WYSIWYG editors: And what now?

  • Eddy Boeve
  • Lon Barfield
  • Steven Pemberton
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 753)


Most editors nowadays are said to be WYSIWYG (‘What you see is what you get’). Although this implies that the effects of user actions are made immediately visible to the user, this does not usually include the effects of other causes. This a logical consequence of the fact that the user edits a copy of the document, rather than the document itself. These kind of systems then, can better be classified as ‘What you see is what you will get’ systems.

This report describes an editor model that is a further extension of the WYSIWYG principle: ‘Things are exactly as they appear’, or TAXATA for short. In these kind of systems, the user carries out every action by editing, and what is more important, by editing the object directly. Furthermore, modifications made to objects by the system are made immediately visible to the user.

Amongst other things, the reports describes the underlying model and the necessary editing concepts to construct such a TAXATA editor environment, based on general user-interface principles. Finally the design of one particular edit command has been described, to give an impression of the specific design issues in such an environment.

1991 CR Categories

D.2.2 [Software Engineering]: Tools and Techniques — user interfaces D.2.3 [Software Engineering]: Program coding — program editors D.2.6 [Software Engineering]: Programming Environments — interactive 


user-interfaces syntax directed editors editor design 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Barfield, Lon. Editing Tree Structures. Report CS-R9264. CWI, Amsterdam, 1992.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barfield, Lon. Graphics in the Views System. Report CS-R9260, CWI, Amsterdam, 1992.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barfield, Lon. The User Interface. Concepts & Design. ISBN 0-201-54441-5, Addison-Wesley Ltd., 1993.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Boeve, Eddy. Modelling Interaction Tools in the Views Architecture. Report CS-R 9261, CWI, Amsterdam, 1992.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bordegoni, M. Multimedia in Views, Report CS-R9263, CWI, Amsterdam, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dewan, Prasun and Solomon, Marvin. An Approach to Support Automatic Generation of User Interfaces. In ACM Transactions on Programming languages and Systems, 12 (4), pp. 566–609, October 1990.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fraser, C.W. A Generalized Text Editor. In Communications of the ACM, 23 (3), pp. 154–158, March 1980.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ganzevoort. J. Maintaining presentation invariants in the Views system. Report CS-R9262, CWI, Amsterdam, 1992.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Geurts, L.J.M., Meertens, L.G.L.T. and Pemberton, S., The ABC Programmer's Handbook. ISBN 0-13-000027-2, Prentice-Hall, 1989.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Grudin, J. The Case Against User Interface Consistency. In Communications of the ACM, 1989. 32 (10), pp. 1164–1173.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Huls, C. and Dijkstra, A. Structured Design of Word Processing Functionality, In Proceedings of the HCI '92 Conference, pp. 291–306, September 1992.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Koorn, J.W.C. Connecting Semantic Tools to a Syntax-Directed User-Interface, Report P9222, University of Amsterdam, December 1992.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Logger, M.H. An Integrated text and syntax-directed editor. Report CS-R8820, CWI, Amsterdam, 1988.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Meertens, L.G.L.T., Pemberton, S. and Rossum, G. van. The ABC structure editor — Structure-based editing for the ABC programming environment. Report CS-R9256, CWI, Amsterdam, 1992.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nielsen, Jakob. Coordinating User Interfaces For Consistency. Academic Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Norman, Donald. A. The Psychology of Everyday Things. ISBN 0-465-06709-3, Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1988.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Pemberton, S. The Views Application Environment. Report CS-R9257, CWI, Amsterdam, 1992.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pemberton, S. and Barfield, Lon. The MUSA design methodology. Report CS-R9262, CWI, Amsterdam, 1992.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Shneiderman, B. Direct Manipulation: A Step Beyond Programming Languages. In IEEE Transactions on Computers, 16 (8), pp. 57–69, August 1983.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Swinehart, D.C, Zellweger, P.T., Beach, R.J. and Hagmann, R.B. A Structural View of the Cedar Programming Environment. In ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems, pp. 419–490, 8 (4), October 1986.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Thimbleby, Harold. Basic User Engineering Principles for Display Editors. In Pathways to the Information Society. Proceedings of the Sixth Informational Conference on Computer Communications, pp. 537–541, M.B. Williams (Ed.), September 1982, London. North Holland Publ. Co. Amsterdam, 1982.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Thimbleby, Harold. User Interface Design. ACM Press (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company), pp. 247–249, ISBN 0-201-41618-2, New York, 1990.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eddy Boeve
    • 1
  • Lon Barfield
    • 1
  • Steven Pemberton
    • 1
  1. 1.CWIAB AmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations