Bye bye RTE

11:15 Tue 20th Jun 2006 |

We have removed the Rich Text Editor from the site. �No!� you cry. Well, this was not an easy decision for us but here�s why we�ve done it, in order of importance:

The code for the Rich Text Editor (RTE) is in JavaScript and runs on the client side (in the user�s browser). This means it is susceptible to infiltration by malware running on user�s machines. This has resulted in many posts containing spurious extra content that we were completely unable to control, to the frustration of ourselves and the users involved.

The RTE is not cross-browser compatible. It doesn�t work in Mozilla browsers (e.g. Firefox). All our Mozilla users have been posting in the same manner as all now have to since time immemorial.

Add to this the fact that the RTE will not work in Internet Explorer 7 and you can see we had to act.

The RTE is buggy. Many users have complained about how links are sometimes badly formatted. This was a function of bugs in the RTE and won�t happen any more.

Analysing the posts that people made we ascertained that the only functionality users took advantage of – other than to label links – with any regularity was to make text bold, italic or underlined.

Even then less than 8% of posts contain any formatting.

We felt that by reverting to a basic HTML text area we would solve all the technical problems with the current submission process, avoid similar problems with other client-side solutions, yet still be able to offer users the ability to format their posts, albeit in a more cumbersome fashion.

Please see How do I format my posts in the FAQs for a brief description of how to use the four permissible tags.

Inevitably the loss of the RTE for IE users will cause heartache where it was working correctly. Undoubtedly some users’ experience has been compromised for the greater good but we are committed to a program of improving the Answerbank this year and we hope that all users similarly affected by the removal of the RTE understand that technical resource we save supporting this feature can be better employed enhancing user experience elsewhere on the site.

Please also note that with the release a bug was inadvertently introduced into the navigation of questions in �my profile�. This has now been fixed.

Do you have a question about Editor's Blog?