WordPress Editor has a number of annoyances. This is strange given that that a key strength of WordPress has been its Editor for ease of use and dual modes. Users for a long time have had a choice of working with the WYSIWYG Visual Editor or the HTML-based Text Editor. Many used both. But over the past 3-5 years trouble has been brewing with the WordPress Editor. It is remarkable that one of the key features that brought so many users users to WordPress is the source of annoyance and distress. Here are some growing beefs.
- First the Visual Editor does not respect selected/highlighted text in some Visual Edit operations. For example, in writing this post I selected the list of items below to be transformed into a numbered list. But WP’s Visual Editor added the line above “Word Press Editor has a number of ..” and included it into the numbered list. So I had to switch to Text mode in order to correct the position of the <ol> and <li> tags and then switch back to Visual mode. This is a a too frequently recurring nuisance.
- Next, with use of shortcodes, the Visual Editor is becoming very much less than WYSIWYG. So WP users really have no way of knowing what a page or post will look like without back-and-forthing between the editor and the page/post in preview mode. This is one of the reasons for the growing popularity of true WYSIWYG Page/Post Builder plugins like SiteOrigin’s .Page Builder [free plugin and very good], Beaver Builder [free lite and premium priced pro versions] and Visual Composer [premium plugin]. These tools help swing WordPress back into being a strong Agile development tool because developers can more readily prototype and interactively refine systems design. This fast, interactive refinement and debugging capability is further enhanced with a new set of Interactive CSS Editors,
- Another gotcha lurking in the WordPress editors occurs when switching between Visual and HTML edits, the editor has the nagging habit of either deleting HTML tags like <br/> or <hr> or inserting spurious tags [currently <p> ] in unrequested fashion. This extends to the popup WP editors as shown below:
This problem occurs when switching from HTML edit to Visual edit and then back. It is particularly annoying because users don’t see the strip away until they preview the Post or Page.
- There are so many good HTML editors for web development such as Brackets, NotePad++, and Sublime which offer code completion, code folding, tag balancing, color coding and beautifying among other features that the WordPress Editor does not have. Given that this editing technology is at least 4 years and benefits all users it is surprising that corresponding improvements have not been made to the WordPress HTML Editor. or appeared as a plugin. Worse, the HTML Editor in the new Calypso-based WordPress Editor is headed in the wrong direction with its hobbled interface.
- Finally, Google Fonts are not part of the tinyMCE editor which powers the Visual and HTML edits. Fortunately within the last two years plugins have become available and Google Font Manager has become a personal favorite because it has a great panel for choosing among the 733 Google Fonts. In addition, it adds the chosen Google fonts to the Font Family dropdown in the Visual Editor.
In sum, these are WordPress Edit Annoyances because they are not show-stoppers. Rather they are nuisances since there are work-arounds available. But this trend away from simple, WYSIWYG editing with strong dual-mode capabilities takes away some of the WP luster – ease of use plus quick and reliable editing have been traditional WP features. But equally disconcerting is that many of these problems have persisted for 3-5 years or more. Having viewed a glimpse of future editing trends in WordPress with the new Calypso-based WordPress.com editor, it is alarming to see that many of these problems continue or even get worse.
The only consolation, is that 3rd party developers, with their plugins and extensions, have brought interactive design and development of WordPress frontend UI/UX to a new level of effectiveness plus ease-of-use with interactive direct editing of web pages. But the problem is that many of the inherent Editor annoyances linger despite these UI/UX improvements because editor improvement appear not to have priority. Sound like the IE8 situation at Microsoft?