Get yourself a great WYSIWYG

Paul Boag

While in the process of rebuilding the Headscape website, I have come across the ultimate in WYSIWYG editors for your content management system.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I have been trying to rebuild the Headscape website for a very long time. One of the main reasons for a rebuild is that our current site does not demonstrate the web standards and accessibility experience that has become core to our company’s approach.

The problem with Content management systems

Of course, it is relatively easy to build a web standards site and ensure it conforms to the basics of accessibility but it is much harder to keep it that way. In my experience, it is the WYSIWYG editor that often lets you down. The whole point of having a content management system is to enable even those with no programming knowledge to make changes to their site. Unfortunately, the majority of content management systems rely on editors that provide the user with little or no help ensuring that the underlying code is clean and accessible. The result is that within days of launching a site becomes non-compliant and potentially no longer accessible.

An outstanding solution

Enter XStandard.

Unlike many WYSIWYG editor that rely on native Internet Explorer Active X components, XStandard has been built from the ground up to provide standards based code and highly accessible content. Not only that it has been beautifully designed to be easy to use and novice friendly.

Superb features

Just some of my favourite features include:

  • The user selects from a list of clearly named tags that define what content is NOT what it should look like. The designer’s style sheet then automatically controls the appearance of these tags.
  • Encouraging the user to conform to accessibility guidelines. Wherever possible it automates this process and if it cannot it prompts the user.
  • Enables drag and drop of both images and files directly from your desktop
  • Microsoft word documents can be copied directly into the editor and it cleans the code and marks it up appropriately.
  • It has a multi-lingual spell checker built-in.

The list above refers to the best features from the users’ point of view. There are also numerous benefits from the programmers’ viewpoint as well.

Responsive customer support

The other thing that particularly impressed me is their customer support. We have received fast responses to our email enquiries and they have done everything possible to deal with all of our queries.

Problems with pricing

I have only one criticism of the product and that is its pricing policy. The price is calculated on both user licenses and site licenses which gets very complicated especially when integrated to a cms that can generate unlimited numbers of users.

However other than pricing I can thoroughly recommend this product. Not only will we be adopting this editor for our own site we will also be integrating it into all of our content managed sites moving forward. In fact I would go as far as saying that if you already have a content management system that uses another editor that you should seriously look at the possibility of retro fitting this editor into your site.