Use GUI HTML editors for editing wiki content

We're looking to improve the experience of editing pages in our Wiki, and I'm wondering if we should just ditch "wiki" syntax and just support HTML and use a nice in-browser HTML editor.

It should be easy for us to continue to support CamelCase and square brackets to link to other wiki pages, so what else would be missing (other than an annoying wiki syntax)? Does anyone have any experience on going this route?

6 comments

skierpage (visitor) says:

Maybe http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:FCKeditor_(by_FCKeditor_and_Wikia) . For finding and making links, search for " link" in http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension_Matrix

But, do you really need to solve this problem? Most users won't edit. Most editors won't do a good (neatly formatted, good links, etc.) job. But if you have a large enough community and anyone can edit, some will step up. It's far more a social change than a technical issue with wiki syntax. Participatory culture, user-to-user, blah blah.

(I'm stunned that millions of people master the phpBB syntax for forums, it has all the particularness of XML with none of the features of MediaWiki syntax.)

Topher (visitor) says:

I've used several different WYSIWYG embedded editors, and ALWAYS regretted it. They always end up making a mess, and the mess compounds over time. A simple edit leaves an extra br tag. Another simple edit leaves an empty table. Nothing ever big, but after a couple years it's a wreck. This is with super-non-geeks though, general users in my office, managing web content.

I don't know your users or your content, so you get to make the call, but I wouldn't do it.

Eric Shepherd (visitor) says:

We're getting ready to start using MindTouch Deki for the Mozilla Development Center; it offers as WYSIWYG editor and uses XHTML as its markup language, which you can edit by hand if you want to.

Gérard Talbot (visitor) says:

> wondering if we should just ditch "wiki" syntax and just support HTML and use a nice in-browser HTML editor.

Yes, we should ditch "wiki" syntax. I agree 1000% (one thousand percent). All of mozilla webpages should ditch "wiki" syntax and just support HTML 4.01 strict DTD and, if needed, use an HTML editor like KompoZer 0.7.10 or PSPad (advanced text editor) or something better. If mozilla.org is making web software products, then it should (normally, expectedly, reasonably, ideally) be able to build, to provide and to improve a product to edit webpages, for its own needs first.

Every webpage (at developer.mozilla.org and elsewhere) should be run through HTML Tidy (version 22 march 2008) so that the code can be tidied up, non-standard markup be removed or replaced with better markup code. This is what I did for *.mozilla.org webpages in, for example, bug 389104, bug 360039 and several others.

It is absolutely miserable, counter-productive, inconsequent, incoherent to create web browsers, to create HTML and CSS tutorials, to edit and update articles like "Using Web Standards in your web pages" at developer.mozilla.org and then not to follow the very recommendations we provide. It's illogical and ultimately hypocritical to not practice what one preaches. We should strive to create better, more web-standards-compliant, more web-standards-conformant webpages everywhere the words "mozilla.com" or "mozilla.org" exist.

HTML 4.01 has been around for now 9.5 years. If mozilla.org can not or does not create (or does not find) a product suitable to meet its own web-editorial needs, then mozilla.org should stop preaching about valid markup code, semantic markup code, valid CSS code, etc.

Creating intra-document links in wiki format makes URLs so long that they create some problems in webpages and especially when pasted in web programming discussion newsgroups (and in their FAQs).
E.g.: comp.lang.javascript FAQ

Finally, HTML 4.01 (preferably strict DTD) is what browser manufacturers recommend to use. XHTML 1.0 transitional served as text/html, with MIMEtype text/html makes no sense really and XHTML does not represent the future. I can back such claims here with several articles and quotes.

I am assigned to bug 151557 and I have been assigned to bug 74952 (and several other documentation bugs related to W3C web standards compliance, validation, etc)

Regards, Gérard

Eric Jung (visitor) says:

Gérard,

In this particular case, we are talking about non-Mozilla tooling (Drupal). If poor markup is being generated, it is a problem with Drupal or the upstream tool (e.g., in the case of MDC it's likely MediaWiki or Deki).

Perhaps you should focus your efforts on patching the upstream tooling rather than evangelizing on Doug's blog :)

Eric

Axel Hecht (visitor) says:

I for one have pages on wikimo that somewhat rely on wiki syntax, as they're read out by software using the raw wiki markup. The l10n team pages make heavy use of includes and categories, too, with the includes being on the overview page.

I usually get frustrated quickly on wysiwyg editors, I just hate software that claims to be cleverer than I and isn't. Just killed a blog post Tuesday on WP because the editor wouldn't let me do what I want.

I'm not saying that mediawiki markup is the best thing since sliced bread, but at least it doesn't claim to support things that it then doesn't.