wysiwyg and light-markup are oil and water

bowerbird bowerbird at aol.com
Fri Sep 12 00:16:01 EDT 2014

there is a lot of surface appeal to a system
which combines wysiwyg and light-markup.

and one can do a few simple combinations.

but before long, and certainly once you try
to tackle some more-complicated features,
you find yourself torn by an inherent conflict.

starkly put, there is a _difference_ between
what you put in, and what you get out, and
the question is which one you want to "see".

by definition, wysiwyg pictures the "output".

but an inability to "see" your input means it
can become very difficult to edit that input.

the inclination, upon that realization, is to
attempt to show "enough" of the input that
it becomes possible to do your editing, but
that just turns the wysiwyg into cruel illusion.

i'm not gonna say that it's "impossible", but
i will advise anyone who is tempted to try it
to carefully map everything you need to do
before you even start to think about coding.

if you want to take on the hardest thing first,
figure out how to successfully allow a paste
from an arbitrary ms-word file...  good luck...


p.s. even if you solve that fundamental gap,
you will also discover that "wysiwyg" carries
excess baggage, in that some people think
it entails one thing, and other people another,
so you're never gonna make everyone happy.

p.p.s.  all this also applies to contenteditable,
in case anybody is mulling that as a solution.

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