Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Tue Jan 4 19:56:48 UTC 2011

2011/1/4 Magnus Manske <magnusmanske at googlemail.com>:
> Nice :-)
> Update : WYSIFTW now with auto-collapsed references!

This is a cool demo, thanks for making and sharing it. It's obviously
very buggy, but I think it's the first gadget that actually tries to
create a rich-text editing experience directly on WP.

Within the usability initiative in the last year, the team focused on
incremental enhancements to the current editing interface. If you
haven't seen it, sandbox 6 of the usability prototypes is worth
playing with: http://prototype.wikimedia.org/s-6/index.php?title=Main_Page&action=edit

It has both the dynamic table of contents, template collapsing, and a
simplified tab view for edit/preview. The first two changes depend on
changing the standard <textarea> to a contentEditable <iframe>, which
introduces many of the same challenges that manifest as bugs in your
WYSIWTF implementation. For example, copy and paste behavior across
collapsed elements (as well as properly filtering allowed/disallowed
content from paste data) is very hard to properly control across
browsers. This massive added complexity and associated bugginess is
the key reason why we haven't deployed these changes yet. The other
reason is that our usability research has shown that collapsing
elements can in fact increase initial newbie confusion as it becomes
harder to make a direct match between the two representation modes
(Ctrl+F for something you're trying to change no longer works).

There's an internal debate whether the <iframe> editor is at all a
good long-term technology foundation to build on, or whether it would
be wiser to adopt the Google approach of implementing a new editing
surface in JavaScript (see

The team is currently focused on finalizing the new ResourceLoader,
which will generally make our front-end code more manageable, as well
as finishing up phase 2 of the article feedback pilot (the little
rating widget showing up on some articles) and ironing out bugs in the
new upload wizard. But as we start into 2011, I'm hopeful that we can
come up with a good development and staging plan for immediate
improvements to the editing interface, as well as a longer term
re-architecting towards rich-text editing which ideally allows for
incremental benefits to be deployed to WMF projects.

Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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