You may have noticed that I’ve been modifying a lot of old entries recently shortly after I post just to twiddle some line breaks. That’s because Firefox 2’s rich text control is horribly broken. Now, I do recognize that a lot of the rich editors are driven by custom JavaScript, but a lot of the problems seem common to all websites. In no particular order:

  1. Returns sometimes inserts BR, and sometimes inserts P, there’s no reliable way to tell which is going to happen, and they sometimes look the same based on nearby formatting;
  2. If the last word in the previous line is italic, and you switch to italic, and then type a letter, the letter gets appended to the previous line;
  3. In circumstances I haven’t entirely been able to sort out, the point is sometimes only half drawn, and either flickers between its upper and lower portions or only draws the top half; and my favorite,
  4. Sometimes the point on screen has absolutely nothing to do with where text is actually going to get inserted, appearing randomly in the text, over a random part of the page that may be entirely outside the editor, or even just not at all

Combine all of these misfeatures, and you make it painfully difficult to write blog posts that actually show up on the main page the same way they show up in my browser. It’s common for an article to look just fine in the composer, but to show up on the website thoroughly borked. Yes, I should be checking WordPress’ preview more carefully, but I also shouldn’t have to deal with this problem in the first place. I’ve reverted to composing everything in TextMate in Markdown and then just pasting the raw HTML. There is no reason that things need to be this way; every single platform that runs Firefox has built-in rich text components, and it’s not that hard to convert from RTF to HTML. All Firefox has to do is bow down, use native widgets, and then convert on form upload.

Oh well. Maybe someday.