Should WordPress Change their HTML Editor

wp-editor-changeFor the longest time, it appears just by doing a Google search about opinions regarding the WordPress HTML editor is showing a lot of dislike for it's quality level. Many (including myself actually) are frustrated with the default editor WP has included into their content management system. There is a lot of potential for WP to develop over the coming years but the one thing they really need to place more attention to, is their html editor.

Frustrations with the HTML View

The one thing that frustrates and irritates people when creating content in WP is that it's notorious for changing your code without your permission. I cannot count how many times it's changed my own code, only to irritate me even more. I have also seen posts on the internet regarding this problem, but the interesting thing is, that the primary fault is not directed entirely to WordPress, but to the developer(s) of the Tinymce editor - which is what this one is, from my understanding, is based on. I know from my own experience in the past that Tinymce feels that their code generation is what it should be, no matter what you put in yourself, it will change it to their own - or plainly strip it out!

One area many people have major issues with is the use of Shortcodes in the WordPress editor...it's just too buggy when you add shortcodes. You get source code being wrapped in <p> tags or <br /> tags...sometimes you even see empty <p> tags. This is a result of creating white space in the editor when you paste code that has more than one line, in particular, shortcodes (although not limited to just shortcodes). Here is an example of what can happen when you think you are adding shortcode for a three column layout, only see the front-end source code look like this:

<p>[c290]</p>
<h2>Your Heading Here</h2>
<p>Add your content here</p>
<p>[/c290]<br>[c290]</p> <h2>Your Heading Here</h2>
<p>Add your content here</p>
<p>[/c290]<br>[c290_last]</p>
<h2>Your Heading Here</h2>
<p>Add your content here</p>
<p>[/c290_last]</p>

All of the <p> (except for the "add your content here") tags and <br> tags should not be there but the editor puts them there.

It's very hard to know what you are doing when you cannot see your html tags in the html view with the default editor...it's all invisible. For the typical users of WordPress, this is very annoying when you see odd things happening and you do not know why.

WordPress Has the Potential to get Even Better

As I mentioned, there is a lot of potential for WordPress over the coming years, but ultimately, it's a content management system, which means "content". A cms is based on content which means it needs a quality content editor. The content editor really should be the primary focus of any cms because without an editor, you have no cms. The editor should be the most featured and most flexible function of any, whether it's WordPress, Joomla, or any other cms.

I hope that the development team at WordPress completely revamp's their editor for a new and higher quality one, but to have it loaded as their default editor. Remember, most of the users of WP are typical people who simply want an easy, yet featured editor that will not change their custom code, have the ability to accept shortcodes without problems, and to be able to see and edit "html" in their content.

What I Use

As some may be aware of this, I use Joomla for Pixel Theme Studio, and one of the best features about it is the fact I am using a very advanced editor extension (like the equivelent to a WP plugin) called JCE Editor from www.joomlacontenteditor.net which is ultimately the best I have used so far. It's fully featured and the one thing they did was to allow the choice of "not to touch my code" when I create content. Unfortunately, this is only available for Joomla and not WordPress, although there is some potential it may come next year, according to them, but not a definite decision as of yet.

Your Own Options

Most will say, "download and install a different editor plugin". As simple as it is to say this, your alternate choices are not that promising really, as I've tried some of them, even the advanced options. The key is that a person shouldn't have to search and download an alternative, the default option should be a quality one to begin with. Granted, if you just simply need to write blog posts with only text and the occasional picture, then the default editor will probably work for you, but if you need to add your own elements and add custom code to your page or post, then it's a different story.

What is Your Opinion?

I'd be interested to hear comments of any experiences you have with the WordPress default editor. There is also a Poll I currently posted here in the blog, so feel free to place your vote as well.

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Comments 

9. ceri Posted: Friday, 11 November 2011
Yes get rid of the wordpress editor, it does my head in constantly changing my code, if you publish then go back to edit it's changed, adds loads of spacing to my shortcodes and continually destroys the formatting for various widgets.

Surely a platform this great in every other aspect should have a better editor... frustrated at the moment trying to get a basic page to format as it should, ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
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8. Patrick Valmont Posted: Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Quoting Andre:
WP has potential but I hope they do start listening to people...again, I think this and for anything to be changed, a lot of people need to let them know. It's a big community of users, but I don't think WP will listen unless it's a significant number making the request.


Amen to that. i have checked wordpress.com and their support quality is way way out of control. People keep posting for help but nobody comes up with a solid reply.

As for the original post, Yes I think wordpress should improve on their default editor. I currently use TinyMCE advance, it's really cool, bunch of stuff in there.
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7. Quinn Wilkinson Posted: Friday, 29 April 2011
Don't know if WP should change their editor or not but there is a list of more than a dozen WordPress Editors at http://bloggerkhan.com/what-is-the-best-editor-for-wordpress/33 I have started experimenting with two. Let's see.
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6. Steve Wilkinson Posted: Friday, 15 April 2011
I'm frustrated all the time by the editor in WP, even if I'm not working with HTML. It's hard to just write articles in and get some descent formatting. Anyone have any downsides to using a plugin like TinyMCE? Thanks
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5. Adrian Lee Posted: Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Having used wordpress since I started online, I am aware how html codes are changed in wordpress. I just didn't know why until I read your post. For me though, it's working with what I've got. Nothing is ever ideal, nor is my knowledge of wordpress and html all that advanced. So I will continue to work with what I've got, if it works then it looks great. If it doesn't, then I'll just do it in the way it can work for me.

But the thing is, many developers have gotten their themes to work well with shortcode 99% of the time. The rest of the time, I'll keep at it until I figure it out.
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4. Andre Posted: Friday, 17 December 2010
Quoting Aeris:
Great! I think it would be better if you will change the WP HTML editor. thanks for sharing.

Unfortunately, with WordPress, it would take (as I quoted before) a LOT of people to get WP to listen. Like I've mentioned before, WP has a ton of potential but the editor really needs to be changed which is why I am hoping the JCE editor that is available for Joomla, gets a version for WP which the developers of JCE is considering. It's based on tinymce so here is hoping!
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3. Aeris Posted: Friday, 17 December 2010
Great! I think it would be better if you will change the WP HTML editor. thanks for sharing.
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2. Andre Posted: Monday, 22 November 2010
Hi Daniel...I agree too with your comment: Quoting Daniel:
I hope they come up with a better solution as this is getting frustrating...

I think it would take a LOT and I do mean a LOT of people to email WP and let them know they need to change it. Hopefully the one source I mentioned that makes an HTML Editor for the Joomla cms, will actually move forward with a WP version, as they did say they are considering it. The WP editor is frustrating and it should be the best feature of any cms because a cms is for "content" and people need a quality editor to manage content.

WP has potential but I hope they do start listening to people...again, I think this and for anything to be changed, a lot of people need to let them know. It's a big community of users, but I don't think WP will listen unless it's a significant number making the request.
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1. Daniel Posted: Monday, 22 November 2010
Hell yea. This is well said and I can tell you I have tried to use most of the editors out there... in one way or the other they all alter your code and change the html, don't show you all the code, add stupid code and so on. It is a nightmare to create custom content in wordpress and when you think you are done ... you switch by mistake to the visual editor and all is gone.

Sometimes I have to clean the code by pasting it into notepad in order to get read of the hidden code and than re-paste it in the html editor.

I hope they come up with a better solution as this is getting frustrating...
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