WYSIWYG meets Wiki

When it comes to editing wikis, I’m fine with using wiki code. It’s simple, easy to use, and it does what I want it to do. That said, I can see how it can frustrate some people (aka my co-workers) so I carved out some time today to work on installing the CKEditor extension into our departmental Mediawiki-based wiki. It works well enough, though it’s not quite as easy to use as you might expect:

  • All text is added to the wiki as wiki code, rather than HTML. Not a deal breaker (and logical, since the editor is meant to co-exist with wiki code) but it runs contrary to the HTML markup we’ve been using on many of our pages.
  • When you cut and paste text into the editing area (say from Word), the editor automatically converts everything to plain text. I tried enabling the paste-from-word option, but the resulting code was hideous.
  • When you insert a hyperlink using the editor, it will attempt to auto-complete links based on existing pages in the wiki. If you use the “http://” prefix, it knows you’re doing an external link and doesn’t search.
  • Images work similarly. You can’t directly insert an image into a page. Instead, you need to use the “upload an image” interface, then use the editor’s image browser to find that image based on its name.

I think these last two items are nice features, though it does mean you can’t simply grab a screenshot from your computer and throw it into a wiki page — you need to upload it to the wiki and then search for it before adding it — but I think the auto-complete search option is a nice touch.