How to use only one editor window

I’ve been getting a fair amount of complaints about our instance of Discourse being “too technical”. One case of this is the text editor window and the preview window next to it. Personally I see the utility in having it, however these members are requesting that it be only one editor window, similar to how email works.

I’m aware there is an option to hide the preview, however what I’m hoping for is what we see in the preview window, to be what’s in the editor. Example of this would be when I make something bold, not have the 4 asterisks surrounding the text, and instead simply becoming bold.

Hopefully this makes sense, goal is to make it less like someone is working in Codepen and more like they’re working in Word.

Is such a thing possible?

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This has been a subject of much debate over the years Search results for 'WYSIWYG' - Discourse Meta

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It has been discussed over and over (even this last week) to replace the editor with something like TinyMCE or another WYSIWYG. They always close and point to other threads, so I’m guessing it isn’t gonna happen in the core project.

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I see, is it not possible for this be toggle-able?

That’s unfortunate, thanks for the info though!

No, there is no WYSIWYG and likely never will be.

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Maybe all you want is to turn off the preview? This might help: Auto-Hide Post Editor Preview

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Doesn’t sound like it.

If turning off the preview also made the normal editor into a WYSIWYG editor then yes, however that’s not the case. I hope at some point this can be a toggle between the two kinds of editors instead of forcing markdown. I know there are more benefits to markdown however we’re seeing a lot of abrasion to it and it’s impacting our UX

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Oh. Sorry. As Stephen said, that’s almost certainly not going to happen. If you want a WYSIWYG editor you’ll probably need to use something other than Discourse.

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Understood, thanks for hearing me out!

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This is my summary of the issues with selected posts for flavor. It might help others to understand why a WYSIWYG (What you See Is What You Get) editor is not going to be a development in core Discourse:

  1. The stated position is that Discourse will not be developing a WYSIWYG editor.
    1. This position has been unchanged since the first request for a WYSIWYG editor.
    2. There is not widespread support for changing this position.
  2. The current editor affects this topic in two ways:
    1. The Discourse editor is relatively complex.
    2. The Discourse editor is completely owned within Discourse.
  3. The primary issue is that WYSIWYG solutions will be extremely difficult to implement.
    1. No reliable solution currently exists.
    2. Attempts to develop a solution have all floundered.
    3. Replacement editors have been suggested but not pursued.
  4. FYI, some want the other extreme which is a plain text editor

1. The stated position is that Discourse will not be developing a WYSIWYG editor.

1.1 This position has been unchanged since the first request for a WYSIWYG editor.

1.2 There is not widespread support for changing this position.

Many users, probably the vast majority, have no requirement or need for this to change.

2. The current editor.

The current editor affects this topic in two ways.

2.1 The Discourse editor is relatively complex

There are a lot of reasons for this complexity.

One reason is that the current editor provides three methods to format text. It would be much simpler if only markdown had to be considered:

  1. CommonMark markdown e.g. **bold** gives bold
  2. BBCodes e.g.[b]bold[/b] gives bold
  3. HTML e.g. <b>bold</b> gives bold

2.2 The Discourse editor is completely owned within Discourse.

There is no external dependency for the software. This is not the case when proposing alternative editors even when they are open source.

3. The primary issue is that WYSIWYG solutions will be extremely difficult to implement.

It will not be an easy or simple task to modify the existing editor, integrate a WYSIWYG editor or replace the current editor entirely.

3.1 No reliable solution currently exists.

This is a particular sticking point. There is no reliable solution for translating between the current editor and any WYSIWYG option.

3.2 Attempts to develop a solution have all floundered.

A number of people have started working on solving these issues and have not progressed to a solution.
e.g. WYSIWYG Editor Plugin

Here’s an early blue-sky estimate for markdown to wysiwyg:

3.3 Replacement editors have been suggested but not pursued.

Replacement editors essentially have to meet the same requirements because they will otherwise permanently fork Discourse with no migration path.

In other words, replacing the Discourse editor would break existing instances so we have the same requirement for reliable translation of existing posts.
e.g. Who would prefer a standard wysiwyg to markdown?

4. FYI, some want the other extreme which is a plain text editor.

Some sites would prefer plain text stripped of any formatting, preview and WYSIWYG.

One option is to disable the composer toolbar to give the appearance of text-only input.

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Haha @Remah now that’s what I call a thorough response!. :).

All other things notwithstanding did this developer ever share his codebase with other developers? Given the huge complexity of the task that won’t have been a good move in relation to achieving ultimate success. If you don’t open source you can’t leverage the community.

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No activity since his last post in that topic.

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Ok, good to know. Wasn’t aware of this factor, also thank you for the great write up!

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The reality is that formatting is rarely needed. Most posts are plain text like this one.

If you want to hide the preview I think that is a fine solution in light of the statistical reality. Plain text rules everything around us!

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