Letting go of the old, embracing the new

One of the main features of a CMS "has to be" a WYSIWYG editor. Clients want a familiar feeling, like they are just editing a Word document. For years this has been the way to go. Look at well known editors like TinyMCE & CKeditor.

What you see is not always what you want.

The fresh start made us rethink all features we have in our current CMS. The WYSIWYG editor choice was one of them. We've had several discussions on this topic: which plug-and-play editor we should use, which features we wanted or maybe even write our own.

What you get


The well known WYSIWYG editors have in common some important disadvantages:

TinyMCE alike editorsWhat we want
ugly (unsafe?) HTML output "no worry" output
bloated with features only what our clients really need
edit directly in preview keep code & preview seperated
adventurous extending easy extending


With Github, Basecamp & other, rather geeky sites, embracing simple markup languages like Markdown or Textile, we thought we should push our clients in that direction. We choose Markdown over Textile because of the Redcarpet Markdown parser, which gives us major extendability & has a large community.

But how to teach your client something like Markdown?

Markdown's power lays in it's simpleness. Looking at the WYSIWYG features our clients use (setting headers, putting text in bold, adding links, adding images), we've decided that everyone can learn to write these things in Markdown.


And yes, there will be a learning curve, but we believe that with the right tools, we can step away from an old rusted habbit. We are convinced that the satisfaction rate for clients while they write "code", and instantly see a preview as result, will be an extra win!


So we got busy! Googling for existing plugins, we found 2 solutions that marked our attention: MarkItUp & Epic Editor. Both with good features: editing Markdown, showing a preview & serving a toolbar for those who like clicking the buttons. But both have disadvantages, they don't do exactly what we want.


So we took the good parts from both and as result, we've built a prototype which convinced everyone in our team, to definitely go down this lane.

Color me intrigued! 

Oh good, you want the demo! We've made a quick demo to showcase all the magic!


This article was written on Mar 21, 2013 (snowing outside). Talking about a perfect (read: ideal) internet, where clean code is the standard.


00:03:29 688

Related to this #work