My short opinion is that it's promising, but it clearly needs work.  It is
not ready for a global go-live yet, but its deployment seems to be driven
by considerations other than whether it's ready for Production use.

The good: From my work at outreach workshops, this is by a long shot the #1
requested feature for new users.  We shouldn't underestimate what a
challenge getting to this point is from a software development perspective,
especially given how ad-hoc and inconsistent the template infrastructure
has become.  For basic editing tasks, it's pretty good, and I'm sure once
it stabilises a bit new editors will take to it enthusiastically.

The bad: There are too many features missing for serious power-editing.  In
particular, the code to add images and templates has been very inconsistent
for me, working some of the time and not at other times.  It's good that
the referencing feature is built right in, but it's confusing to use, it
took me a bit to work out how to simply add a new reference, and it's also
strictly inferior to the excellent "ProveIt" tool (, which appears not to be compatible with VE
yet.  It's also slow and bloats the page size significantly, which will
likely be more of a problem for the Foundation's target editor groups in
developing countries than it is for me.  The icons seem to be of the
"mystery meat" variety and

The ugly: I've removed it from my interface for now, but I'll probably give
it another try in a couple of months once the features have stabilised a


On 3 July 2013 16:03, Kerry Raymond <> wrote:

>  For those of you who have taken the Visual Editor for a test drive, what
> did you think?****
> ** **
> We have seen Gnangarra’s thoughts already and so I thought I’d share mine.
> ****
> ** **
> To start, I should say that I sincerely believe that having a visual
> editor should make editing Wikipedia much more accessible to those folk who
> are used to Microsoft Word etc and not accustomed to seeing markup. I am
> all in favour of this initiative. I have worked for many years using
> WYSIWYG tools like Word (so-so) and FrameMaker (much better) and SeaMonkey
> (beats raw HTML any day), so I don’t come into this discussion with a
> mindset that “markup = good”, quite the opposite. As they say in The
> Matrix, “why send a man to do a machine’s job?”.****
> ** **
> However, in its current state, I don’t think the VisualEditor (VE)
> achieves its goal. There’s a few reasons:****
> ** **
>    1. It doesn’t run on Internet Explorer, which is the out-of-the-box
>    browser when you have a Windows PC. The less tech-savvy a person is, the
>    more likely I think they are to have a Windows PC with IE. So, the very
>    people being targeted with the VE probably can’t use it because they have
>    the wrong browser.****
> ** **
>    1. The functionality of the VE seems very limited. Yes, I can type
>    text. Yes, I make text bold/italic. Yes, I can make a heading. Yes I can
>    make a link if the name of the link will suffice as the text, e.g. [[dog]]
>    but not if I want [[dog|puppy]]. Or, at least, I could not work out how to
>    do it. Although the toolbar seems to suggest there is a way of working with
>    images, references and transclusions, I failed to be able to do anything at
>    all with them. Now, it may be that I am too conditioned by the existing
>    editor to be able to think in the new paradigm of the VE; perhaps what
>    should be done will be obvious to the less-conditioned newbie editor.
>    Although I am a bit uncertain that the newbie will know what “transclusion”
>    means; indeed I think if they do know what it means, then they would
>    already be familiar with markup.****
> ** **
>    1. The VE cannot always be used. If you try to change the content of
>    an article with the VE, you will often get green-diagonal-stripes appearing
>    across the chunk you are trying to edit with a message that the Visual
>    Editor cannot edit that sort of material. You have to switch into Edit
>    Source (aka the existing markup editor) to work with it. ****
> ** **
> I can see that if a newbie comes along (with the right brand of browser)
> and clicks Edit for the first time because they’ve seen a spelling error or
> want to add an extra sentence, then the VE should work for them, unless of
> course they want to do it in a photo caption or inside a table or …. But,
> as it stands, there is no real growth path for them to develop their
> editing skills beyond such very simple changes. They either have to stay
> locked into a world of very limited functionality or they have to click
> Edit Source for the first time and deal with markup for the first time. I
> guess the question that only time will be able to answer is whether the
> transition to the markup editor is made in any way easier by the initial VE
> experience as opposed to the previous situation where you were dropped
> straight into editing markup. However, for even a mildly experienced editor
> (and I certainly don’t rate myself as any kind of expert editor), I cannot
> see what benefit the VE gives you. All of things you can do with the VE
> appear to be just as easily achievable with the toolbar in the existing
> editor – the difference is that you can see the markup produced in the
> existing editor but not in the VE. I cannot see a reason an existing editor
> would shift to the VE; the loss of functionality would frustrate you very
> quickly.****
> ** **
> Now it’s a fair thing to say “hey, the VE has just been released – it will
> be further developed and greater functionality will be available through
> it”. This is indeed true, but I can’t see the VE ever developing to the
> point where we can throw away the markup editor. Part of the challenge
> (perhaps “most of the challenge”) of further extending  the VE is that
> Wikipedia markup and its templates etc have grown like topsy. There is a
> lot of ad-hoc-ery and not a lot of coherence to many existing features. I
> don’t know if there is any easy answer to providing a “simple visual” tool
> for working with templates and other exotic features. The task of building
> the VE would have been made easier if they could have first removed some
> existing features out of the current editor and then out of the articles
> that used them, but no doubt there would have been howls of outrage if that
> had occurred. If the goal is an easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor, then I think
> some existing functionality will have to be discarded or revised to achieve
> it.****
> ** **
> How are other people finding the Visual Editor?****
> ** **
> Kerry****
> ** **
> ** **
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