Table of contents
- What is a React text editor?
- Rich text field
- Why should you have a React text editor?
- Super speed
- Mobile support
- RTL support
- Advanced feature capability
- Full customization
- Benefits of a rich text editor
- Intentional and purposeful
- Advanced styling options
- Display nicely indented code
- Unlimited undo and redo
A React rich text editor is used for making web content editing simpler. However, there is more to it than just editing, and this is why we have compiled useful information in this article. Read on, and we will guide you on whether you should use a React text editor or not. Another reason people use editors for React JS applications is that text editors provide an upgrade in usability and interface. In this article, you will learn about rich text editors, how they work, why you should use them in React apps, and how they can help your development process.
What is a React text editor?
A text editor, specifically the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) kind, is an interface for rich text and content editing. Think of it like your typical word processor, but better. It has the usual rich text features, such as italicized and bold text, bullet points, font size, pasting content from other sources, and more. Standard HTML text editors don’t have all of these features. Instead, they have features like syntax highlighting, project file structuring, and other technical ones. This makes standard HTML text editors great for pure coding and more experienced developers. However, they might not be the right tool for those who want to develop faster or for those who just want to make web content without coding.
WYSIWYG editors, on the other hand, are intuitive and very user-friendly. This makes them ideal for content editors like blog writers, low-code dev teams, and the like. For this reason, in this article, we’ll focus more on this type of HTML editor. So whenever you see the words “text editor,” you’ll know that we’re talking about the WYSIWYG kind. But what is a React text editor? It’s simply a text editor in a React application. To have one in your React application, you can make it from scratch, import a component, or use a ready-made, optimized editor with complete features. Making one from scratch takes the longest time, while integrating a ready-made React text editor takes seconds. Here are the basic components of a typical React text editor:
Rich text field
A rich text field is the editing space or area that accommodates the editor’s contents. The editing area supports plain and formatted text, images and other media files, horizontal lines, links, and more.
The toolbar contains the tools that users use to format text. This component allows users to format, style, and add elements to the editor and its components. Its tools are usually arranged according to function, and a great React editor must have an intuitive and organized toolbar. In more advanced editors, toolbars can also be made inline to make the editing space cleaner.
A React text editor’s footer usually contains helpful information such as word count and spelling/grammar error tracking.
More advanced text editors also support code view, an optional second editing window showing the HTML code of the content. Nowadays, each text editor has its own unique or improved components, but most of them contain the ones we’ve just discussed. Now that you’re more familiar with text editors, let’s look at some of their features.
Why should you have a React text editor?
You must be wondering whether you really need a text editor for your React application or just go with a simpler text component. Whatever your content needs are, even if it’s just plain text, you should always consider using a React text editor. This is because they have so much to offer you and your users. Let’s check out some of the best features of a modern text editor.
A rich text editor does not eat up your computer’s RAM or the space on your device. A computer slows down or performs poorly when an application is too heavy. The best rich text editors, in fact, can be used on any device without performance issues. Some can even reach a few milliseconds of initialization despite having tons of features (click here for an example). The best part is that these editors improve user experience because of their performance, keeping users efficient and focused.
Good system performance during operation is one of the reasons you should consider a React text editor. Unlike other heavy software, a React text editor is light in the sense that it has a small file size and is plugin-based. Having a plugin-based architecture means that you only include and use the features you need, further reducing the size and load of your application. Even when you insert images or other files, an ideal React text editor shouldn’t get too resource-intensive. Users love an uninterrupted, smooth, and fast application experience. With a React text editor, you can give it to them.
Why should you sit behind a big screen every time you want to edit? The modern world is much more flexible and convenient than that. Hence, you should be able to edit on the go or in a coffee shop, whether you’re using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The best React text editors have great mobile support, meaning you can use them on any device without losing the complete and seamless editing experience.
However, you should ensure that the mobile editing user interface is the same as on big screens. Responsiveness is an important feature you should check for before you choose a React text editor solution or component. This not only applies to the editor itself but its contents as well (e.g., images should also resize well according to screen resolution).
All languages do not share the same reading pattern. Some are from right-to-left (RTL), while others are from left-to-right (LTR). A modern React text editor should support the reading pattern regardless of the language. For example, you may need to change the language settings for clients who are foreigners. RTL support allows your React application to be easily used by people across the globe.
Advanced feature capability
Not all React text editors are advanced. But those that are can help your app cater to a larger user base. They do so by allowing users to add content that’s not normally supported by editors. For example, you may need to insert mathematical and chemical equations for researchers, engineers, writers, and so on. You definitely can’t write these equations using a normal editor and make them look good or readable. And if you don’t mind readability and choose to develop equations from scratch, it will surely take a lot of time. Advanced React text editors are the solution. With their help, you can maintain high productivity while lightening the load on users.
A typical text editor gives you full customization access. This lets you add, delete, create, and organize the functionalities that you want in your editor. For example, you can customize your toolbar and add support for quotes. You can even make your own toolbar button with its own functionality. Customizable text editors also let you match your editor’s design to that of your application. Remember when I said that you should also consider using a React text editor even for plain text? Well, sometimes plain text boxes can be tricky to customize, leading to inconsistencies in UI design and theming. With a React text editor, you’ll make sure that your app will have a consistent theme. Customizability in editors is important because it gives you more control over how your editor looks, behaves, and is used.
These features are often enough of a reason to integrate a rich text editor into your React application. But I’m sure you also want to see the benefits of doing so. Let’s discuss them in the next section.
Benefits of a rich text editor
Intentional and purposeful
Rich text editors, like normal word processing software, are purpose-driven. They make applications easy to use, and they help you and your clients attain your goals. Using a text editor, you can perform multiple tasks at once, including text editing, formatting, image settings, and more.
Advanced styling options
Styling options allow you to engage with and alter the content within your editing area. For example, let’s assume that you copied and pasted an image into your editor. You can then edit the image using features like rotation, cropping, resizing, linking, and so on. A rich text editor lets your users create the content they want exactly the way they imagine it without coding knowledge. Anyone can use a text editor with advanced styling options.
Display nicely indented code
A WYSIWYG text editor does not show complex code like typical text editors do. Instead, it displays code using an HTML or code view mode. This makes the content within the editor space easy to read and interpret while also making the code behind it available. And when it does, rich text editors can display code in a manner that mimics the experience of coding in standard text editors like Visual Studio Code.
Unlimited undo and redo
Text editors allow their users to perform a lot of actions and likewise revert them. They can improve work output via a reliable text editor. It is easy to find and correct errors via a text editor; simply click on the “undo and redo” button.
So, do you really need a React text editor? If you value efficiency, productivity, and product quality, then there’s a high chance you do. You can even integrate a ready-made WYSIWYG editor in a few seconds, customize it to fit your needs, and have more time to focus on your other features. After all, the modern world rewards those who care about quality and their clients. So, whenever you have a content-heavy app to develop, you should go back on what you’ve read here and ask yourself, “Can I take my app to the next level with a React text editor?”
Aaron Dumona former writer for Froala, showcased exceptional talent and dedication during their tenure with the company.