The 6 Million Dollar WYSIWYG Editor

OK, I’m exaggerating. I’ve never actually seen a 6 million dollar WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. But, I have seen a 2 million dollar WYSIWYG editor and multitudes of them in the 100K – 500K price range. When we work with clients regarding web operational concerns, I always ask to see any incumbent content management systems -- and sometimes I see some big expensive ones. What’s really sad is that when I ask why they purchased a pricey system in the first place, frequently the response is that they wanted to be able to “lock down” certain aspects of a page, such as the global navigation or the header and footer. They were sick of casual contributors making modifications to a page that weren’t in line with the corporate style guidelines -- technically known as “making ugly pages.” Yet, all that was really required was the enforcement of web standards and a customizable WYSIWYG editor with some “template lite” functionality. I don’t know who’s at fault here. Is it the organization that doesn’t want to take the basic work of web standards enforcement seriously – either out of lack of managerial courage or ignorance? Or, is it the CMS vendor who sells an organization a Rolls Royce CMS when they know full-well that the problem could be solved much more easily and cheaply with some Toyota Echo web editing software. Whatever the case: shame on everyone.

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