First of all we need to distinguish between WYSIWYG editors (what you see is what you get) and text-only editors using markup languages like Textile or Markdown. While the former try to display all text formatting right in the edit mode and save the generated HTML to the database on submit, the latter require the user to mark up content with shorthand code, which will be saved to the database and not translated to HTML until output.
WYSIWYG editors seem to be a pretty good choice in the first instance. They can be used like word processors and graphics editors: you format text by means of icon buttons and immediately see the results.
In comparison, the text-only editors are more robust concerning user input. Since they filter out some unrequested “cheating” like multiple spaces or line breaks, they help to achieve consistent layouts. Even they seem less convenient at first: most of the developers from the REDAXO team rather use text-only editors when developing websites.
The demo site contains modules using both types of editors: “Redactor” for WYSIWYG and “Markitup” for textile/markdown.
Similar looks, but different concepts.
First of all, Redactor comes up with a very clean and nifty user interface. Besides, its pleasant code structure and its flexible configuration options prove Redactor to be a modern and capable editor solution.
Actually, using this WYSIWYG editor wouldn’t be free of charge, but REDAXO has ordered a license to use the editor within the REDAXO system.
The icon bars of both Redactor and Markitup can be configured individually. Admins are able to reduce the feature set to a custom level. In addition, you can set up multiple profiles containing different icon bars, and you can define which one should be used for a any module.
Textile/markdown transforms shortcut codes to valid HTML when rendering the page. For instance, this
will produce the following output:
In practice, textile shortcut codes are easy to learn. Moreover, compared to WYSIWYG editors, textile/markdown is more robust when dealing with improper user input. For instance, multiple new lines will be translated to only one paragraph.
The textile/markdown syntax is very comprehensive and supports extensions. The REDAXO website is written with textile/markdown as well.