October 11, 2004

Round-up of Rich Text Editor Controls

We, Onlinefocus, are trying to standardize on one Rich Text Editor type of control.  Being the lead developer who will be implementing them, by default I am in charge of choosing which one it will be.  I still hoping to find an article where someone else has already done the dirty work and put together a little comparison and/or graded the tools, but if not then I may just publish my own experiences.

Here is what I will be looking for: control is freeware, open source, shareware, or inexpensive; control is easy to implement in ASP.NET; has lots of good features like image upload, paste from Word, etc.; could be useful if it could be used in ASP as well as PHP, JSP, etc. Since the tool will primarily be used in behind-the-scenes administrative-type pages then cross-browser functionality is not required, but it would be nice since I use Firefox almost full-time now.  That's about all I can think of for now.

Following are some that I have either used before or downloaded and played around with along with some initial comments:

  • I just found this one a few days ago, and it looks pretty nice: FCKeditor – says that it works in Mozilla/Firefox as well as IE. I have downloaded it, but I haven't played with it yet.  Looks to have some promise - has samples/source in ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, among others.  Could be a good choice for organization working in various platforms.
  • I have played around with this one a little recently, works really nice in ASP.NET: FreeTextbox 2.0, it is an ASP.NET server control so it is basically as easy as dropping it in place of an existing multi-line texbox in a form.  This one has a great resume, including being used in .Text.   
  • I have used this before in projects and in some of my own products: YusASP's Advanced Content Editor (ACE) - This one has tons of features, but only works in IE and it is written in ASP not ASP.NET.  I have implemented it in .NET since the code for the box itself is just JavaScript, but a lot of the secondary functionality pages (like image upload, etc) are written in ASP.  This one does have nice image upload functionality.
  • Just for another example, here is another: WebWiz Guide's Rich Text Editor.  This one is nice and simple, but does require links to their site on pages where it is used.

Are there any others that anyone recommends?  Or feel free to comment on your experiences and/or preferences with any of the above.

UPDATE (10/18/2004):

I installed and played around with the FCKeditor and I liked it - the best feature being that it is cross-browser functional.  I don't care for their image upload functionality, though, and it is definitely not as easy to implement in ASP.NET as FreeTextBox, but it is not all that difficult.

I had decided that the tool with the feature set I like the most is YusASP's ACE, but that may be because I have used it before and am comfortable with it.  But nonetheless, I do like it the best.  It is not simple to implement, though, and when using in ASP.NET creates a mix of ASP.NET and ASP pages (for image upload, etc).   I wrote to Yusuf (YusASP) and asked if they had developed an ASP.NET version or if they were planning on it.  I got a response saying that they do have a different version that is easy to implement in ASP.NET and it has the same royalty free licensing agreement.  Plus all the feature set seems to work the same as the other version I had worked with: BINGO.  I suspect that some of the axillary files (image upload, table, setup, etc) still make use of classic ASP pages, but that is not a big deal.  The only real drawback is that it only works in IE 5.5+.  That's not a deal-breaker, though, because our primary purpose for this tool is for use in password protected administrative functionality - for editing page content, job listings, etc.  It would be nice to find one that worked in other browsers, though.

My search is not complete, I will be buying the buying a copy of the InnovaStudio WYSIWYG editor, though.  We'll see what happens once I get to play with it some.

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  1.  avatar Santy says:

    Hi friend! I have just read your topic and i would like to give you this url: http://lukcad.russia.webmatrixhosting.net/gv/ Register you there and you will see how it is works.

  2.  avatar Mischa Kroon says:

    I have experience with Freetextbox v1 and v2... FCKeditor was an editor I also found just a few days back.



    The old Freetextbox had something which was really good: an image gallery something which FTB 2.0 misses ( along with image uploading capability's ).



    Which makes it a lot less attractive to deploy to a backend (CMS) it does have multi browser support which it didn't have in v1.



    FCK editor does have image uploading support for what I've seen.


    But haven't tried it.



    You might also want to take a look at:


    http://www.dynarch.com/projects/htmlarea/


  3.  avatar Ken (---pan---) says:

    Just wanted to add my opinion about YusASP's ACE...



    A few years ago, I can not so fondly recall trying to create "rich text" admin areas for clients. These usually consisted of a textarea where the user would have to wrap the content they wanted formatted with a begin marker and an end marker, the user would then have to click a button that would fire some javascript, and replace the markers with the appropriate HTML tag. It was confusing for the user and a lot of times the user would manage to leave a tag open - blowing up the HTML for the whole page.



    Then one day I ran across YusASP's ACE, it was a godsend...it met and far exceeded all of our requirements for the controlled platform (IE) intranets we were working. I remeber thinking, Styles? you can apply styles? this is one swank tool.



    Since then we have modified ACE to meet many different project requirements - from adding image mapping capabilities to inserting "merge" fields for email blasts. The base functionality and ease of adding new features make this one fine bit of code.

  4.  avatar Dan says:

    Thanks for the input, Ken. I wholeheartedly agree.

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