An note on the usefulness of WYSIWYG editing in the browser.For those interested in more technical detail, I've written up a technical description of the techniques involved with this WYSIWYG implementation.
Expressing one's self. For different levels of knowledge.
For web content creators who are new to HTML or who are somewhat familiar with its purpose but don't have a use reference handy without leaving their task (hint: this is most of the web, millions and millions), WYSIWYG editing is a boon.
For those creators who are familiar with simple uses of HTML styling like bold, italics and hyperlinks but who would like more stylistic control over their content (hint: this is a significant number, and perhaps a majority, of users in the "participatory web") then mixed-mode WYSIWYG and additional style controls like making bulleted lists or changing the horizontal alignment or adding keyboard shortcuts can reduce the number of mistakes, reduce the amount of information needed to be retrieved during an editing task that is outside the scope of that task, and generally reduce the time and effort it takes to generate content.
For content creators who require more advanced styling controls and content information including positioning, page counts, floating elements, templates, varied encodings, and block-level margins and padding there are many tools available that they prefer using to a browser. We know for sure because we've asked and asked and asked and, to date, advanced content creators find the convenience and ubiquity of browser-use less useful than using a feature-rich client. Additionally, many advanced content creators (hint: if you're reading this, I'm very likely talking about you :) know enough HTML and CSS that hand-coding style attributes and class selectors enables you to create content faster than when using WYSIWYG components for the same tasks.
What you see is mostly what you get.
So, it became evident during testing trials at Google of WYSIWYG editing that a large set of people have learned a minor set of HTML for basic expression needs, and have grown so accustomed to using them that a WYSIWYG mode which didn't easily allow these people to compose using that markup presented large and sometimes unacceptable interruptions to their content creation task. Furthermore, having a place for them to enter a "source mode" only frustrated them further as they wondered where the styling went. You see, some of us know some HTML but not all, and with broader expression available to them, these new-to-them tags presented challenges that were, at times, more annoying to them than if WYSIWYG didn't exist.
One solution, implemented now at Blogger, is to create a mixed-mode enviroment for WYSIWYG where a user can enter rich styling and HTML and have both work. So (as coined by Jason "Mr. Product" Goldman) the result is more of a WYSI-M-WYG or "What You See Is Mostly What You Get" editor.
We believe that is helpfully pronounced "Whizz-ah-ma-wig".