Rich Text Editor developers in 2021: survey says full-stack all the way
Published November 2nd, 2021
Usually considered a front-end UI component and/or API, it appears that rich text editors (RTEs) aren’t the shy retiring components we all thought. They’re primarily being used by full-stack developers, for more complex major projects.
Communications Specialist at Tiny
As one of the most surprisingly complex components to create — especially when a single button like ‘Bold’ can have 40+ different calls and interactions — this finding has big implications. For developers, teams and companies.
Similarly, in an average (but simple) RTE, the ‘Enter’ key performs over 100 different actions depending on where you are and what you’re doing… and that doesn’t take into consideration browser compatibility or other dependencies built into your product. So it seems that building your own RTE isn’t something that just any developer can achieve.
There’s indications of even deeper challenges for your dev team talent pool. With over 80% of respondents self-rating their experience as high, the Rich Text Editor 2021 Survey results clearly debunk the theory of hands-off involvement in an RTE after it’s integration into a product, project or platform. It seems RTEs really are a developer’s BFF!
With the advent of COVID-19, a wider gamut of companies are investing in their tech stack and platforms and trying to stay ahead of both the competition and the innovation curve. How they’re doing that, may surprise you.
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How many years experience do you need to use RTEs?
Despite finding their first home within those websites of yesteryear, rich text editors are now all grown up. They’ve become the silent stalwart — a fundamental component that’s always there to support you — yet is surprisingly complex to build, maintain and update. It’s likely for that reason, that the majority of the survey respondents were senior developers, with 10+ years experience.
It may also reflect the fact that the survey sample leaned towards full-time developers, who are more likely working on complex projects where the RTE is an integrated component of another product — thus requiring senior expertise.
How often do people really develop with their editor?
We get it, generally most people choose a component, integrate it, ignore a few releases and then finally update to the latest version. However, because RTEs are such core components within a diverse range of applications, it seems developers are frequently working with them, updating them and fine tuning their capabilities.
An extension of the same (now overturned) assumption of intermittent use, is the idea that the more frequently a user works with an RTE, the more entwined it becomes within their systems. In turn, that grows the users’ skills and experience with rich text editors.
With over 80% of respondents self-rating their experience as high, the 2021 survey results clearly debunk the theory of hands-off involvement in an RTE, after it’s integration into a product, project or platform. It seems RTEs really are a developer’s BFF!
It’s taken years to create the hundreds of tools used by websites. Equally, Rich Text Editors have taken decades to create a simple experience that’s used by millions.
Read more insights from the complete RTE 2021 Survey Report, or download a copyRead more
Preferred programming languages
Rich Text Editors are one of the Internet’s primary tools that produce terabytes of content daily.
What front end framework do you use?
Not unexpectedly, ‘React’ and ‘Bootstrap’ ranked equal first in usage, but what was most interesting is that ‘Regular HTML/CSS/JS’ ranked equally to those two frameworks. Whilst we’re currently in an era of new frameworks emerging, none of them have quite reached the full adoption that some developers might have been expecting.
This could signify the importance of ensuring the provision of APIs for custom work — to support those people who are not using an off-the-shelf framework. It also highlights the need for quality documentation and 24/7 support to answer integration queries from developers.
Frequently asked questions
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Did only TinyMCE users take the survey?
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