A better text editor, on Forum and Blog posts

For Ning Creators and members alike, adding content is an essential part of any Ning Network. When it comes to adding text, the text editor members rely on should be as easy to use as possible. Starting tomorrow, adding and editing text on Ning will become even easier.

Previously, all text editors on a Ning Network allowed members to add photos, add links and format text. But using those tools produced HTML code that many non-technical Internet users didn’t understand. So a few weeks ago, we rolled out a new, WYSIWYG editor to the forum, while still keeping an “HTML” tab so that advanced users could still edit HTML as they always had.

WYSIWYG stands for “what you see is what you get”, and it means that when you’re doing something like making text bold, you’ll actually see bold text, instead of code for <b>bolded text</b>. In the last few weeks, we heard feedback that the WYSIWYG editor wasn’t as easy to use as it could be. And so we’re rolling out a number of improvements to make it an even better experience editing forum discussions on Ning, while also rolling out this editor to the blog feature:

wysiwyg-small
The major improvements include:

  • More space: 400 pixels of vertical space to edit the text, instead of the previous, 160 pixels
  • Smaller font: A smaller font, so more text can fit in the text editor
  • Resized images: Even though images in the forum and blog can’t be any wider than 721 pixels (the full width of the forum and blog), they weren’t being resized while editing. Now, any image added wider than 721 pixels will be resized to 721 pixels.
  • Edit image: Previously, once you’d added an image to a text editor, you couldn’t change the size, alignment or link unless you knew HTML. Now, in “Rich Text” mode, you’ll be able re-open the Image dialog.

When working on these updates, we also realized we made an oversight when adding the WYSIWYG editor to the forum. We accidentally omitted the “Options” drop down, which allows you to customize images that you add to text. We’ve brought back the Options drop down, with rewritten, clearer text and the ability to customize images even if you add them via URL, not your computer.

Here’s what it will look like:

Options

All of these improvements should make editing forum discussions or writing blog posts a breeze. And we’ll continue to take your feedback and improve text editors in the future.

Copying pasted text

One note about copying text from other programs or Web sites. One of the nice parts of a WYSIWYG editor is that you can copy and paste not just text, but also links, images, tables and more into your forum or blog post. However, when a WYSIWYG editor tries to maintain all those items, the outcome isn’t always perfect. If you’re looking to paste text and nothing more, try using the “HTML” tab, and no special formatting will be pasted. You can usually copy and paste content into the WYSIWYG editor with good results, but the “HTML” tab is a good bet if you’re just looking to copy only text.

About the Author:

Evan Goldin – who has written posts on Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites.


  • http://greenspotantiques.com/wp vince jelenic

    Wow a great improvement. Haven’t tried it yet, just from reading this.

    Next step, of course, is to have the images POP out in a lightbox style so users don’t leave the page to view and you have a KILLER approach to editing.

    As it is Ning is best in class. this simple addition would put it as best in GALAXY!

    (ok kidding, just would like to see, thanks)

  • Pank

    Thank you soo much !

  • http://flightsimulatornetwork.com Mark Avey

    Fantastic news! Thank you so much. I really didn’t like the interim editor and missed the photo resizing in particular, so I’m delighted this has now been resolved.

    Keep up the good work :)

  • http://www.modelsweb.nl Clark

    Great news! Thanks!

  • http://www.anarusche.com ana rüsche

    Excelente!!! Obrigada!!

  • http://translated.ning.com Susan

    Please, fix the rtl directionality of the new rich text editor. At the moment while it is possible to align text to the right, the only way to get the correct directionality is to edit the html from the source button, not something that the average user will feel comfortable doing.

  • http://JosephPorcelli.com Joseph Porcelli

    Sweet!

  • Stacey

    This thing really lacks the uploading file feature! I really need it for my class, so please add that in!

  • http://apologetica.ning.com Thiago Santos de Moraes

    Wow a great improvement. (X2)

  • http://www.craigallen.ca Craig Allen

    The new blog editor is not working for me in Google Chrome to upload images. (Uploading fine, but then not showing the image in the post). Anyone else having trouble? Some of my clients are having trouble as well.

  • Nancy Ducey

    I need the file upload capability back in the blog section! Our professional group relies on this feature to share information!!!!

  • http://www.562citylife.com 562citylife

    Video Embedding does not work…?

  • http://www.562citylife.com The Man

    This is a horrible change. It’s confusing, and the embed code doesn’t work. When I’m posting a blog w/ the video embed code, it shows the actual embed code.

    Also, ning adds it’s own html texts in the beginning of my sentences. Also, I’m having problems with the images. I can’t change the size of it.

    I don’t like this change at all. Why change something that was simple and easy?

    I don’t like the html and rich text tabs… please change it back.

  • http://apologetica.ning.com Thiago Santos de Moraes

    “The Man” you have to put the embeded code in the “html” section.

    You can change de images size with you click in them.

  • Dave

    Please return the upload file feature. This is an important feature to our group.

  • http://noisetrend.com Felipe

    The new editors are poorly designed. Icon’s look ugly and there is no uniqueness. I’ve seen like 50 other sites that use the same editing type thing. Please change it back to something simpler OR redesign it with nicer icons or something.

