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Xopus: In-Browser XML Editing

Edited by chromatic
December 2002

While HTML has matured over the years, the basic form controls have stagnated. In particular, the TEXTAREA widget, used for everything from writing weblogs to updating Web sites, has not advanced since the early nineties. Jon Udell has long lamented this lack of innovation. A recent entry in his weblog, on the Xopus in-browser XML editor, precipitated this discussion on the editors list.

Edd Dumbill:

I saw a demo of this recently at the OSCOM in Berkeley. I remain skeptical that in-browser WYSIWYG editing is that useful in the large, despite most people "wanting" something like that. It's just so incredibly awkward to express structure.

For most data entry purposes I have more interest in XForms and various functional equivalents.

Not to say that Xopus isn't a good piece of engineering, though. Being able to do such things with Mozilla is simultaneously brilliant and deeply obscene.

-- Edd, still a confirmed text editor freak

Jon Udell:

I actually share Edd's skepticism, in the sense that I don't think a purely JavaScript-based solution will succeed. I do think that a standard plug-in-style component, embeddable in both the browser (as a TEXTAREA replacement) and in GUI apps (as a rich text component), is something we badly need across browsers and OSs. It's looking as though that component would want to implement XForms. This is why the Mozquito Technology's experiments with Flash, CSS, and XForms seem particularly interesting. But really, after all these years, can't we have at least a basic rich-edit control spec'd as part of HTML and included natively in browsers?

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