Barebones CMS

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I will be dropping WYMEditor as the content editor of choice
For the last 8+ years, Barebones CMS has used WYMEditor as the content editor of choice.  There are several reasons that I will be dropping it in the future:
  • The last upstream source code push appears to be at least a year ago. The developers have more or less disappeared from existence and the issues in the issue tracker keep growing. These are critical signs of a dead project.
  • jQuery 3 breaks WYMEditor. Badly. The worst part is that there are no errors being emitted, which means the editor is not only breaking, it breaks silently. This is a huge problem as I like to stay up on the latest jQuery builds. I don't see any issues in the issue tracker, so it could be something I put together but I'm tired of dealing with WYMEditor's finickiness.
  • Some portions of WYMEditor have always been broken (I disable them by default in my wrappers) and some parts are slowly breaking as web browser technology advances. For example, links use a real browser popup window that randomly stops working correctly. A cache flush and reload corrects the problem for a while. The link window used to work fine across all browsers.
  • Every major release of WYMEditor has forced me to rewrite large swaths of code just to get it barely working again. The last rewrite broke the Classes box such that they are always grayed out for whatever reason despite working fine. The developers never stuck to a stable API nor provided sufficient migration documentation, leaving it to users like me to figure things out.
  • Other visual editors have made significant strides and improvements with regards to their HTML output. I suspect those changes were in response to WYMEditor basically bashing them for their terrible non-compliance with standards. Even TinyMCE, the seemingly ever-popular editor that I still think is pretty terrible, has made some actual improvements in TinyMCE v4. Maybe TinyMCE 5 will actually be good.
  • The current WYMEditor build system is convoluted and never worked for me. When I first started using WYMEditor, the developers were using a make-based system and it just worked. I was able to do what I wanted relatively easily and development was humming along upstream at a relatively steady pace. When they rewrote their build system about 3 years ago and made it extremely complex, I was no longer able to build the software in any environment that I tried. So I had to rely on the occasional release build to appear. I suspect this is one of the main reasons that development of the WYMEditor project saw attrition (see my first point) - they simply made it too difficult to work on/with and lost developer interest as a result.
  • Smartphones and tablets hit the scene in 2011 but only really came into their own around 2014 (took a few years to settle). WYMEditor, at least the way I use it, does not work at all on mobile devices. Editing a website is still very much a desktop-oriented task, but support would be a nice-to-have.
  • It looks kind of dated. The various icons need a refresh. There are lots of options to choose from these days to offer a consistent user experience.

I am leaning heavily toward ContentTools as the replacement for WYMEditor. I can break their demo but only through fringe cases, which is a very good sign. Core functionality out of the box appears to mirror a lot of what made WYMEditor a good choice. That's better than TinyMCE, which I can fundamentally break every single time I go to use it (still). At a cursory integration level, ContentTools appears to be an excellent starting point. It's not complete but definitely a good start.

Hey, 8+ years is a good run. WYMeditor was flexible and worked. And even at the time, it was a far better solution to TinyMCE, CKEditor, and everything else out there. But a dead project is a dead project and the problems with it are too great when other, working, actively developed solutions exist now that didn't exist before.
Author of Barebones CMS

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