Wordpress vs Drupal: WYSIWYG Editors
In a past article, I’ve already talked about how Drupal bests Wordpress in out of the box page optimization techniques but also, how Wordpress is not far behind. Today, I’d like to continue my series by talking about how Drupal and Wordpress both differ in their implementation of WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editors for content.
WYSIWYG editors seem to be standard issue these days. Blogging platforms like Blogger and forum packages like PHPBB have them pre-installed to help users add styling and HTML to their content. In content publishing, having those quick and handy buttons on the top help writers to quickly pull together styling the content without having to know any HTML or CSS.
As I type this entry, I look at all the available buttons here and are glad that WYSIWYG editors were invented. Out of the box, Wordpress comes with a very robust and feature-rich WYSIWYG editor. Obviously, the platform is built for bloggers so content publishing is the central feature of this CMS and Wordpress does it very well.
I learned how to use Drupal before I learned Wordpress so I was pleasantly surprised to see the WYSIWYG editor built in and ready to be used just like that. No fiddling with plugins, and no separate installation. I particularly love how images are handled with an easy to use interface.
You probably got a hint from above that Drupal’s WYSIWYG just ain’t as good as Wordpress. One big flaw that Drupal has out of the box is that by default, all content is written in plain text. If you need to add styling to your content like bold words or italic characters, you’d have to know HTML and add those directly to the content.
To add a WYSIWYG editor to your Drupal installation, you’ll have to download and install a module called, you guessed it, WYSIWYG. Last time I checked though there were a few bugs that hindered the user experience but that could of changed since the last build. The good thing of having to install this is that you get to choose between a number of different flavors and brands of WYSIWYG editors which include the likes of TinyMCE and FCKEditor. I prefer TinyMCE but the others have their advantages as well. This can be great for power users but for the less educated and less experienced, the choice can be confusing and the fiddling could be frustrating.
Image uploading and insertion can also be more confusing than Wordpress to the less computer savvy. It’s not as straight-forward as I would like it to be but it does get the job done.
This is one area where I think Drupal can take something from Wordpress. There is no reason that content should not be given the option of being styled, so in effect, the WYSIWYG editor should not just be an add-on, but should be included out of the box. If Drupal nodes or content don’t need styling, then just simply ignore the buttons.
On the other hand, some developers like the option of choosing what flavor of editor they prefer. For me though, that just adds to the hassle of installing modules that are essential in the first place and most users would prefer by default. What other features do you think are handled better by either Drupal or Wordpress?