Should WordPress Change their HTML Editor

wp-editor-changeFor the longest time, it appears just by doing a Google search about opinions regarding the WordPress HTML editor is showing a lot of dislike for it’s quality level. Many (including myself actually) are frustrated with the default editor WP has included into their content management system. There is a lot of potential for WP to develop over the coming years but the one thing they really need to place more attention to, is their html editor.


Frustrations with the HTML View

The one thing that frustrates and irritates people when creating content in WP is that it’s notorious for changing your code without your permission. I cannot count how many times it’s changed my own code, only to irritate me even more. I have also seen posts on the internet regarding this problem, but the interesting thing is, that the primary fault is not directed entirely to WordPress, but to the developer(s) of the Tinymce editor – which is what this one is, from my understanding, is based on. I know from my own experience in the past that Tinymce feels that their code generation is what it should be, no matter what you put in yourself, it will change it to their own – or plainly strip it out!

One area many people have major issues with is the use of Shortcodes in the WordPress editor…it’s just too buggy when you add shortcodes. You get source code being wrapped in <p> tags or <br /> tags…sometimes you even see empty <p> tags. This is a result of creating white space in the editor when you paste code that has more than one line, in particular, shortcodes (although not limited to just shortcodes). Here is an example of what can happen when you think you are adding shortcode for a three column layout, only see the front-end source code look like this:

<p>[c290]</p>
<h2>Your Heading Here</h2>
<p>Add your content here</p>
<p>[/c290]<br>[c290]</p> <h2>Your Heading Here</h2>
<p>Add your content here</p>
<p>[/c290]<br>[c290_last]</p>
<h2>Your Heading Here</h2>
<p>Add your content here</p>
<p>[/c290_last]</p>

All of the <p> (except for the “add your content here”) tags and <br> tags should not be there but the editor puts them there.

It’s very hard to know what you are doing when you cannot see your html tags in the html view with the default editor…it’s all invisible. For the typical users of WordPress, this is very annoying when you see odd things happening and you do not know why.

WordPress Has the Potential to get Even Better

As I mentioned, there is a lot of potential for WordPress over the coming years, but ultimately, it’s a content management system, which means “content”. A cms is based on content which means it needs a quality content editor. The content editor really should be the primary focus of any cms because without an editor, you have no cms. The editor should be the most featured and most flexible function of any, whether it’s WordPress, Joomla, or any other cms.

I hope that the development team at WordPress completely revamp’s their editor for a new and higher quality one, but to have it loaded as their default editor. Remember, most of the users of WP are typical people who simply want an easy, yet featured editor that will not change their custom code, have the ability to accept shortcodes without problems, and to be able to see and edit “html” in their content.

What I Use

As some may be aware of this, I use Joomla for Pixel Theme Studio, and one of the best features about it is the fact I am using a very advanced editor extension (like the equivelent to a WP plugin) called JCE Editor from www.joomlacontenteditor.net which is ultimately the best I have used so far. It’s fully featured and the one thing they did was to allow the choice of “not to touch my code” when I create content. Unfortunately, this is only available for Joomla and not WordPress, although there is some potential it may come next year, according to them, but not a definite decision as of yet.

Your Own Options

Most will say, “download and install a different editor plugin”. As simple as it is to say this, your alternate choices are not that promising really, as I’ve tried some of them, even the advanced options. The key is that a person shouldn’t have to search and download an alternative, the default option should be a quality one to begin with. Granted, if you just simply need to write blog posts with only text and the occasional picture, then the default editor will probably work for you, but if you need to add your own elements and add custom code to your page or post, then it’s a different story.

What is Your Opinion?

I’d be interested to hear comments of any experiences you have with the WordPress default editor. There is also a Poll I currently posted here in the blog, so feel free to place your vote as well.

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