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  • Enrique Blanco 9 posts 61 karma points
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 09:05
    Enrique Blanco

    Umbraco 7 RTE Limitations


    I've been using U7 for some time and I still find difficult to do some trivial things with the RTE editor, some examples:


    • Setting the alt text for an image. Resizing it by its dimensions, setting a class, id..
    • Setting an ID or class for a table.
    These things were very straightforward even with umbraco 4 (remember, 2 years ago), and with the new version you have to dig into the html to change them, making the RTE imposible to use for an average user (the one that uses a cms to avoid having to edit the html by hand). I think the final user (not only the programmer) has to be the target. Imagine you have tens of editors and have to adjust table clases by hand.
    I don't know if there is a wiki/manual/etc other than some dispersed questions in a forum on how to effectivelly use the U7 RTE.
    I see the roadmap and there are things like will be fine like the image cropper, but they seem not to attack the problem directly.
    Are there any plans to give U7 a big jump ahead? Is there any alternative editor or plugin (free or nor) to enhance the default editor?
    PS: I don't know if tasks like "U-2540 Remove ITree" are important or not, but from the user perspective I can assure that having a decent editor adds a lot of value to a CMS. My impression is that the UI changes in U7 are a big step back in functionallity, at least from the user perspective.
    Sorry for the strong opinions, but I'm a little sick with the RTE.


  • Robert Dyson 50 posts 147 karma points c-trib
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 10:01
    Robert Dyson

    I have also been strggling with this..

  • Moran 279 posts 888 karma points
    Sep 13, 2014 @ 16:42

    I having issues with this rte also.

  • Eric Schrepel 158 posts 223 karma points
    Sep 13, 2014 @ 21:58
    Eric Schrepel

    I agree also; the RTE is, for better or worse, the primary element in Umbraco that most of our users depend on, and they find many frustrations with it (all the above, dealing with left/right aligning [images, text], forcing new text to appear below floats, difficult table stuff, etc.). I find myself having to defend Umbraco, even into version 7.1.6, though aspects are getting better all the time.

    And now in version 7, it's almost impossible to do make TinyMCE buttons apply classes (as we could in 6.x versions, per Adding tags and inline styles makes it harder for us to control CSS-based layout.

    Also, version 7 further decreases the amount of horizontal space for RTE by making the treeview permanent, and there seems to be not an option to display fields below labels rather than to the right. A "Go full screen" option would be great.

    It's just tricky as the developer to have to frequently "go to bat" for why we chose Umbraco (because everything else about it works so well) when the RTE causes so many user frustrations... would be great to hear if there are plans for improvements.

  • keilo 566 posts 1021 karma points
    Sep 17, 2014 @ 17:28

    Using 7.1.6 I couldnt find a way to enable the Table Advanced Properties dialog, which is in the tinymce table.html markup (it seems) but various attempts to enable via JS or .config hacks didnt reveal any solution.

    So basically there is no way to assign a class to a table - on the latest 7.1.6 (and generally v7) and let the user change to another class/style.

    This alone is making it very difficult to justify its shortcoming to the users.

    Not sure if you guys have any ideas. I dont know where to look if something is in the works, or even if its being noted as an issue by maintainers...


  • Dennis Adolfi 1075 posts 6436 karma points MVP 4x c-trib
    Sep 19, 2014 @ 11:06
    Dennis Adolfi

    I can only agree with all of you.
    I love Umbraco, but the RTE can be extremely frustrating sometimes.
    Sure, the RTE is not made by Umbraco, but by TinyMCE, but it is still the default editor in Umbraco and it has a lot of issues.

    For instance, i recently had a problem when i created a Custom Format that applies a class called "grey-box". And if i have a list in the RTE, and highlight the list and then select my custom styling, the class gets applied to EVERY list-object (li) when in fact i wanted it to apply the class to the UL object.
    As you could imagine, it did not render the way i wanted.
    Sure, i can fix it in 3 seconds by going in to the HTML-mode, but our customers do not know HTML, and dont want to go in to that mode.
    And whats the point with the Custom Format section, if you still have to go into HTML-mode to get things working?

    We actually did a datatype for a custom RTE, called Redactor.js, but it was a real pain in the ass to get everything working, and eventually we dropped the project because it took up to much time and pain to get everything working correctly with Macros, MediaPicker and so on.

    Yes, Umbraco is wonderful, and for us developers its "just the editor" that is bad, but for the customer the editor is the most important feature of all and as a lot of you said, its getting harder and harder to defend Umbraco for customers, all thanks to TinyMCE. :(

  • George 58 posts 165 karma points
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 09:23

    I agree with all of the above. I have been looking for multiple solutions for fixing the RTE in version 7+ so it supports features that actually worked in version 4.9 that we used before upgrading. I have tried and failed with every single one of those:

    1. Spell Checking
    2. Button that imports image from filesystem instead of through Media
    3. Images imported through media sometimes get imported in the RTE with height="0" width="0"

    It is getting harder and harder to explain to my colleagues why they have to manually go into HTML and edit <img> attributes or why they should copy the whole text into an external spell checker just to check the syntax... 