    Also NING’S new logo is not well designed. There is no point to that little sunburst star thing. Bad choice on ning’s part in my opinion.

  • http://www.562citylife.com The Man

    @Dave I’ve tried to put the embed code in the HTML section and it’s not working.

    It’s also a hassle to switch back and forth from the Rich text and HTML tabs. Please change this back ning, why make something so confusing?

  • http://www.562citylife.com The Man

    The embed video shows up in the editing part, but when I post the blog it does not show up…Anyone else having this problem?

  • http://ctshoy.ning.com/ Juan Rivera

    Excellent, but we need upload files

  • http://blog-o.ning.com/author/evan Evan Goldin

    Hey everyone!

    Thanks for the feedback. On the issue of not being able to add files (other than images), that was an oversight on our part. We hear your concerns about that feature missing, and we’ll add it back in a patch in the next couple of days.

  • http://dukecityfix.com Sophie

    This really isn’t an improvement for our users. It’s buggy and unnecessarily complicated. Many of our users, who’ve just finished training themselves or being trained on the old system are screaming bloody murder because they now have to figure out something new. Please consider giving us the option to switch back to the old system – maybe switch the HTML version on the new system to act like the old version.

  • http://fortsmith.ning.com/ Monte Smith

    While I sincerely appreciate your attemps to make improvements in ning operations, this is one that, thus far, I am having problems with. I did quickly figure out that it was best if I stayed away from Rich Text if I planned to embed any links or videos. So that’s not my frustration. My frustration comes after I preview then go back to edit and all my text is bunched up together and I have to go back through and separate out the paragraphs. I write long blogs, this is agonizing. Also, I added a blog just a bit ago and when it published there were no paragraphs, there was just a solid page of text! Personally, I liked adding blogs and discussions before the “improvements” were made.

  • http://historia-apr.ning.com Antonio DG

    Desde que se han producido los nuevos cambios NO puedo publicar ninguna foto ni imagen en los BLogs. Me deja cargarla la veo pero no aparece cuando es publicada ni cuando me deja pre-ver.

  • http://apologetica.ning.com Thiago Santos de Moraes

    Isso é muito estranho Antonio. Na minha comunidade está tudo normal.

  • Alan

    A friend of mine has been having a lot of trouble when copying and pasting directly from a Word document into the new WYSIWYG editor (to the extent that Ning refuses to even accept the existence of the text!). Is it possible to have a plain-text version whilst this and other issues are sorted out? Thanks!

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Alan,

    You can copy and paste into the HTML tab if you don’t want to use the rich text feature.

    Thanks!

  • Jim Stratton

    I have students using Ning as an e-portfolio platform, and they post e-artifacts using their individual Blogs. Now, the document sharing or file posting feature is unavailable in the Blog module. Document sharing used to be available (up until December 09 or maybe January 10) in the Blog module. What happened here? Why did that feature disappear? Can it be brought back?
    Or, can you help me develop another solution to this problem?

  • Alan

    Hi Laura,

    Yes, I did read the bit about using the HTML tab. However, most users will not have read this and will be coming up against the same problems. Also, pasting non-HTML text into the HTML-focused box doesn’t seem particularly intutitive. Why not just have a plain-text box as default for those who really don’t need this feature?

    Thanks!

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Alan,

    One good option then — send your members a broadcast message letting them know! My sense is this is actually pretty standard (i.e. WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, etc) but I could be wrong.

    If you think your members need some help, you definitely have those tools at your disposal.

    -Laura

  • Marc

    Please bring back the file upload!

  • http://apologetica.ning.com Thiago Santos de Moraes

    The file upload is normal in the forum. In the blog section I do not remember this resource.

  • http://apologetica.ning.com Thiago Santos de Moraes
  • http://www.modelsweb.nl Clark

    It maybe sounds kind of funny, but the WYSIWYG editor seems to be very sensitive in it’s handling. Therefore I, for now prefer the old one. The new one makes my text jump all over the floor.

  • Alan

    Hi again,

    I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this here, but there does seem to be a way to revert to the text-only version by going into Manage > Feature Controls and then selecting the relevant radio button in the Text Editing area (bottom of page):

    * Display advanced rich text editor when editing blogs and discussions
    * Display simple text editor when editing blogs and discussions

    Was this option always there??

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Alan,

    We pushed out a fix yesterday.

    You can read more about it here or here.

    Thanks!

  • http://apologetica.ning.com Thiago Santos de Moraes

    Laura, why the option “justify” is not in the text editor?

  • http://ctshoy.ning.com/ Juan Rivera

    Hello,

    Thank you. Now, file upload is possible

  • http://www.562citylife.com The Man

    Thanks Alan!!! You just saved my career!

  • http://www.sclutherans.ning.com Sue Briner

    Why can’t you do an (optional) wysiwyg editor for all the text blocks on the site? I have a multieditor environment, and they don’t all know html!

  • http://adr Kyle Hannan

    Hi.

    Please give us a Rich Text editor for creating new pages too. It’s baffling that the most important starting point of any NING site – the page – can’t be created or edited in a WYSIWYG editor at all. I don’t know HTML.