What is WYSIWYG? How the Online Editor has Developed Over Time


What You See is What You Get

People may confuse WYSIWYG with just another acronym that kids use as slangs, but it has been a special part of HTML for a long time. WYSIWYG is an HTML editor which determined how the web page or blog would appear when it goes live. This editor focuses more on the end results, allowing the developers to get a clearer sense of what they are creating.

Today WYSIWYG is being used in several platforms including Adobe Dreamweaver, Google Web Designer, and HubSpot Marketing Platform. It is simplifying the developer’s experience while producing content. This article will cover WYSIWYG and how it came to be an effective tool.

What is WYSIWYG?

Before WYSIWYG was only used to determine how an end product would look, the term WYSIWYG was popularized by a newsletter that had the same name. The newsletter was published by Arlene and Jose Ramos, which talked about the pre-press industry. It was later sold to employees at the Stanford Research institute after three years of its publishing time.

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Today the term WYSIWYG is used as a synonym for web editing practices. There are other new terms like WYSIWYG  (what you see is more or less what you get) and WYSIWYG where A is almost, that got introduced as variations to WYSIWYG functionality.

History of WYSIWYG

The WYSIWYG function has been existing from the pre-world wide web times and was first introduced in the 1970s. That time the content creators had only a little control over what their content would look like compared to how it is today. The typists were instructed to use control codes to achieve desired formats. The functions such as centring a paragraph was a completely manual process where the typists used to force space the paragraphs to achieve a proper format.

In 1972, Charles Simonyi was assigned under computer scientist Butler Lampson to work on developing a WYSIWYG editor. Xerox PARC was the company that first started to conceptualize this function with Simonyi and Lampson.

IN 1974, the first WYSIWYG document preparation program was developed and was named “Bravo”. It was the first documentation program that was used for the first fully networked personal computer, Xerox Alto. However, Xeros Alto was never marketed for the public.



Due to the advanced in the past two decades, the editors today have a more streamlined functioning than ever. With new editors like Google Web Designer and HubSpot’s editors, WYSIWYG has become more realistic and effective. The tools today are easier to use and allow more flexibility to the designers.  The designers today can merge animations, interactivity, integrations, and endless designs on their websites. The ideas are more compelling today, and users experience a more accurate reflection of what the designers want to portray on their blogs or websites.

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