[whatwg] Authoring Re: several messages about HTML5

Adrian Sutton adrian.sutton at ephox.com
Wed Feb 21 18:45:56 PST 2007

> Did you notice in your development of an WYSIWYG HTML editor things
> from the specification that
> 	- were very difficult to implement?
> 	- were missing in the HTML language itself to make it easier to
> control the editing?

There are a couple of things to note here. Firstly our editor is written
in Java, not JavaScript so the second question doesn't really apply
because we're not limited to what can be done in HTML and JavaScript.
The only real problem we've seen in terms of HTML limitations for
implementing the editor is a lack of granularity in terms of
contenteditable. There is some demand to be able to specify an
uneditable template to use within the editor and have users fill in
and/or edit specific parts of it. Unfortunately there are a number of
situations where the editability is ambiguous such as:

* when an uneditable element is at the end of the document - is the user
allowed to insert another element after it?
* when there is an editable paragraph inside an uneditable block, is the
user allowed to break the paragraph in two? Can they insert another
paragraph after the editable paragraph?

In terms of what is difficult to implement - lists and tables, but I'm
not sure that's because of the HTML format. Lists and tables are just
hard to get right in the first place (even Word's list support is
regularly infuriating). In general I don't find that the back-end format
matters that much in editing, you just need to parse it into a model
that is suitable for an editor. I would hate to have to implement an
editor based around a standard DOM model of the HTML document because
the user doesn't view the document as a tree - they view it as a string
of text. So the model used when editing needs to be more like a string
of text than a tree.

> Bonus question:
> 	Do you think that there are needs outside of HTML itself, but
> needed
> for authoring HTML, and would need to be shared among an authoring
> tools community?

Nothing that immediately comes to mind, but I'm subscribed here to lurk
and provide the perspective of an editor maker where appropriate so as
things come up I'll be sure to chime in.

> Karl Dubost - http://www.w3.org/People/karl/


Adrian Sutton.

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