Last Friday I had the pleasure of meeting Roger Johansson, who was visiting our beautiful capital, Stockholm. He was attending a usability conference (with Jakob Nielsen, amongst others). We met up for a short “fika” (something like having a cup of coffee/tea with optional cookie/cake to go with it), and talked about web development. Roger has gotten some attention here in Sweden recently, bringing up the discussion about (the lack of) accessibility when it comes to web sites in the public sector (article: Webben är inte öppen fÃ¶r alla ).
Something we really agreed on is the lack of respect CMS manufacturers show their clients when they create administrative interfaces that only work in IE on a PC. As if that wasn’t enough, their WYSIWYG editors generate terrible and invalid code that cannot be presented as strict HTML or XHTML. We’re talking about editors that generate deprecated tags, upper-case tags, attribute values without quotes, invalid attributes and so on. Basically, worthless code that also (as to top it off) isn’t well-formed, hence impossible to use in a stricter XHTML/XML scenario.
Why do they do this to us? Is it because of a lack of knowledge, or out of laziness, taking the easy way out? Maybe I’m cynical, but I’m apt to believe in the latter. I’ve met many developers that just think it’s a hassle to produce valid code, and their beloved Microsoft makes it oh so easy for them, so why should they bother going the extra mile?
With all the different web browsers on the market now, be it for computers, cell phones or PDAs, the initiative and responsibility to make the web accessible for everyone has to be taken seriously.
Another alternative is XStandard, which uses a plug-in for advanced control over the editing. Unfortunately, it only works on PCs.
Using a WYSIWYG tool in your application/-s? Please take your responsibility and make sure that it generates valid (and hopefully semantically correct) code!