A million dollar pattern

Another idea for the lazyweb: Over at the Interactivetools.com Forum, I asked Can htmlArea help us do million dollar markup? htmlArea is a WYSIWYG editor replacement for any textarea field, that is, a handy little tool that can be used to enable WYSIWYG-editing in all kind of applications, such as MovableType. I suggested a couple of additions to htmlArea, all inspired by Mark Pilgrim and recent debates. Should the developers at interactivetools.com decide to take up this challenge, I will consider using htmlArea in my blog. I’d really like to have a good WYSIWYG-editor that is also good “behind the screen”, and helps me produce all this million dollar markup rather than all the crappy code such tools normally creates.

Tools like htmlArea only works in Microsoft Explorer, but cross-browser support is not just a dream. htmlArea will soon have support for Mozilla 1.3. Others will follow, I’m sure. As far as Mozilla is concerned, there is already Composite, which only just doesn’t want to work in my Mozilla.

There is much more to making good content than having a nice wysiwyg-editor, however. Benjamin Trott made a very exciting announcement on the last day of last year, namely that MovableType will soon have some new and cool features for Simple and Powerful Text Formatting: We envision Text Formatting options as complete, encapsulated formatters, handling both the formatting of structured text and any desired typographical details (smart quotes, etc).

Meanwhile, Phil Ringnalda offers a Five dollar bookmarklet in response to PapaScott‘s cry for help: What I need is a million dollar authoring app so I can keep track of all those million dollar tags I can use.

Is it just me, or is there a million dollar pattern for an authoring application forming here? Who will ever need Office?

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  • just what the world needs; another load of stupid ways in which people can fiddle with their form instead of caring about their content.

    I hope this goes the way of HTML mail

  • Five Dollar Bookmarklet

    About the time my New Year’s hangover was starting, Phil Ringnalda had come with a Five dollar bookmarklet in response to my authoring app post. While hacking the MT bookmarklet

  • Hmmm. My idea was exactly that we need writing applications, which allows us not to fiddle around with codes, so we can focus on creating content.

  • I’ve thought about this a lot. I see the lack of better writing tools as one of the biggest weaknesses of the web right now (it’s a significant weakness too, as it strenghthens the ‘consumer’-over-‘producers’ web user paradigm).

    I would love to see a writing app that sits inside the TEXTAREA in the browser that:protects the content from being erased (by closing the window, or clicking a link)
    helps users who don’t care about semantic markup, create semantic markup – this is a tough one – but we need to get away from WYSIWYG, and protect users from code – the trouble is that the web ISN’T WYSIWYG (or at least it’s not supposed to be)
    offers word processing benefits (in-line spell checking, etc.)
    generates XHTML compliant code

  • I can tell the markup needs work, but I haven’t done anything but a default install of htmlArea, integrated into MT 2.6:


    So far I like what I see.

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