Jan 06

I was recently presented with two projects at work that offered me a good opportunity to delve into the 'scary' world of Javascript WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) content editors for the web. 

Normally, I try to avoid Javascript like the plague, but lately with the advent of AJAX and Javascript effect packages, I'm feeling a bit more used to it.

In this case, I needed two specific and diverse solutions to a few problems I had.

Problem 1: I needed a way to embed an editable spreadsheet in a web page without any special plug-ins or proprietary Microsoft scripts.  In basic terms: a web spreadsheet application.

SolutionCodeThat, a small venture heralding from the Ukraine offers a powerful, simple, and easy to configure all-in-one solution called CodeThatGrid

The power of this software is it's simple ability to allow any web user access to a simplistic replica of Microsoft Excel.  It closely resembles Microsoft's product in form and function, so there isn't much of a learning curve.  Best of all, it's relatively lightweight size-wise and seems to have a robust feature-set.  Overall, I think it's a great solution for a tough problem. 

Problem 2: I needed a simple yet powerful text editor that would allow a user to post content to the web without the need to know any html or any knowledge beyond Microsoft Word.  In basic terms: an advanced rich text editor.

Solution:  After lot's of research, Moxiecode's TinyMCE seemed to have the easiest to use and most robustly supported Rich Text Editor I could find at this time. 

When fully decked out, this thing looks almost exactly like Microsoft Word… and has almost all of the features.  Some highlights: real-time spell checking, table support, image insertion (even an optional file/image management system), a fully-compliant gzip compressor, and support for PHP, JSP, .NET, and Coldfusion.  It works well and I'm thoroughly impressed by the wide range of plug-ins and options available for the software.

So, remember to check them out if you have a need for some powerful WYSIWYG tools for your next web project.  And no, neither one of these companies paid me for this review.  I truly just like them a lot!

3 Responses to “Javascript WYSIWYG Solutions: Excel & Word On The Web”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I totally agree about TinyMCE. I have used it before and it works real well but it can be a little slow sometimes.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Have you taken a look at Google docs? http://docs.google.com/

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Yeah, Google's stuff is really sweet and works better than any other WYSIWYG I've seen yet (which is why they are pretty popular).
    However, I can't embed a general worksheet into my site without relying on their servers, et cetera. I would have to have access to their API and the actual source files to achieve what I needed.
    Regardless, I hope that the makers of TinyMCE and CODETHATGRID take a few notes from Google. There are some particular features/aspects of Google's WYSIWYG apps that are very impressive and very useful.
    - Dustin

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