WYSIWYG editors proved big hit since day one. But is really What You See Is What You Get ? As of writing these first words, I noticed my built-in wysiwyg editor was missing
<abbr> support, I had to go into widely known “html mode” or “source code view” or known as “text mode” in WP to achieve that. No biggie, I would not expect it to, that’s not such a popular tag. OTOH, to emphasize the acronym wysiwyg, making the first letters bold, I used the wysiwyg itself, since it was simply faster option. They are great for some things, not so great for some other things. But they are mostly great, especially for less code savvy people.
I am not going to discuss whether you should use or not use them, that’s totally up to you.
I’ve got nothing against them – well i got something otherwise I would not be writing this – I mean I got nothing against the idea of them. Of course they have their problems, like breaking layouts, leaving unclosed tags etc. due to the complexity of the nature of their task. Before we proceed to address the problem I have with them, There’s Always a Relevant xkcd about it, take a quick look if you don’t mind.
Now, if you have checked the xkcd comic, you’ll see that the author was rather harsh calling them “what you see is totally unrelated to what you get”. I wouldn’t go that far but at the very least I would call ’em “what you see may be what you get”. See, the problem I have with them is that they are making a promise. A promise, some / most of the time they can not live up to. It is like saying “As Seen on TV” and putting an * with “batteries not included”. Then it is not what I saw on TV, I saw a robot doing fancy things on my TV, what I got was a broken useless piece of shit without the batteries. It may not be the perfect metaphor, but you get the point.
The name is very promising, that’s the biggest mistake; it is misleading. Take GUI for example, does it make a promise ? No. Does any other acronyms ? Not to my knowledge. (Surely there must be others out there, but i cant remember off the top of my head.)
WYSIWYG is a prime example how not to name or abbr. a thing. They should have called it something vague like “visual editor” something so people like me don’t have something to complain about. Seriously though, leave the implied promise alone, what kind of an abbr. / acronym is WYSIWYG ?? I mean there are countries named shorter than that, and a hundred thousand other things.
Before going any further and making assertive comments like “it might just be one of the longest acronyms there is”, I did a quick research and turns out its not long enough to be a contender for that title. But it sure is damn long.
One of the most annoying things for me in terms of usage is; the tags not closing where you intend / want them to; mostly when inserting links or making the last word bold; it will keep on linking or being bold unless you stop it – see example in the above (that’s where my wysiw… promises me it will be) picture .
To wrap things up, WYSIWYGs are cool and all but they are not ideal. For a perfect mix, you have to have some idea of what’s going on in the kitchen. Speaking of kitchen, I want to insert another half-assed TV metaphor here; it’s like those cooking shows where they show you not only how it is supposed to turn up, but they also explain how to make it. However, more often than not, WYSI not WYG . While it looks great on the screen, the result you get is usually horrendous. You could intervene at some point, only if you knew how to prevent it from happening. But once it’s out there, the more you fiddle with it, the more attempts you make to fix it, it only gets worse. So if you are going to use a WYSIWYG, keep things simple, don’t try to make a pikachu cookie, stick with simple round cookies, what matters is the taste after all, right ? Of course it would help if they were rather round instead of looking like a piece of rock from Mars, just don’t get too fancy, don’t go all out. Make parts of your texts bold, use ’em to do your spellchecking and whatnot, don’t attempt to do layouts with them, because they will end up just as disappointing as your pikachu shaped cookies.