[development] Status update: WYSIWYG support in Drupal core

Bill Fitzgerald bill at funnymonkey.com
Mon May 25 15:06:43 UTC 2009

When I first read Karoly's response, my inclination was to let this 
drop, as I freely admit to not understanding the rationale behind 
Karoly's initial response. But, given that my statement -- "But I am a 
fan of meeting client expectations" -- has sparked some comments, I 
wanted to take a moment to respond.

As I've been thinking about this, I have a hard time understanding the 
reaction to the word "client." I suspect that this is largely due to our 
client base -- we work mostly with educational orgs and non-profits; our 
clients, frankly, are awesome, reasonable people, doing great work. I 
feel very fortunate that our work (as a web development shop) supports 
their work (as people doing great things to try and make the world a 
better place).

But, to state the obvious, many clients are not like that, and I suspect 
that when most people hear the word client, they think of corporate 
types who think that real issues can be glossed over with better 
marketing materials. In my time in the community, I have definitely seen 
the tensions between the developer community, and those who think that 
Drupal needs a makeover to appeal to a larger corporate audience. The 
concerns that Drupal could become too corporate are, IMO, very valid, 
and something that the community needs to watch for. In some ways, I see 
this mirrored in the discussions about what DrupalCons should be, but 
that's a broader topic than can be discussed here.

WRT Word, Oracle, and MS SQL: these are all proprietary apps. In very 
general terms, when we look to support people (also known as users, or 
clients), we should look for functionality that makes life better for as 
many people as possible. The notion that "supporting people" equates 
with accepting lower quality code is just not true; shortcuts are not 
acceptable. So, any statements that "supporting feature x" will result 
in bad code need to fall under the weight of their own inadequacy. Bad 
code in pursuit of a real need is still bad code, and will always be 

In looking at the people who use Word, Oracle, and MS SQL, if an org is 
using Oracle, they are likely to have some resources on hand, in either 
the form of money, staffing, or both. In short, these folks are in a 
relatively resource-rich environment. It takes a fair amount of money to 
launch an app based on Oracle, and even more in recurring fees.

Word, on the other hand, is used by many people on the lower end of the 
technology spectrum. In many non-profits/schools, the people typing in 
Word don't have access to support personnel. They just want to get their 
work done. In short, these are the people/smaller orgs who are *always* 
disempowered by technology -- and there are a lot more of them than 
there are Oracle DB Admins. When we look for solutions that help to 
empower people, it's *good* to target things that make life easier for 
people who have traditionally been shut out -- and this is more likely 
to be true of your admin staff working in Word than your Oracle DB Admin 
working for Monster Corporation X.

Stefan -- fwiw, I hope you make the choice to continue on with your 
involvement in the community.




Bill Fitzgerald
FunnyMonkey -- Click. Connect. Learn.
ph. 503 897 7160

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