$'s editor would be based on their ribbon technology. Chrome's on
their Google Docs one, Opera on their own one, and so on.

You would still have as many different editor styles as there are

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