What I Hated the Least Today 172/365: Not WYSIWYG

Not nice
Not nice

*Disclaimer: This post might give a misleading impression that it’s informed. It’s not.*

I admit to writing this in the WordPress Visual Editor, which is a WYSIWYG editor. WYSIWYG is from What you see is what you get, which isn’t entirely the case. While I’m usually quite happy not having to code when I write, occasionally I get fancy ideas and wish to do extravagant things in my posts, like writing code or inserting a table. If you ever fancied a table, you would have noticed that this option is missing from the Visual Editor, so you have to tabulate from scratch.

Elsewhere than on this blog, I’m working with a particularly nasty species of a WYSIWYG editor. It does what other WYSIWYGs do—making a huge mess when switching between WYSIWYG and HTML—and a little extra on top. On one hand, I’m flattered that it writes much worse code than me. On the other hand, I’m scared to publish the code it produces. I recommend to your attention the screenshot above, especially the very curious non-breaking space inserted in between paragraph tags (why?) and the very inelegant way it uses the span tag where no span tag is needed.

I mean, why do it like this…

<li><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">Item one</span></li>
<li><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">Item two</span></li>
<li><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">Item three</span></li>

… when you could do it like this?

<ul style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">
<li>Item one</li>
<li>Item two</li>
<li>Item three</li>

Of course, I’m probably missing something because I have no clue what I’m talking about. This doesn’t make me less upset though. I think that WYSIWYGs and OCD people with a sense for detail (= me) shouldn’t co-exist in the same universe. One of us must go. Therefore, I declare a war on WYSIWYGs and shall henceforth write all my blog posts in HTML. Just because. And since this is supposed to be a post about what I hated the least, not the most, let’s say that I’ll write in HTML because I can, and that’s what I hated the least today. Not much to be proud of, but it’s more than WYSIWYGs can be.


Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

14 thoughts

  1. Yeah right, beauty mate, gotcha, clear as mud…..havea goodone…Aussie speak……lol……I think I’m displaying my ignorance!!! Have a good day…


  2. Good questions, and legitimate. What happens if you remove the span style and the nbsp;? Does that alter the look of things?

    Before there were blogs, people had web pages, or so called “home pages”. I had one. I wrote it all up in Notepad. So I wrote a helluva lot of tables. Now I don’t think I’ve written up a HTML-table since 2006 (or so). Here, in WordPress, I haven’t had the need to. Now I think it would be fun 🙂


    1. Ah, coding in Notepad, my beginnings too… Now I use a dedicated app that “colour codes” the code and indents it for easier reading. The colour coding is very useful, and while it makes things easier, it doesn’t compromise the code quality. It’s not like I’m writing any serious code. But I like to get it right all the same.

      I can’t say what would happen in this particular case if I were to remove the spans and the nbsps, I didn’t try. What I did try was Googling why WYSIWYG editors produce such cumbersome code, but didn’t find any interesting information – though I found a large number of articles raving about how DreamWeaver is different. Oh well. That wasn’t the answer I was looking for…


      1. I think I’ve seen programmes for cleaning up unnecessary code.

        Boy, was that ever different … it was painful! Many people swear by it, though. I think it’s all a matter of how you start out. The one you happen to start with, tends to feel “right”. That’s how I feel about PhotoShop.


        1. Yes, you’re right, it so much depends on how you start! I’m glad I took the W3Schools advice when I started learning code and used just Notepad. Some software that is supposed to help you only makes things worse…


      1. Working on code is enjoyable, specifically with CSS. HTML is a pain. I’d like to have access to the PHP side of my site but that means going self hosted. Did that before, didn’t care for it.


        1. It’s the other way round for me, I’m better with HTML than CSS. As to PHP, I know better than to touch it 😮 I think WordPress-hosted is the better choice for a personal blog. Self-hosted might be the better choice for professional sites.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm, I have done a little of this (and hated it with a passion), using Textpad I think which was my goto editor for a bit of basic, a little java and CNC code. But not all together fortunately


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