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Create simple cross-browser textarea editor

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Create simple cross-browser textarea editor

Post  scvinodkumar on Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:19 pm

First, we will create the form.htm page containing the buttons and a javascript code that will call the functions which display and update editors textarea. I will not take too much time explaining the html code except that the form is using form.php file to display content submitted.
Download the button images here. http://bewebmaster.com/editorjs/images.zip

<title>Rich Text Editor</title>

<script language= "JavaScript" type= "text/javascript" src= "editor.js" ></script>
<table width="750">
<form action="form.php" name="edit" method="POST" id="edit" onsubmit="return submitForm();">
<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'bold', '')" ><img src="images/bold.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Bold" title="Bold"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'underline', '')" ><img src="images/underline.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Underline" title="Underline"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'italic', '')" ><img src="images/italic.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Italic" title="Italic"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'justifyleft', '')" ><img src="images/j_left.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Align Left" title="Align Left"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'justifycenter', '')" ><img src="images/j_center.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Align Center" title="Align Center"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'justifyright', '')" ><img src="images/j_right.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Align Right" title="Align Right"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'indent', '')" ><img src="images/indent.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Indent" title="Indent"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'outdent', '')" ><img src="images/outdent.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Outdent" title="Outdent"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'undo', '')" ><img src="images/undo.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Undo" title="Undo"></a> </td>

<td> <a href= "javascript:editorCommand('content', 'redo', '')" ><img src="images/redo.gif" width="25" height="24" alt="Redo" title="Redo"></a> </td>

<td width="100%" align="levt">Shift+Enter for single line spacing</td>
<td colspan="12">
<script language= "JavaScript" type= "text/javascript" >
function submitForm() {
return true;

<script language= "JavaScript" type= "text/javascript" >
//this calles displayEditor function. Parametars are (textarea name, textarea width, textarea height)
displayEditor('content', ' ', 600, 300);
<tr><td colspan="12"> <input type="submit" name="Submit" value="Submit"> </td></tr>


So let's create the javascript file that does all the work called editor.js.

//First lets initiate some variables

var isEditable= false;
var isIE;
var isGecko;
var isSafari;
var isKonqueror;

function initiateEditor() {
//check what browser is in use
var browser = navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase();
isIE = ((browser .indexOf( "msie" ) != -1) && (browser .indexOf( "opera" ) == -1) && (browser .indexOf( "webtv" ) == -1));
isGecko = (browser .indexOf( "gecko" ) != -1);
isSafari = (browser .indexOf( "safari" ) != -1);
isKonqueror = (browser.indexOf( "konqueror" ) != -1);

//enable designMode if the browser is not safari or konqueror.
if (document.getElementById && document.designMode && !isSafari && !isKonqueror) {
isEditable= true;
//Javascript function dislpayEditor will create the textarea.

function displayEditor(editor, html, width, height) {
document.writeln('<iframe id="' + editor + '" name="' + editor + '" width="' + width + 'px" height="' + height + 'px"></iframe>');
//create a hidden field that will hold everything that is typed in the textarea
document.writeln('<input type="hidden" id="hidden' + editor + '" name="' + editor + '" value="">');
//assign html (textarea value) to hiddeneditor
document.getElementById('hidden' + editor).value = html;
//call function designer
designer(editor, html);
document.writeln('<textarea name="' + editor + '" id="' + editor + '" cols="39" rows="10">' + html + '</textarea>');

//this is designer function that enables designMode and writes defalut text to the text area
function designer(editor, html) {
var mainContent= '<html id="' + editor + '"><head></head><body>"' + html + '"</body></html>' ;
//assign the frame(textarea) to the edit variable using that frames id
var edit = document.getElementById(editor).contentWindow.document;
//write the content to the textarea
//enable the designMode
edit.designMode = "On" ;
//enable the designMode for Mozilla
document.getElementById(content).contentDocument.designMode = "on" ;

//To execute command we will use javascript function execCommand.
function editorCommand(editor, command, option) {
// first we assign the content of the textarea to the variable mainField
var mainField;
mainField = document.getElementById(editor).contentWindow;
// then we will use execCommand to execute the option on the textarea making sure the textarea stays in focus
try {
mainField.document.execCommand(command, false, option);
} catch (e) { }

function updateEditor(editor) {
if (!isEditable) return;
//assign the value of the textarea to the hidden field.
var hiddenField = document.getElementById('hidden' + editor);
if (hiddenField.value == null) hiddenField.value = "";
hiddenField.value = document.getElementById(editor).contentWindow.document.body.innerHTML;

Now that we have the JavaScript code let's create form.php file. Most important part of the form.php is the phpSafe function. This function makes sure that quotes are displayed appropriatly.

// from the form we are getting the hidden field value and sending it to the phpSafe function
$hiddencontent = phpSafe($hiddencontent);
function phpSafe($strText) {
//removes backslash created by php from the string
$tmpString = $strText;
$tmpString = str_replace(chr(92), "", $tmpString);
return $tmpString;
echo $hiddencontent;

Save all three files in the same folder and upload to your server. Play with the code and try adding more functionality or buttons.


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