Rich Text Editors

By | August 3, 2007

There has been alot of talk lately about Rich Text Editors (RTE). There are alot of of them out there. FCKEditor, TinyMCE and xStandard are just a few. Recently Yahoo launched their own RTE. (Seems a little slow to me). EXT just announced they would have a RTE in their 2.0 release. (That 2.0 release sounds very exciting and could be a breakthrough for them). Even the jQuery UI team is considering RTE options.

Alot of RTE developers look to Microsoft Word as the benchmark in WYSIWYG editors. The problem with this approach is feature bloat. Word does so many things that fail the 90/10 rule. 90% of user’s effort is spent on 10% of the functionality. On the web it’s worse, because each feature makes the experience feel slower. I don’t think we have the ‘perfect’ RTE, which is why there are still developers working on it. My idea of the perfect web editor:

  1. It has simplicity and is easy to use.
  2. It plays nice on all browsers and operating systems.
  3. It’s very fast and very beautiful.
  4. It has keyboard shortcuts that are obvious.
  5. It helps power users do powerful things without making simple users slog through a complex UI.
  6. It reads your mind and fixes all kinds of errors automatically.
  7. It scales up for complex problems and down for simple ones.
  8. It treats you nicely and is polite. It doesn’t talk down to you and make you feel stupid.
  9. It is fun to implement and manage.
  10. It is fun to use.

Am I describing a Rich Text Editor? Or any computer program? This is my top ten of things for Web success. I made it up right now…maybe it needs refinement. It should babysit my kids?

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