Textual markup languages (was Re: What YAML engine do you use?)

Tim Parkin tim at pollenation.net
Sat Jan 29 15:41:05 CET 2005

On Sun, 2005-01-23 at 13:41 +0100, Fredrik Lundh wrote:
> Alan Kennedy wrote:
> > If I can't find such a markup language, then I might instead end up using a WYSIWYG editing 
> > component that gives the user a GUI and generates (x)html.
> >
> > htmlArea: http://www.htmlarea.com/
> > Editlet:  http://www.editlet.com/
> >
> > But I'd prefer a markup solution.
> some of these are amazingly usable.  have you asked your users what they
> prefer?  (or maybe you are your user? ;-)

Most users prefer to write documents in word and then paste them into
textareas. Not surprisingly means no semantic content, little chance of
restyling, horrible encoding problems and far too long spent on the
phone trying to explain why it's not a good idea. 

Giving users a wysiwyg textarea creates the problems that users start to
spend time trying to create a 'styled' document, inevitably sacrificing
semantics (many is the user that has applied a header style to make
things bold or a quote sytle to indent a paragraph). Using text based
layouts reinforces the perception that you aren't creating a styled
document and that the semantic structure is important.

People who have used non-wysiwyg editors have found that their initial
reticence has been quickly overtaken by their joy at not having to fight
with 'style' and the reassurance that their content is now 'redesign

Tim Parkin

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