Choosing a WYSIWYG Editor for Drupal

Jen Lampton

14

January 31, 2012 - 11:03pm

I recently gave a talk at SANDCamp on how to set up a WYSIWYG editor, and after the session Graham asked me why my preference was for the TinyMCE editor over the CKeditor, or any other. I figured I'd write up my preferences here, in case anyone was wondering the same thing.

My preference for TinyMCE is personal. I like it for several reasons: First, TinyMCE has a mature, thriving Open Source community of its own. Additionally, WordPress also includes the TinyMCE Editor, and we can't ignore the amount of work that community is putting into the development and improvement of TinyMCE as well. I expect faster progress of TinyMCE because lots of people are using it, and lots of developers are working on it.

Every time I've needed a plugin for something that wasn't already included (for example: a youtube button, spellchecking, or HTML templates) it's always already existed for the TinyMCE editor. And if you need to create a new plugin of your own, TinyMCE also has really great documentation, something our community might learn something from :)

I really like using the the WYSIWYG module for Drupal, and TinyMCE editor itself is also closely integrated with this module. For example, there seem to be a lot more plugins for TinyMCE - than almost any other editor - already integrated.

In particular, there's no reason to use CKeditor with the WYSIWYG module. WYSIWYG module ignores the way CKeditor usually works (which is probably why you wanted to use it in the first place), and runs regular expressions to add tags for all the buttons provided. If you want to use the CKeditor, you'll get better use out of the CKeditor module, or even better, use the Drupal module that CKeditor wrote for this purpose.

Clients also often prefer using the TinyMCE editor. No WYSIWYG editor is going to make creating tables in your content easy, but I find it less painful with TinyMCE than with other editors.

One of my favorite modules for use with WYSIWYG is the caption filter module, and what that module does (allow you to float a caption right or left along with its image) is technically impossible using the CKEditor. Because of this last limitation, I suspect TinyMCE will be the editor that gets into Drupal 8 core.

At the end of the day, everyone should choose the editor that's best for them, their clients, and their needs. If you prefer the CKEditor, or another, then by all means, do what makes you happiest :)

Comments

I am so glad to get this comprehensive appraisal. CKEditor is not my preference. Can't wait to go with TinyMCE next time.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this info.

Do you have any experience with the D7 version of the autosave module with TinyMCE and how stable it is even though it's a dev release? http://drupal.org/project/autosave

I'm really interested in the same auto-save functionality you get when creating and editing a Google Doc; basically there is no save button since the document is saved after 5 keystrokes and/or 3 seconds of inactivity (huge guess there).

That sounds like a really great feature Alex. I haven't used it, but I'll definitely check it out for future projects!

Hi Alex,

I haven't used the autosave module with TinyMCE, but I know there's a lot of great work being done on the auto-save front.

Do you know that neat auto-save functionality that happens with views and panels, that prevents your changes from being lost when you navigate away form the page? I'm hoping we'll get the ctools JS cache that makes that happen into core in Drupal 8, so we can have it for our content and users as well.

It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with WYSIWYG, but it's gonna be cool!

Jen

Hello, I´m trying to use the AUTOSAVE module on a form using TinyMCE, but there seems to be a problem there. Also CKEditor seems to be a problem with AUTOSAVE > http://drupal.org/node/1425894

Does some one know the solution to implement TinyMCE with AUTOSAVE in D7?

Xanks

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for this; I am indeed used to using CKEditor (and previously FCK) but will try tinyMCE in my next site.

Thanks,
Amir

We were discussing Wordpress and which WYSIWYG it uses at our monthly Drupal meetup here in Flemington, NJ the other day and I didn't know the answer. I will be sure to bring this article up at our next meeting!

I think the fact that the community of Wordpress uses TinyMCE is in itself a great reason to choose it over others granted they offer similar/equal functionality. It reminds me of something Angie Byron (webchick) wrote during the great VCS (GIT/Bazaar/CVS) migration debate. I don't remember the exact words but something along the lines of it being that say Bazaar and GIT are equal, the community that will support and drive the migration weighed heavily in GIT's favor!

Also, that is great that a WYSIWYG editor will have the chance of getting into D8, I have always been referring to Drupal as a Content Management Framework because you can literally make 100 different implementations of a CMSes with it. Maybe with the addition of a WYSIWYG editor I can be more attune to giving it a CMS title.

Thanks Elijah!

I'm really surprised I've never heard of TinyMCE, considering I have such a disdain for CKeditor. I feel dumb for not reaching out and trying to find a better WYSIWYG editor when I play with Drupal.

I have a site I'm hosting with Wordpress now: [url=http://www.clickminded.com]ClickMinded SEO Training Classes[/url], and I'm going to check the CKeditor plugin now. Thanks for the post!

First of all, thanks for writing this short, clear article!

After trying several client side editors for my Joomla site I ended up with TinyMCE for most of the reasons you describe. A few weeks ago I got so fed up with Joomla´s way of never quite doing the job right, I decided to switch to Drupal. Once again the search for a WYSIWYG editor started.

I saw that it is no longer necessary to install Drupal´s WYSIWYG module and then add the CKeditor. Instead you can just download CKeditor for Drupal, directly from the CK site. Looks promising, right?

Right... Installed the module, installed the library, configured the profiles and opened up a node for editing. Too bad CKeditor removed every single linebreak and whitespace.

So, I guess it will be TinyMCE again :-)

What amazes me, is that after years of hard community work, there is still no unified way of ´doing it´ ... Although it is good to have a variety of tools to choose from, it would be nice if these tools would at least follow a commonly shared standard, instead of each creating their own sort of wheel.

Partly, this is due to the fact that these tools - obviously - don´t get written by content editors and end-users. For a ´techie´ going into html-code is not a problem. I guess there will always be a gap between the creator and the user of the tool.

Oh, about the auto-save feature in TinyMCE: in Joomla at least that works great!

I have been using CKeditor (and fckeditor before that) with the ckeditor module. Overall I have been happy, but recently I've discovered two pain points. First, CKeditor doesn't directly support captioning images and the solutions are very cluggy. Second, it doesn't seem like you can select a bunch of text (an h2, a li and a paragraph of text) and wrap that all inside a single div. Can you do that with TinyMC.

Also, my understanding is that Ckeditor will be the editor of choice for Drupal 8. Is that true?

Hello, i have a problem while using this editor, i am using the accordion which comes together with it, but its causing me problems, for example, almost the last two accordion tabs won't open and if it happens for them to open, they show the wrong content and in the wrong place.

What should i do?

Regards..
Carmen from Drupal Development

I'm having issues getting the WYSIWYG module to see my text editor after uploading the files. WRELP PLEASE!!!

I'm desperately trying to find articles/videos/blog posts/reviews about WYSIWYG Drupal [web page] editors. NOT WYSIWYG editor modules to use IN Drupal pages, but for actually editing the pages.

It seems like all the results I check are for the modules - that's nice, but, seems much less significant to me than the later. A good easy editor for editing the actual web pages seems much more important than a single type of module...

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