  • Matthew Kirschner 323 posts 611 karma points
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 16:27
    Matthew Kirschner

    I'll throw in my vote for being fed up with tinyMCE. I do know it's an old version so would upgrading tinyMCE fix many of these complaints or do we just need a new RTE?

    Has anyone tried the uCKEditor package?

  • Enrique Blanco 9 posts 61 karma points
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 16:49
    Enrique Blanco

    The problem is that going to the HTML mode is simply not an option... It's very difficult to justify to your client why you've chosen Umbraco when you can't even set a class to a table, resize an image, properly set classes to elements and so on.

    Let's face it, the current TinyMCE-Umbraco integration is, at least, embarrasing. I don't think the editor is outdated (since the 4.X versions editor experience is way better that 7.X), it seems that simply it seems not important enough. The probem is that all my clients using umbraco seem to think the oposite. The solution? We'll have to try a non-offcial solution like the uCKEditor (which seems way better that the tinyMCE) or simply abandon Umbraco in favour of a more professional editing experience.

    Again, I simply dont understand why the RTE problem is being postponed again and again, while some other less important features get implemented, I'd personally hate to quit Umbraco, but I'm running out of reasons.

  • George 58 posts 165 karma points
    Feb 03, 2015 @ 08:15

    I just installed uCKEditor yesterday, I found this thread while researching it :)

    It solved all of the long-standing problems we've had with TinyMCE.

    I read somewhere we might have to re-install it as a plugin if we update the umbraco version, but apart from that I haven't found any shortcomings to uCKEditor yet.

  • Matthew Kirschner 323 posts 611 karma points
    Feb 03, 2015 @ 15:09
    Matthew Kirschner

    Hi, George.

    When you mention "re-install uCKEditor as plugin" after updates, are you saying that the uCKEditor package breaks with Umbraco updates?

    My history with the package is that it worked well for a day, even with Archetype. The page builder method of using Archetype nullifies uCKEditor's major flaw, which is lack of macro support. However, the next day I updated to Umbraco 7.2 beta and later noticed that my uCKEditor instances were no longer rendering in the backoffice. I deleted the package thinking it's faulty. If what you say is true, then I may try re-installing it with this in mind.

  • Eric Schrepel 158 posts 223 karma points
    Feb 03, 2015 @ 19:16
    Eric Schrepel

    As soon as uCKEditor supports linking to content by picking from the Content tree, we'll use it full time. Just experimented with it on a test site and it really does solve a lot of the TinyMCE issues.

    We'd still like to know if the Umbraco development roadmap includes improvements to TinyMCE, or whether we should move to uCKEditor (our editors would like to get used to one tool or the other).

  • George 58 posts 165 karma points
    Feb 04, 2015 @ 08:20

    Hi, Matthew.

    I can't find the source that I based my statement about reinstalling on :(

    But I can confirm uCKEditor runs properly on our umbraco which is currently running version 7.2.1, updated recently from 7.0.1 and before that 4.9.

    The author of the package, Alain, helped me solve an issue which appears to manifest only when installing uCKEditor on an umbraco installation that was updated from an older version. He says that it works out-of-the-box if you have a fresh 7.2.1 installation.

    tl;dr: Umbraco 4.9 -> 7.01 -> 7.2.1 and we installed uCKEditor only in newest version and it works.

    @Eric - You could have umbraco open in 2 browser tabs. In 1 tab you browse the content tree, go to a page's properties, click on the umbraco-generated link. Copy that link into tab 2 editor. It sounds more complicated but it isn't much more difficult than clicking on the nodes one by one in a deep node structure every time you open the "link from content tree" dialog.

  • Alain 73 posts 520 karma points c-trib
    Feb 04, 2015 @ 09:30

    Hi Matthew,

    As George says, it seems that uCKEditor doesn't work if you install it in an Umbraco that has been upgraded from version 4.x or 6.x. This bug was discovered and reported by George P. What happens is that the package is one DLL with all files embedded into it, and uCKEditor extract the files when they are needed. But this is not working in some Umbraco websites. As a work around I have created a zip file with all files required that you can unzip into the ~/App_Plugins/uCKEditor/ folder overwritting any existing file. Refresh your browser's cache and it should work.


  • Shane 40 posts 193 karma points
    Feb 27, 2015 @ 17:15

    I agree with all of the above. I'm also getting very trired of defending Umbraco to my users and trying to explain why we can't move to Wordpress! The text editor really needs to be a core focus for the future.


  • Carlos Mosqueda 239 posts 429 karma points
    Feb 27, 2015 @ 20:20
    Carlos Mosqueda


    I believe Wordpress also uses TinyMCE as well. I don't know if there could be a justification for going to Wordpress on the basis of a text editor.


