Should WordPress Provide an API for Third-Party Editors?
Imagine a future where you log into your website’s admin. You head over to the editor. This particular editor has all the tools and features in place that make you more efficient at producing whatever content you put out for the world to see. You immediately start tapping keys or dragging your mouse around the screen, satisfied with what the software you’re using has to offer. Today, that editor may be the default block editor for WordPress. Some may be running the Classic Editor plugin for a familiar writing experience. Others will be crafting beautiful layouts with the Elementor page builder. As of this week, people are finding themselves at home with Iceberg, an interface built on top of the block editor for folks who prefer a minimalist environment and love Markdown. Some bloggers post by email. Others use apps from their phone. And, an entire class of people works in third-party, offline editors such as Microsoft Word, Atom, and plain ol’ Notepad. If there is one thing I have come to realize over the years it is that editing environments are as varied as the people who use them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The experience I am looking for is not necessarily the same experience you need. Given the freedom to choose, most people would rearrange their desk, use a different notepad, and opt for a different writing utensil than their neighbor. Even if starting with the same tools, we eventually make tweaks to accommodate our personal tastes. Throughout most of its history, WordPress has had a single editor that its users shared. It has changed over time — even the addition of TinyMCE was once controversial. However, the default editor has never been sufficient for every user. Personally, I abhorred the classic editing experience. It led me to write in various Markdown editors over the years for efficiency and a true distraction-free experience. It has also led to developers taking on the challenge of creating alternative experiences for large swaths of end-users. As much as many people love the classic WordPress editor, it was a pain for many others. Otherwise, all of the tools that have cropped up over the years would have been unnecessary. In much the same way, the block editor is often a love-it-or-hate-it experience. It is the ideal editing environment for many users. For others, it is a roadblock at best. At worst, it is worthy of a gasoline soaking and a book of matches. The promise of WordPress is to provide an editing experience that allows people from all walks of life to publish their content on the web. The promise is to make that experience as pain-free as possible and to continue iterating toward that unattainable-but-worthwhile-goal of perfecting the publishing process. WordPress — any publishing platform for that matter — is only as good as its editor. It is a predicament. There is no way to make the ideal editor for all people. What’s the next move? An Editors Registry and API In the comments of the Tavern’s Iceberg editor coverage, Phil Johnston proposed a solution for WordPress going forward. “With all of the amazing publishing experiences coming out, I wonder if it’s time for WP to include the concept of ‘Editors,’”, he wrote. “Like an official registry of installed Editors.” He later created a feature request that called for an API that would make it easier for plugin authors to create new editing experiences on top of WordPress. » Read More
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