Project of the Month, December 2005

FCKeditor

Description of project

Online text editor (DHTML editor) that brings to the Web many of the features of desktop editors like Word. FCKeditor is XHTML-compliant and works with Firefox and Internet Explorer. It is written in JavaScript, and uses AJAX for server-side integration. The project also offer an integrated, customizable repository browser for images and files.

Trove info

  • Development Status: 5 - Production/Stable
  • Intended Audience: Developers, end users/desktop, information technology
  • License: GNU Library or Lesser General Public License (LGPL)
  • Operating System: OS independent
  • Programming Language: JavaScript on the client side, and Active FoxPro, ASP, C#, Cold Fusion, Java, Lasso, Perl, and PHP
  • Topic: Dynamic content, text processing
  • Translations: Interface localization available in 49 languages
  • User Interface: Web-based

Why and how did you get started?

In 2003 I was working on several CMS-based Web sites. A key feature for good CMSes is providing an easy way for users to edit the content of their sites using their browsers. At that time, there were no good open source online editors available. We were forced to use a commercial ActiveX (and therefore IE-only) product. I decided to start my own open source project.

What is the software's intended audience?

FCKeditor is designed for developers and companies that want to give their clients a rich Web experience when working with rich text online, as might be used in CMSes, blogs, Web mail, and of course the upcoming Web 2.0 applications.

How many people do you believe are using your software?

We are approaching 500,000 downloads for this year alone, with an average of 2,000 downloads per day recently. This makes me think that FCKeditor could be the most used online editor in the market.

What are a couple of notable examples of how people are using your software?

Plone (natively supported by FCKeditor), Mambo, Nuke, Movable Type, and many other CMSes, portals, and blog systems have ready-to-go FCKeditor integration efforts. There are also people working on integrating it with MediaWiki, the Wikipedia engine.

What gave you an indication that your project was becoming successful?

FCKeditor has a large and lively community around it, which is always interacting through our forums. Our downloads are increasing. I have been interviewed by NewsForge. I have been contacted by a number of companies, including big ones, regarding the editor.

What has been your biggest surprise?

In the beginning, it seemed to me that I was alone, working hard. Then one day, people started asking to give something back to me, because they really enjoyed using my software. That sensation is amazing, and motivates you to keep going harder and better every day.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I always have been focused on making FCKeditor a successful open source project. The challenge is to live your life working for open source and free software. I am always looking for ways to generate revenue from it. If I can do that, I can dedicate even more time to the project.

Why do you think your project has been so well received?

I have always put the quality of the software first. While there are many open source projects out there, I do my best to be among the few solid ones.

Where do you see your project going?

Next year will be very important for FCKeditor. I'm planning on working on compatibility and offering more services to our community.

What's on your project wish list?

Because it is an open source project, I have bugs reported for every small and hidden thing people find in the editor. One of my priorities is working on those bugs. In the coming year I plan to address different browsers' compatibility (often by having to work on the browsers' code, instead of the editor, sadly) and accessibility issues. I also plan enhancements to the documentation and the Web site.

What are you most proud of?

Seeing so many faces out there, happy because they are enjoying my hard work.

If you could change something about the project, what would it be?

I really would like to have started it one year before, because I'm so excited about things that are about to come to fruition.

How do you coordinate the project?

I develop the core client-side JavaScript myself. Third-party contributions also pass through my hands, for quality purposes. We have many server-side integration modules. Each language or system has its own group that has complete freedom on coding in their languages. Then we have our localization team -- a big group of translators for the many languages we support. When new versions are about to be released, they make the language file updates.

Do you work on the project full-time, or do you have another job?

I'm an independent Web developer, specializing in interface programming (JavaScript and Flash) and server-side systems, such as CMS and dedicated solutions. For now my work time in the editor is shared with other projects.

If you work on the project part-time, how much time would you say you spend, per week, on it?

Average 20 hours weekly.

What is your development environment like?

I work with a notebook, with a dual monitor system. Being an ASP.Net specialized developer, my environment is naturally Microsoft with Visual Studio. There is a Wi-Fi net set, and a Mac iBook for testing (generously donated by the community). I'm planning on buying another notebook for testing.

Milestones:

1 March 2003 -- Project startup
25 May 2003 -- Version 1.0 released
9 May 2004 -- Version 1.6 released. It was the last and the most important release of the 1.x series.
1 June 2004 -- Version 2.0 Beta 1 released.
18 July 2005 -- Version 2.0 Final released, after a long and delicate development process with many betas and release candidates.

How can others contribute?

The most important and valuable thing developers can do for us is test and report bugs (and possibly offer fixes). I'm also constantly looking for financial support through donations and advertising.


More projects of the month


Project Name: FCKeditor

Project leaders:

Name: Frederico Caldeira KnabbenFrederico Caldeira Knabben
Age: 29
Occupation or experience: Freelance analyst and development of Web applications
Education: Bachelor in Marketing and Advertising, UNIP
Location: São Paulo, Brazil

I would also like to leave here a big thanks for all my contributors, who have always given their best to enhance the quality of our project, and especially to Simone Chiaretta, who has been with us a long time.

Quote about SourceForge.net?

Sourceforge is the bricks that made the open source history wall.

Why did you place the project on SourceForge.net?

It came natural for me; without SourceForge, my project would not be "open source enough."

How has SourceForge.net helped you?

Sourceforge is a reference for open source. It gave me a lot of visibility, especially in the beginning when no one knew us; and now it offers quality services for critical needs, such as bug reporting and file release management.

The number one benefit of using SourceForge.net is:

Having a central point of reference for many "must-have" community tools.