[whatwg] Authoring Re: several messages about HTML5

Adrian Sutton adrian.sutton at ephox.com
Sun Feb 25 18:53:52 PST 2007

> My statement "HTML DOM  model is not suitable for
> WYSIWYG editing" meant not physical limitation but
> logical one. I agree with you - theoretically it is possible
> to create some WYSIWYG HTML editor that will be
> asymptotically close to some ideal.
> But somewhere on the way to it system will hit
> a point when it will become a "determenistic chaos"
> where each line of code is a perfect finite state automata
> but the whole system is not manageable.

You're right, we agree that HTML DOM is not the right model to use for
editing, but I'm not sure that it is impossible to create a maintainable
system that uses DOM, it just takes a lot more work. I've also not seen
anyone create the perfect editor using any model or any format, plain
text editors probably come closest. I suspect that much of the difficult
is just the fact that users interact with text in so many different ways
and any model is going to hit a point where it is exceptionally
difficult to get it to do what the user wants.

> Yes, practical solution for this is to simplify DOM
> structure ( you use "attributed strings" and I am using
> "flat DOM" in my http://blocknote.net and couple
> of other editors)

For the record, we're based on the Java Swing Text APIs, so the model
architecture we have is similar to that. There isn't a lot of the
original Swing classes left in our editor anymore as we've gradually
improved various parts by extending or rewriting.

> I think that HTML WYSIWYG editing solution to be used
> as <htmlarea> engine in HTML should not use HTML, at
> least it should not use HTML DOM "as is" but something
> more human visualy comprehensible.

I think HTML is far too important a technology to not have WYSIWYG
editors for it. For many situations it may be better to use a simpler
format and convert to HTML (comments on forums or blog entries for
example), but there is a lot of flexibility in just using HTML, not
least of all is the fact that the final display format is generally HTML
and every time you convert formats it tends to introduce some rendering
differences which can frustrate users. For example, a lot of wikis
attempt to use a HTML editor to edit their wiki mark-up by converting to
and from HTML, but I've never seen anyone do the conversion accurately
enough to not annoy users. I normally recommend just using HTML as the
storage format in these cases - it's more powerful and thus lets users
do more with the wiki, it has existing high-quality editors already
available and there's no fidelity lost during conversions.

That said, I agree, using the HTML DOM directly for an editor is not
something I'd like to seriously try.

> Andrew Fedoniouk.


Adrian Sutton.

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