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Monday, February 25, 2008

FCKeditor - Embedded HTML Editor

For a recent project, I wanted something fancier than a regular HTML text area to allow user input with formatting. "Something like the editor on Blogger", I thought.

After hitting Google, I ran across FCKeditor. I had heard of it before, and even played with the demo once, but never did anything with it. Never had much of a reason to. Today that all changed.

After reading through the Developers Guide, I downloaded the ZIP, unpacked into my public web directory, and had it working in no time. In less than 30 minutes, I had the FCKeditor completely tied into an existing Rails form, replacing a boring old text area. After a few minutes of testing inserts and updates, and some cross-browser testing with Firefox and Internet Exploiter, I was happy.

There were only a few lines of JavaScript code to add to the page, and those are all spelled out in the Developer's Guide, so I don't feel the need to repeat those here.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike a lot of open source projects out there, this was extremely easy to get started with, easy to install and embed into existing applications, and the documentation was pretty good for a change. The quality so far has also been nothing short of impressive. (the editor is more full-featured than the one Blogger uses.)

It's licensed under the GPL, LGPL, or MPL (your choice), and can be embedded in any project, open source or commercial. Also, in addition to the JavaScript version I used today, there are versions for JSP, ColdFusion, PHP, Python, etc.

This project today was just a personal side project, but I think FCKeditor might find it's way into my arsenal for work projects as well.

1 comment:

Stoner said...

FCKeditor is pretty cool. I see it a lot. The one thing that bothers me about it is the sheer number of gif images it uses (depending on the features you enable.) For some web sites, there is a noticeable delay when loading the page with the editor. For very high performance web sites, you may want to consider moving the FCKeditor off your application server and onto a static content server. Your application server should process your application code and deliver as little static content as possible.