Incompetency. Or, WYSIWYGs are the Devil.

I don’t like WYSIWYGs. This is because the “I” stands for “isn’t”. The specific ones that cause me angst these days are the ones designed for CMSs and email builders, which supposedly allow non-coders to build fabulous looking pages and emails with no knowledge of code whatsoever. And this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, if WYSIWYGs were nice and paired down to the basic necessities of “add a link” and “add a picture” and “stick an ordered list here” and other really simple choices to help fill out the content of an already nicely designed site. Or, if in the case of the disgusting behemoth WYSIWYGs like TinyMCE(AKA the in-browser Second Coming of Frontpage), the content editor simply ignored all the superfluous buttons and stuck to what is safe.

But no, they have stacks and stacks of mostly unnecessary formatting, all sitting there just itching to make whatever you’re trying to build just a little bit uglier. And the problem is that those who do not know the evil of a WYSIWYG think it gives them power to create mighty, complex, and beautiful layouts. Then, when their beautiful layout turns to gobbledygook, they hand it off to someone else to fix. Incidentally, content editors who either know some html or are willing to learn are awesome. They’re more likely to know better then to dump table into table and format text over and over until there’s approximately 123127836 nested span tags, then try to “fix” the formatting mess by copying and pasting some stuff from MS Word. What really bugs me, though, are those who treat the idea of using HTML like an upper manager treats the idea of using a copy machine. Faked incompetency is crap.

If a text editor is really necessary, stick a simple one in there that inserts the HTML tags for you, like the “html” tab on this here WordPress text editor. What I’m really hoping is that this is just a temporary technological gap, and it’s just a matter of waiting until either someone makes a WYSIWYG that actually works properly (hah!) or writing basic HTML becomes as common as cursive used to be.

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