Speak Clearly from Experience


So today I’m working through some more content management challenges – and hating JavaScript-based WYSIWYG editors. They really really suck.The main reason they do, are they all simply expose HTML editing capabilities from within the browser. Unfortunately, this is typically buggy and extremely clunky. If you don’t believe me, try table editing. Ugh.

On the Three Wise Men CMS system I overcame this by licensing a fabulous Applet based editor from Ephox. I like it so much, I continually try to work it into other projects. The only issue is that it’s expensive (well that’s a relative term, with our CMS product the WYSIWYG editor used to be our largest tech-support call driver!), so you have to have a strong business model behind the web-app. In the end, however, our users have thanked us, over and over again.

You really can’t understand this until you compare the JavaScript and Ephox editors. Edit some tables. Appreciate simple things like your cursor maintaining position when you switch between source-view and WYSIWYG view. The spell-checker. It’s really hard to go back.

Trouble is selling customers on this. They really don’t understand this until they suffer the experience of a JavaScript based editor. In fact, even then a lot of people haven’t really spent enough time in the editor to understand the absolutely horrible things it’s doing to their content. Try pasting in Word content from your typical user’s Word doc (you know, those docs where people use spaces and extra carriage returns to line text up, and have 30 different font sizes used in random places throughout). You’ll begin to understand what I mean.

Really this is like a lot of technology, when customers don’t know you, they don’t know to trust your judgement. All the experience in the world on your side won’t help if you can’t argue your point convincingly.

So sharpen that saw, try to find ways to explain things your experience has taught you in a way that customers can understand. It’s worth it.


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