Re: WYSIWYM editors

Actually, I think there is another way. It is probably asking too 
much for people to become experts in what the tags and attributes 
mean except perhaps for a few very common cases. Editors instead 
need to  support the tasks that users are thinking in terms of.

As an example, when creating a form, the user interface should 
invite users to enter a label and to pick the data type, and
internal name without any need for users to know about attributes,
input, select, textarea and label elements.

Most users can't be expected to understand how to program event 
handlers in JavaScript, and this is where the current ideas for Web 
Forms 2.0 are lacking. In principle, you could get the editor to 
generate complex JavaScript code from a declarative representation, 
but it would be very hard for an editor to do the reverse.

I am therefore keen to see HTML extended to directly support simple 
expressions for calculated values (e.g. this field is the sum of
two other fields could be represented as calculate="x+y" for fields
named x and y), validation, and other constraints.

Declarative markup allows you to round trip the semantics from the 
editor to the document and back. I am working on a cross browser 
editor as a proof of the practicality of these ideas and expect to 
be able to provide a beta release within a few months. I have 
already demonstrated the practicality of simple spreadsheet like 
expressions in my experimental work on a cross browser forms 

  Dave Raggett <>

On Sat, 17 Mar 2007, Geoffrey Sneddon wrote:

> One of many things I think needs to be done with HTML is make it 
> easier to be editable with a WYSIWYM editor, without having an 
> over sophisticated UI.
> Nobody has made a usable WYSIWYM editor for the HTML 4.01 standard 
> as it's near impossible, due to the complexity of the spec (such 
> as being able to explain in one line what tags mean).
> We must be able to:
> - Explain, in a few words in layman's terms, what a tag/attribute means.
> - Parse current web content, without changing the semantic meaning.
> - Create something that's understandable without any styling.
> How we do this, however, is questionable (and hard).
> All the best,
> Geoffrey Sneddon

Received on Saturday, 17 March 2007 23:59:54 UTC