The scary looking abbreviation actually means What You See Is What You Get. WYSIWYG HTML editors are set to build web pages even with no knowledge of HTML principles. The working space of the platform is designed in a way similar to a rather familiar for most users MS Word’s interface. It has various tools for editing texts, adding images with their further adjustments, inserting links, and etc. Basically, the working process is intuitive and understandable even if the user has no experience of working with any text editor at all. The magic of programming is behind the scene. Any step you proceed in creating a web page is automatically supported by an appropriate HTML code. However, if you have some skills and knowledge in direct coding, it is also possible to use a HTML code viewer that displays the code of the web page you create. It is not necessary, but to some extent, this will add control on the quality of the web page created.
For a better understanding of the WYSIWYG website builders let’s compare its pros and cons. The obvious advantages include the following:
- simplicity — probably the main feature of the platform. It is easy to use and doesn’t require special technical background or skills. Anyone can start creating a web page with WYSIWYG editors;
- oriented on an appealing design — the additional focus on the way the page looks is gained through having no need to pay attention to the way the HTML code looks;
- specification benefits — some steps are easier due to special functions of WYSIWYG. For example, creating a table is faster due to having layouts of the table instead of typing out necessary tags manually;
- accuracy — in most text editors you have to perform tag validation and use specific tools while with WYSIWYG a possible mistake will be in design only.
Despite its advantages, WYSIWYG editors are criticized a lot, especially by experienced developers. Main disadvantages include:
- HTML editors often create an excessive code that makes the web page bulky in size. This leads to a slower download of the page which is uncomfortable and tiring for users;
- the importance of image ALT attribute is not explicitly pointed out by WYSIWYG editors as well as the heading tags of a web page. If these aspects are missed, it will complicate the website’s recognition by search engines;
- some editors allow using “browser specific HTML tags” that are suitable for specific browsers and ignored by the rest. However, such tags are also usually not compliant with the HTML standards set by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium);
- HTML tables to layout a page are an old technique that is displaced by Cascading Style Sheets;
- WYSIWYG editors are weak in optimizing the website for search engines which is vital for a successful project. No matter how excellent your web page is, if it is hard for users to locate it;
- knowledge of HTML code versus knowledge of WYSIWYG editors is a lot more demanded on the market because it’s more flexible and profound which allows successful accomplishment of a wider range of tasks for even less time.
All in all, the question of using WYSIWYG editors is strictly connected to the aim of creating a web page. For the purpose of a hobby, blog, or presenting information, there’s no meaningful reason to abandon the idea of using the HTML editors by a regular PC user. But for the professional development and improving website building skills, it is not enough, and one should consider studying HMTL coding.