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Perfect WYSIWYG for DNN/2sxc #2 - Evaluation Criteria

As described in post 1 overview I started with creating various lists of criteria for user-specs, technical requirements, management-requirements and more.

Management Specs

  1. Open-Source and free - ideally on GitHub
  2. Reasonable open source license - MIT, LGPL or similar (preferably not GPL)
  3. Very wide adoption, because there are thousands of little issues we don't want to solve
  4. Regularly maintained / updated (last update less than 1 month ago, many updates per year)
  5. Modern & sexy - in look and feel, and appearing to change as trends change

It turns out that most of these criteria were all critical in removing possible contestants and shrinking the short-list.

User Feature Specs / Criteria

This is the easy part - what should the WYSIWYG "do" or more important, what should I be able to prevent/disable. For myself I created some fairly complex tables but to keep the post short I'll go simple. This is what is required in the minimum:

  1. Copy text from the editor / Paste to the editor
  2. Undo, Redo
  3. Format Bold / Format Italic
  4. Heading 1-3 or 6
  5. Numbered List, Bulleted List, Indent list, Outdent list
  6. Links to http / un-link / set link target to new window
  7. DNN-Page Links
  8. Links to files / images
  9. Insert special characters
  10. Ability to provide a custom, optimized asset manager with drag-drop upload

You may notice the absence of "Adding Images" or "Video". This is because it's a feature that will become less important in the future, as technology must take care of resizing, retina and more, so this should ideally be handled by a smart template as is common in 2sxc. For today and tomorrow, these are still needed features and were considered as well. 

Fairly simple , as it turns out, over 50% of all WYSIWYGs support all this. The core issue is linking to local files/pages, which requires an extensible WYSIWYG - this was a clear filter-criteria.

Technical Specs

  1. Extensible, so if a specific feature is missing, could be added
  2. Mobile- and touch-capable - our UIs must become mobile-controllable
  3. JavaScript only
  4. Not using jQuery 
  5. Ideally not requiring AngularJS but well integrated (to prevent version conflicts and have broader audience)
  6. Works on current browsers including IE9+ etc. (IE8 is not in our focus any more)
  7. Lightweight
  8. Multi-Language Uis possible (labels etc.)
  9. Inline editing of a DIV; hide the toolbar when not used
  10. Switch to HTML possible

Next Steps

Based on this I created a long list of possible WYSIWYG editors and created a short-list. Check out part 3 where we start with over 50 editor and find a favorite.

Love from Switzerland,

Daniel Mettler grew up in the jungles of Indonesia and is founder and CEO of 2sic internet solutions in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, an 20-head web specialist with over 800 DNN projects since 1999. He is also chief architect of 2sxc (see forge), an open source module for creating attractive content and DNN Apps.

Read more posts by Daniel Mettler
Daniel Mettler learned programming with the bible translation computer of his parents, deep in the jungles of Indonesia. Since he was only 12 years old at that time and the BIOS only had a version of BASICA, that's what got him started. With 16 he went back to Switzerland and learned German and basic city-survival skills. Equipped with this know-how he founded 2sic internet solutions in 1999 which was focused on web solutions on the Microsoft platform. After a few self-developed CMSs 2sic switched to DNN in 2003 and has been one of the largest partners (17 employees, 700+ projects) in Europe. Daniel is also the chief architect behind the open source 2sxc, a strong promoter of standardization (boostrap, patterns, AngularJS, checklists, etc.) and loves to eat anything - dead or alive. His motto: if the natives eat it, it game.

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