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Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 8 months ago

Subject: Re: a good WYSIWYG html editor

From: "<>"

Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 20:54:02 GMT

Newsgroups: alt.comp.freeware


Having exhaustively researched this issue, here are my observations.


Many WYSIWYG editors don't edit HTML directly. They are more like drawing programs with their own proprietary formats. When you are ready, you "export" the page the HTML. Web Dwarf and DHE Editor are examples of this. They export EVERYTHING as a graphic, even text. They use CSS positioning techniques to maintain the layout of your page.


Advantages: 1. Dead easy to work with them. About as simple as a desktop publishing program.


2. You can achieve interesting layout effects such as layers, transparency, etc that just aren't possible with HTML.


Disadvantages: 1. You can't edit the exported page afterwards although you could get around this by re-editting the original page and then re-exporting.


2. Text doesn't wrap to the viewer's browser window, since it isn't really text at all but a graphic. This also means that a viewer can't copy the text from your page which can be a plus or a minus.


3. Not all browsers correctly render the graphics. Some will simply render it as a vertical line of graphics one after another, rather than in layers. And if the viewer is using any resolution other than the one you used to compose it, they'll see it as either jammed to one side of their screen at higher rez or will have to horizontally scroll to see it all at lower rez.


A workaround might be to produce multiple versions of your site for different rez's then direct your visitors appropriately.


4. It REALLY bloats your code with all sorts of coding that describes the exact location and size of all the elements on the page. And the coding can get so complicated that you can't find your way through it afterwards, if you want to tweak it with a text editor.


Some do allow you to "insert" HTML into the page, but you don't see the effect until the page is exported. In effect, the HTML isn't WYSIWYG.


Programs such as the freeware WYSIWYG Web Builder by Pablo van der Meer (spelling?) and commercial programs like CorelDraw? take a different approach. You layout your page, then export to HTML. Rather than rendering everything as a graphic though, it uses tables to set up the layout and all the elements are placed in cells to maintain their relative locations.


Advantages: 1. Very easy to work with.


2. You can "tweak" the exported page via a text editor after the fact.


Disadvantages: 1. Can't re-edit the page directly as again they use a proprietary format until you are ready to export.


2. Sometimes the end result isn't exactly what you set up, but most often is very close.


3. These can't use CSS since there is no concept of text "styles" with these programs. Each block of text is treated as a separate entity.


Finally there are programs like the old Frontpage Express and NVu that directly produce the HTML as you lay out your page. You can usually switch between text and WYSIWYG mode as you edit.


Advantages: 1. Very easy to work with with respect to formatting text.


2. You can "tweak" the exported page via a text editor after the fact.


Disadvantages: 1. Page layout can be more consuming that the previous editors, particularly if you are laying up tables.


2. FPE doesn't recognize or use CSS so formatting your page can be a pain. NVu is still under development and has some quirks.


3. Sometimes the code they write isn't the cleanest. That can be recified later by running any one of a number of clean up proggies.


4. Sometimes the end result isn't what you set up.


5. These two particular programs are "dumb" in that if you switch to text mode, they aren't smart enough to drop your cursor at the same point where you were in WYSIWYG mode. Your cursor is place at the top of the file so it's a PITA to switch between the two mode.


I've tried them all literally. I favour NVu but use FPE (gasp!) for simple stuff. There are times when I even prefer a text editor.


Amaya was a HORRIBLE editor and I'm mystified why this thing was ever made Pricelessware. There were some others such as Selida, Sublime, etc recommended by others on this ng, but I found my system crashing with them.


Finally, another factor to consider is whether you intend to incorporate elements such as DHTML (Java, Flash, etc) into your site. I didn't evaluate any of them from that perspective. Generally though I would think the "pure" editors versus the "export" editors would be better since you can more precisely insert your code.









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