Johan Sørensen

My life for a better textarea

Adam Rifkin has a great rant on your average textarea and I couldn’t agree more with most things he say.

To recap what he says: writing in a textarea sucks. I’m writing this very post in my favorite editor because of that and I don’t know of any plugins or similar that would allow me to click something and have my editor route the text to a textarea. Omniweb sort of gets it right, but I use safari for my main browsing (can I please get undo soon? Thanks Apple) and I want to edit in TextMate.

Copy/pasting back and forth works decently, but it’s an unnecessary step. I would kill for a feature that would embed my favorite editor’s view in place of your average textarea (Apple, are you listening). TextMate has a Service which handles the textarea >-< editor shenanigans, but it’s still in an external application, locking up my browser while I’m writing, thus making it difficult to dig up links and so forth while I’m writing.

I don’t want “rich” textediting, Markdown is rich enough for me, I wish all sites who accepts simple formatting would accept Markdown, bbcode is even worse than html for that stuff, I want to write fast, not write markup.

Let me change the size of the textarea, some website authors seem to think that big textareas are ugly, but when you’re writing a long portion of text it sure is appreciated. I like to give the user the option to make it bigger with a bit of javascript on some of my projects, but this could really be handled much nicer by the browser makers.

This isn’t something that should be handled by webdevelopers, it should be handled by the browser. Now I don’t know a lot about windows internals, but it would seem like this should be fairly easy to pull off at least on OSX (see Omniweb) for someone like Apple, or a Safari hacker.

I couldn’t agree more with Adam when he says “HTML forms are some of the least friendly UI in applications today”, so why am I still stuck with this crappy textarea?


  1. rabble Says:

    You broke planetrubyonrails. Could you re-encode the textarea tag as escaped html so we can read the rest of the planet RoR site?

  2. johan Says:

    I’m afraid it is escaped?

  3. Sam Says:

    It would be interesting to see someone use mach_inject/mach_override to provide this kind of functionality to Safari.