WordPress  Editor has a number of annoyances. This is strange given that that  a key strength of WordPress has been its Editor for ease of use and  dual modes. Users for a long time have had a choice of working with the  WYSIWYG Visual Editor or the HTML-based Text Editor. Many  used both. But over the past 3-5 years trouble has been brewing with the WordPress Editor. It is remarkable that one of the key features that brought so many users users to WordPress is the source of annoyance and distress. Here are some growing beefs.

  1. First the Visual Editor does not respect selected/highlighted  text in some Visual Edit operations. For example,  in writing this post I selected the list of items below to be transformed into a numbered list. But WP’s Visual Editor added the line above “Word Press Editor has a number  of ..” and included it into the numbered list. So I had to switch to Text mode in order to correct the position of the <ol> and <li> tags and then switch back to Visual mode. This is a a too frequently recurring  nuisance.
  2. Next, with use of shortcodes, the Visual Editor is becoming very much less than WYSIWYG. So WP users really have no way of knowing what a page or post will look like without back-and-forthing between the editor and the page/post in preview mode. This is one of the reasons for the growing popularity of  true WYSIWYG Page/Post Builder plugins like SiteOrigin’s .Page Builder [free plugin and very good], Beaver Builder [free lite and premium priced pro versions] and Visual Composer [premium plugin]. These tools help swing WordPress back into being a strong Agile  development tool because developers can more readily prototype and interactively refine systems design. This fast, interactive refinement and  debugging capability is further enhanced  with a new set of  Interactive CSS Editors,
  3. Another gotcha lurking in the WordPress editors occurs when switching between Visual and HTML edits, the editor has the nagging habit of either deleting HTML tags like <br/> or <hr> or inserting spurious tags [currently <p> ] in unrequested fashion. This extends to the popup WP editors as shown below:
    hdwytexteditThis problem occurs when switching from HTML edit to Visual edit and then back. It is particularly annoying because users don’t see the strip away until they preview the Post or Page.
  4. There are so many good HTML editors for web development such as  Brackets, NotePad++, and Sublime  which offer code completion, code folding, tag balancing, color coding and beautifying among other features that the WordPress Editor does not have. Given that this editing technology is at least 4 years and benefits all users it is surprising that corresponding improvements have not been made to the WordPress HTML Editor. or appeared as a plugin. Worse, the HTML Editor in the new Calypso-based WordPress  Editor is headed in the wrong direction with its hobbled interface.
  5. Next, WordPress head honcho, Matt Mullenweig has said that WordPress users and developers will ” have to learn JavaScript deeply”. Well one of the problems with using JavaScript deeply  in WordPress right now  is that the Visual Editor strips away JavasScript code that the HTML Editor accepts. So users must deploy plugins like CSS & JavaScript Toolbox or Custom CSS and Javascript and take extra steps to get the JavaScript code to work.
  6. Finally, Google Fonts are not part of the tinyMCE editor which powers the Visual and HTML edits. Fortunately within the last two years plugins have become available and Google Font Manager has become a personal favorite because it has a great panel for choosing among the 733 Google Fonts. In addition, it adds the chosen Google fonts to the Font Family dropdown in the Visual Editor.

In sum, these are WordPress Edit Annoyances because they are not show-stoppers. Rather they are nuisances since there are work-arounds available. But this trend away from simple, WYSIWYG editing with strong dual-mode capabilities takes away some of the WP luster – ease of use plus quick and reliable editing have been traditional WP features. But equally disconcerting is that many of these problems have persisted for 3-5 years or more. Having viewed a glimpse of  future editing trends in WordPress with the new Calypso-based editor, it is alarming to see that  many of these problems continue or even get worse.
The only consolation, is that 3rd party developers, with their plugins and extensions, have brought interactive design and development of WordPress frontend UI/UX to a new level of effectiveness  plus ease-of-use with interactive direct editing of web pages.  But the problem is that many of the inherent Editor annoyances linger despite these UI/UX improvements because editor improvement appear not to  have priority. Sound like the IE8 situation at Microsoft?

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