Why TinyMCE?

Posted by Joanna McLeod on 11 February 2011

There are a lot of questions we're asked quite frequently about SilverStripe, so we thought it might be a good idea to start addressing some of these through blog posts. First up, this tweet prompted us to talk about why we use TinyMCE as the WYSIWYG component of our CMS.

tinyMCE - not everyone's best friend

Sam Minnée, SilverStripe Ltd’s CTO, has the answer for this one.

There are many WYSIWYG editors available and TinyMCE isn't everyone's favourite. So why did we choose it in 2005 and why are we still using it in 2011? Why are we using it?

  • TinyMCE enjoyed market leadership in terms of open source editors when we first built the SilverStripe CMS back in 2005, so that’s why we have it to begin with.
  • Its license is compatible with SilverStripe's.
  • It has a wide set of features and plugins, that are often enabled on specific installations.
  • It has an active development team.
  • Our image & link inserters are custom-built for TinyMCE, so changing is non-trivial.

We recently looked for a suitable replacement for TinyMCE, to increase its speed and make it easier to customise. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a suitable replacement, so we're sticking with TinyMCE. However, the version of TinyMCE bundled with SilverStripe 2.4.4 is getting old and upgrading to the latest version of TinyMCE is on the roadmap for the next major release.

Another feature that we are hoping to add to SilverStripe CMS 3.0 is the ability to support different editing styles, such as Markdown, raw HTML editing, and/or alternative WYSIWYG editors.

If you know of a full featured, licence compatible, and actively maintained WYSIWYG editor that you think could be a replacement for TinyMCE, feel free to kick off a discussion at http://groups.google.com/group/silverstripe-dev.



As I mentioned, we’d like to regularly address readers’ questions about SilverStripe (specifically, any of the thinking behind it, as opposed to things that would be better asked on the forums), so please feel free to leave yours in the comments section.

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  • I agree with Dave's comment below.
    I have about 15 years experience and like Tiny MCE, yet a few bugs annoy me... Such as the way it messes up Google analytics code.

    It's a great CMS for small projects but is a little lacking for larger scale projects!

    Posted by Abe, 3 years ago @mradamdavies

  • Some reasons (amongst many) for why TinyMCE annoys me very much:

    - no support for google analytics code
    - terrible iframe support
    - no ability to embed videos through javascript
    - no direct way to change the colour of text

    I'm not a developer. I don't know how to write code and adapt how to accomplish the things above. However should I really have to? Should I have to hassle a developer just to be able to do the simple things above?

    Posted by Dave, 3 years ago

  • Hello!

    I stumble upon it and now I saw it's recommended for Drupal (http://drupalmodules.com/module/whizzywig-a-complete-wysiwyg-editor), so you test how would [http=http://unverse.net/Whizzywig-web-based-rich-text-editor]Whizzywig[/url] suite Silverstrip3.

    Posted by Gour, 3 years ago

  • Hello!

    At the moment I'm stil Concrete5 user, but my 'official' SilverStripe book is on the way. :-)

    More and more I read about Silverstripe features, I'm delighted how it is so nice piece of software.

    You wrote: "Another feature that we are hoping to add to SilverStripe CMS 3.0 is the ability to support different editing styles, such as Markdown..." and I consider it is very high on my top of priorities which will make SilverStripe even better platform.

    Sure, TinyMCE is cute, but having ability to write content in more appropriate markup (like extended Markdown) which can be kept under VCS is great (I'm coming from Haskell and familiar with Pandoc and its extensions).

    Since I'm just starting with SilverStripe I do no want to bother joining dev-list (not having much to offer atm), but, please, don't forget support for Markdown for 3.0!!

    Posted by Gour, 3 years ago

  • Hiya,

    reading about SS as potential replacement for Concrete5 and (better) alternative than MODX...I'm glad to see about "the ability to support different editing styles, such as Markdown".

    Posted by Gour, 3 years ago

  • Well said Sam - couldn't agree more! TinyMCE also makes it easy to control elements, attributes, etc in the HTML (through valid_elements for example, which Silver Stripe CMS has given some control to through _config).
    On a side note - in certain cases, I've seen people look at all the buttons offered with TinyMCE and mistake that area for Microsoft Word (or another notepad editor). In a broad perspective, they are not completely wrong in their thinking; however, the reality is they are two completely distant technologies and serve different applications. People simply expect a lot from anything that they already know can be accomplished (even if the tool in front of them isn't connected in any way to that other tool they are thinking of). For us, it's simply a matter of communicating what to expect from the editor up front, and how to use it properly.
    Further still, in most situations, we're finding the best solutions are those that don't use the WYSIWYG at all. For example; let's assume a client needs a page to manage hockey teams - instead of simply providing the WYSIWIG and training someone on how to use the various WYSIWYG buttons (like creating a table, adding a row for the new hockey team, inserting a picture in one of the cells, etc) we're finding the better solution (for the CMS user) is to make a Hockey-Team-specific-page that breaks those tasks into specific fields (i.e. 'Add new hockey team' button via DataObjectManager, with a field for the team name, an image field for the picture, etc). The unfortunate reality here, is that building custom solutions like this takes time, and not all projects can budget these tailored solutions.

    Posted by Rob M, 4 years ago

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