  • Matthew Kirschner 323 posts 611 karma points
    Feb 27, 2015 @ 20:39
    Matthew Kirschner


    When users spend majority of their time working in the text editor, I think the justification of migrating to another CMS is more than reasonable. Yes, WordPress also uses TinyMCE, but their implementation of it is more finely tuned and, I believe, up to date than Umbraco's.

    What really gets me is how a feature that was present in old Umbraco versions is now missing in later builds. From what I've heard, images and tables could have classes or formats applied to them in U6. This is something I still can't do in U7 without plugging it in myself.

    Don't get me wrong I think Umbraco is great, especially for .NET developers. They just need to give greater importance to the content editor's main method of input, the text editor.

  • Eric Schrepel 158 posts 223 karma points
    Feb 28, 2015 @ 02:14
    Eric Schrepel

    Agreed, it's the little things that make the difference; in WordPress's implementation of TinyMCE, doing things like adding/captioning images, working in tables, etc. just feels more fluid and requires less diving into HTML to get things to work or to appear in the editor window as they'll appear when published. uCKEditor plugin is on the right track in making some of that work better, but still needs a little more media support to work as seamlessly as the WordPress UI. Unfortunately, our organization thinks it a big enough issue for our less tech-savvy users) that they keep asking when it'll get better.

  • Nicholas Westby 2045 posts 7034 karma points c-trib
    Feb 28, 2015 @ 23:21
    Nicholas Westby

    I agree that some things can be frustrating the the text editor (e.g., inability to add a class to a UL rather than the LI's). For those specific issues, I'd recommend creating YouTrack issues and voting on them if they already exist (and if you do create issues, maybe add some links here so we can all vote on them):

    However, some other issues seem to have workarounds/options:

    • Settings. There are many items disabled by default, but you can create various configurations in the data type section under the Developer section (see image below). For example, you can enable the table button (the table functionality in particular is fairly sophisticated).
    • Configuration. You can customize functionality further by modifying config/tinyMceConfig.config. As an example, you can specify which elements can have which attributes.
    • Insert Images. The image button on the RTE does open the media library, but you can upload images from that dialog (the button at the top right). There is no need to first navigate to the media library... you do it all from the RTE.
    • Spell Checking. Users will get spell checking if they use Google Chrome. Granted, that's not ideal when corporate environments sometimes restrict browsers (usually to IE).
    • Archetype. When I need to allow for something really custom, I use Archetype (that way, users can combine rich text with a bunch of other stuff, such as images, galleries, forms, and so on). Somebody mentioned captioning images; this is actually something I used Archetype to do recently.
    • Styles. You can add "Styles" that basically tack on arbitrary classes to elements (editors can do this using a drop down rather than by editing the markup). You could use this, for example, to align images (I haven't tried if the align buttons do that). You can then create CSS that styles those classes both on your website and in the CMS.

    That all being said, it would be nice if some of the more obvious things just worked without having to get fancy.

    RTE Configuration

  • George 58 posts 165 karma points
    Mar 02, 2015 @ 08:42

    @Nicholas Westby

    Insert Images. The image button on the RTE does open the media library, but you can upload images from that dialog (the button at the top right). There is no need to first navigate to the media library... you do it all from the RTE.

    If you insert an image in this way, it still gets imported in the media library. This is all right at first, but for a site like ours, where we insert hundreds/thousands of images, the media section gets quite flooded and takes longer and longer to even load the dialog. I know we could go and sort the images in a folder structure in media, but that takes extra time and doesn't solve the problem why we can't just insert an image by a relative path or URL.

    Spell Checking. Users will get spell checking if they use Google Chrome. Granted, that's not ideal when corporate environments sometimes restrict browsers (usually to IE).

    Browser spell checking is really clunky in TinyMCE. We have tried Chrome and Mozilla and various plugins for them.The only way my colleagues managed to get it to work 'reliably' is to copy the full text out of TinyMCE, spell check it, then copy it back, which in most cases messes the HTML markup.

    Styles. You can add "Styles" that basically tack on arbitrary classes to elements (editors can do this using a drop down rather than by editing the markup). You could use this, for example, to align images (I haven't tried if the align buttons do that). You can then create CSS that styles those classes both on your website and in the CMS.

    The main limitation here is that you as a programmer have to intervene and create a style for the content editors every time they can't get something to look good with default tinyMCE functionality. There have been innumerable cases of that in my umbraco experience.

    I agree with the rest of your points. To be fair, I could personally work with TinyMCE or uCKEditor and produce the same quality content. However, our content editors don't have the same understanding of HTML or how they can 'tweak' or 'bend' the rules of the CE.

    All of these problems are solved by uCKEditor. I haven't heard a single complaint/request from the content editors since we installed it ~1month ago.

    P.S. When I say 'content editor' I mean the people that input content for our website.

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