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Basic Things You Need To Know Before Building A Rich Text Editor (WYSIWYG)

|  2 years ago |   843 views

In today’s world people continuously create and share content with others. Even in some cases, people need to work together through the internet. A rich text editor helps people to create content on the go. Also, more than one person can work on the same project at the same time on these rich text editors. There are already many rich text editors available on the internet. For example, CKEditor, summer note, and Google Docs are some of the successful rich text editors. In this article, you will know how these text editors work. Also, you will get to know the basic things before building a rich text editor/ WYSIWYG.

Basic of Document structure

Good user experience is the key to a successful business. There are already many rich text editors available on the internet. But these text editors are continuously upgrading. These products plan on providing the best user experience to their customers. Some simple tweaks can make the user experience much smoother. However, if one wants to build a rich text editor then he must know the basics of the document structure. This rich text editor is more helpful with less coding creating web content and blog writing etc.  Now web designing companies use web editors using dynamic content creation for a better user experience with less programming skills and save time.

Document Nodes

Document nodes are the backbone of a document. It represents the contents of the document. There are some common types of document nodes. For example, headings, paragraphs, images, videos, and pull quotes. Most rich text editors contain these common document nodes. Some nodes may contain children-nodes inside them. For example, paragraph nodes contain text nodes. Also, nodes can hold properties. For instance, the image node contains image src properties.

There are two main kinds of document nodes.

·        Block nodes: Each Block nodes render on a new line. Also, they occupy the available width. Block nodes may contain other block nodes inside them. In short, block nodes are the top-level nodes in rich text documents.

·        Inline nodes: Each Inline nodes render on the same line as the previous one. How Inline nodes are represented may differ depending on editing libraries.


In a rich text document, attributes represent the non-content properties of a node. In a document, text can be bold or italic. This is a character-style attribute of a text node. Attributes are very important to give your document an aesthetic look. You cannot create a well-organized document without attributes. And in this world of content creators, it is a very important thing.

Location and selection

A proper understanding of document structure is the key to building a rich text editor. So, when you are building a rich text editor you need to know how you can position even a dot with some kind of coordinate. This gives us an understanding of where in the document we are. Our users can easily navigate the document in real-time. Location and selection make the editing experience easier. Here are some examples of how it may help the user:

·        The user is hovering the cursor over the image. Then the editor should show him the option to resize the image.

·        The user may select some text. The rich text editor should show him some options. For example, copy, cut, paste, insert links, and many more.

There are some concepts of location and selection that will help you understand it clearly.

·        Path: From the name, you can guess it is a path to something. An array of numbers represents the path. And the path shows you the way to get to a node in a rich text document. For example, the path [3, 2] represents the 2nd child node of the 3rd node.

·        Point: Point gives the more specific location details. This is also represented by an array of numbers. But in this case, offset is added with the path. For example, point {path: [3,2], offset:4} means the 4th character of the 2nd child node of the 3rd node.

·        Range: Range represents a range of text inside the document. A pair of points represent the range. Anchor and Focus are the names of two points.


Building Rich Text editor

Now as you know the basics of document structure you can now proceed with building a rich text editor. Keep in mind that, a smooth seamless experience should be the main focus. Think like a user. What would you want from a rich text editor? Then start working on that. The reference code for a rich text editor is available on GitHub. So you can use that code to start your project. And then add the special features of your text editor. If you are successful to provide a good user experience then more people will use your text editor.



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