All modern content management systems provide a Word-style editor that lets non-technical staff edit and add content to web sites. It is a key part of enabling line staff around the organization to produce and manage their own content.
What you may not have realized is that you have several options avaiable for adding WYSIWYG editors (what you see is what you get) to your own web applications. Sometimes they are as easy to install as adding a few lines of code to a web page.
Here are a few free and commercial solutions for providing an easy to use text editor in your own web applications:
A widely used commercial editor from Ektron. It is also highly configurable and allows you tie down functionality to just what you want editors to have access too. It is not cross platform and only works on Windows-based browsers. (Their suggestion for Mac clients is a bit of a joke.)
Given all the options available, it is unreasonable not to provide a rich editor for your applications that should support user formatting of content.
Another commercial editor that I would recommend is RadEditor from Telerik. I’ve used the Telerik suite of controls on a number of projects and have found them to be well worth the money. Some of the features I really like are:
* Special paste from Word features which remove extraneous formatting
* XHTML compliant output
* Built in spellchecker that uses AJAX
* Multi-level undo and redo
* Support for common keyboard shortcuts such as CTRL + B for bold and CTRL + I for italics
Telerik has awesome support too!
For future readers, I’ll note that this system appears to be for ASP.NET applications only but should support authoring on the mac as well as Windows desktops.
Thanks for the great info David (and Don). From everything I’ve read, Telerik is the way to go for .Net apps – but the others are definitely worth looking at.
Just as an update on this subject, Radeditor has recently gone through a major revamp which improved it’s speed drastically.
We have subscribed to the Telerik suite of products for a couple of years now, and are really pleased with the product quality/support we have received from them.