Rich text input control (was: XML input control)

I think we should throw aside the exact technological solution
(XML, JavaScript, etc) and try to analyze the question in a more
broader sense.

I guess the main problem could be formulated as follows:

* No built-in input method exists for structured text.

But it's not possible to build such a generic input control that
any website could make use of. Site A would like you to only enter
plain paragraphs with maybe some bold and italic text, while site B
would like you to have all the formatting abilities of modern word-
processor. But site C would like his own special unique features.

So we can't have one-size-fits-all-solution in this case.

There has to be a way how site author can exactly specify what
kind of input is allowed. This control could be given in two
different ways:

Imperative approach - author can use scripting languages to build
his own input control that behaves exactly as he defines.

Declarative approach - author defines the allowed input format and
the user-agent will provide a meaningful editor for that format.

The first approach has more-or-less worked until now. One of the
main down-sides is, that the author needs to do a lot of careful
programming to come up with even a modest WYSIWYG editor. But a
better API can be provided for programmers to make the construction
of such editors a lot simpler.

The second approach seems to be lifting the heavy duty of programming
a WYSIWYG editor from the sholders of site author to the shoulders
of someone else. The question is: to who? As I stated earlier, there can
be no generic editor that would suite all sites. Who should write this
editor that fills the requirements of site X? If it should be the site
author himself, then I see no difference from the first approach.

Rene Saarsoo

PS. When you reply to this e-mail, please send it to the mailing list OR
directly to me, but not both, that's completely of no use.

Received on Monday, 26 March 2007 22:59:05 UTC