A rich text editor (RTE) is a WYSIWYG editor that renders in your browser and allows you to create content with rich formatting without the hassle of learning HTML or other markup languages. Internet Explorer was the first browser to add such a feature to allow the users edit some HTML elements directly from the browser and other popular browsers followed too. Today, there are hundreds of free, commercial and custom editors that has been built for specific projects or as standalone projects. We showcase some of them here with some info about their API and unique features.
Web Wiz comes with a lot of features and an option to download for free. It works on all popular browsers and the design mode is very stable.
Cross-Browser RTE is free to use but in order to customize it, you have to purchase the source code. It is a simple RTE like TTW.
The Rich Text Editor is a UI control that replaces a standard HTML textarea; it allows for the rich formatting of text content, including common structural treatments like lists, formatting treatments like bold and italic text, and drag-and-drop inclusion and sizing of images. The Rich Text Editor’s toolbar is extensible via a plugin architecture so that advanced implementations can achieve a high degree of customization.
Wikiwyg is a very exciting RTE that aims on providing a decent RTE for Wikis and it supports Wikitext too. The documentation of the editor will get you started right away.
widgEditor is an easily installed, easily customizable WYSIWYG editor for simple content. In order to use the editor, you only have to include the js file and all textareas will be transformed into RTEs.
Whizzywig is a lightweight RTE that uses just one file to do all it’s magic. It is extremely powerful for it’s size and produces valid XHTML. You can customize the toolbar, load your CSS to make it stick to your project’s style and more.
A very basic RTE that could come handy if you want to add simple rich text editing functionality to your projects. Supports many features of an RTE but it lucks dialogs and image insertion the author states that:
This editor does support the adding of images into the content window. However, at this time, I have the option disabled in the editor.js file because of the need for a server-side script (my implementation is done in PHP).
SPAW is another popular RTE that from version 2.0 and above has become a state of the art, full featured rich text editor. Version 2 introduces new industry unique tabbed multi-document interface feature. Now you can edit virtually unlimited number of HTML snippets in a single WYSIWYG instance.
BXE is a browser based Wysiwyg XML Editor – and that changes everything! You can edit now your content semantically and at the same time display it to your users and editors in its final form.
WYMeditor tries to see things in a different way than any other RTE. WYMeditor’s main concept is to leave details of the document’s visual layout, and to concentrate on its structure and meaning, while trying to give the user as much comfort as possible (at least as WYSIWYG editors). This is why the authors of WYMeditor describe the RTE as WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean). It is a very semantic editor and uses CSS for styling elements. Styles can be applied from within the editor using prefefined classes that are loaded with the editor. The library is a jQuery plugin.
Xinha is one of my favorite RTEs. Xinha is fully extendable through plugins and it uses a rich API that can help you built the editor of your choice. It is based on on HTMLArea which was produced in the past by Interactive Tools. Xinha is an open source project and it will remain one judging from the developers message on the Xinha homepage. Xinha is a bit more complicated than TinyMCE and CKEditor from the amateur users view, since it needs a better understanding of the API but once you master it, you will never want to use another editor.
TinyMCE from Moxiecode is the rival to CKEditor since it is as well very popular and powerful. TinyMCE is used in hundreds of projects like WordPress and Joomla, companies like Microsoft and Oracle and many other individuals that use it in their projects. The editor supports insertion of predefined templates and this is a unique feature built-in the editor. TinyMCE also comes as a jQuery plugin.
Formerly known as FCKEditor, CKEditor is one of the top RTEs around with a large community, strong support and is extensively documented. CKEditor is a valid XHTML aware editor. This means that it produces valid XHTML code that does not break your page’s validation and layout. You can do nearly anything you would with a desktop editor, it can be extended with custom plugins and it is very user friendly.