05 Aug 2010
09 Apr 2011
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I'd like to give my input to this topic. For me there are four main issues with RadEditor, or HtmlField as it is called in Sitefinity V4 - my points do go slightly wider than the content block editor, but all very related.
1) In V4 is has become very hard to define which tools I want included, and the standard configuration is dangerous at best. As website designers/developers we want to provide just enough control to the end users so that they can manage their content in a controlled environment. As standard in V4, tools such as font style, insert flash, font size, etc are available and I cannot turn them off. With all due respect, the only step more dangerous than this is handing my client a copy of Dreamweaver. Now all of the hard work we put into structuring the content and presenting it correctly via Css can be overridden. I would like to see it possible to define which tools the content block uses, but I would also like to see it made possible that all modules or a particular module can use a different configuration. For example, it may be acceptable that on the news module the user can insert an image, but that may be unacceptable on the events module. Again it goes back to the fact that as designers we have spent a lot of time assessing which content per page/section should be displayed, and how it should be displayed - if we cannot enforce those rules we cannot guarantee the website will look as we intended in the long term.
I accept that client training, along with a design guide (which we always provide) will mitigate some of the risk in point 1 - but that doesnt mean I wont one day come into the office to find comic sans plastered across one of my clients websites!
2) The "view advanced tools" button is actually a bit of a hindrance in my opinion. For starters I may not want the client to have access to these advanced options, on top of that, if I do want to include basic and advanced tools, I would like to be able to define what they are. So when considering point 1, I would also like to see an option for disabling the "advanced" button.
3) I agree with the comments of Andrei and Nicolas. I do believe it should be possible to specify the configuration of the HtmlField based on users roles. I find it worrying that end-users have access to the HTML view (i'm just waiting for one of them to add a scroling marquee!). I do not currently have a situation where I think it would be useful to restrict access to some users seeing the "insert image" button, but then again other people may. Why not allow the complete configuration to be set based on a membership role.
4) I've entered into several conversations on these forums about how I would like to be able to replace RadEditor with an editor of my choice. It appears I have hit a brick wall on this - in a way I can understand why, it would be a heck of a lot of work to replace it and then manipulate the output HTML to show correct image paths/hyperlinks etc - but not impossible!. But then I ask myself why do I want to be able to do this - RadEditor has a nice interface, its easy to use, its configurable, so why re-invent the wheel? IMHO the Wysiwyg in ANY CMS is the weakest part, or riskiest part - you're providing a tool to end-users that allows them to create HTML, but there is absolutely no choice - they have to be able to write HTML. The point is if you're going to make this functionality available it has to be flawless. HTML is such a messy and unstructured language really, and provides no feedback to an end user as to why something has rendered incorrectly. Unfortunately I experience this all the time with Sitefinity RadEditor - I have clients on the phone asking why this extra line break has appeared, or why this whole block of text is a hyperlink, or my monthly HTML Valid reports which I run on my clients websites will show some pretty horrific HTML. Sometimes it has to be said, the clients have copied and pasted badly, and frankly lets not get into that - I warn them, RadEditor tries to clean it up, but frankly no Wysiwyg handles that very well. So let me stop waffling and get to the point - I actually dont care which Wysiwyg is part of Sitefinity, and I mean this with no disrespect, but RadEditor is buggy. It performs very poorly across different browsers. Some of the bugs I have previously reported are such simple ones that I find it hard to believe they werent picked up. RadEditor needs some serious testing and bug-fixing, its a project on its own and whilst Im sure plenty of issues have been fixed, there are still far too many. I reported some myself at http://www.sitefinity.com/devnet/forums/sitefinity-4-x/general-discussions/radeditor-has-issues-when-i.aspx, but I never really received any feedback as to whether they were being considered, which frankly puts me off doing any more testing for free. If I knew the issues were going to be considered and scheduled, I, and most probably the wider Sitefinity community would be more than happy to flush out all the bugs - but I just don't see it getting any priority. Personally I feel its a big enough product to put into PITS on its own - why not encourage users to find the bugs, run a competition, offer better Telerik points - just anything to get it to the level it needs to be at. Afterall, not only will the wider sitefinity community be much happier, it will be a better product that rivals the likes of CKEditor and TinyMCE. Please take from this point, that my only goal is to make RadEditor a better product, and in turn improve sitefinity. If you would like to discuss anything you can either contact me personally, or happy to discuss further on this thread.