This image shows a section of a page being edited in Expression web 3. The images below depict the same page as rendered in nine browsers (all either easily available and/or in common use in May 2010). The screen shots were crafted so that each browser portal had the same width and height, excluding the browser chrome (menu, tool bars and the status bar).
It can be seen that in each browser vertical spacing is different, and IE9 (preview 2) even has different horizontal rendering.
More obviously, four browsers show a brown border around the main content, four show a green border and one is very limited in rendering CSS.
If a web editor (examples: Dreamweaver, FrontPage, Expression Web, Visual Studio Web Express) were designed to provide a WYSIWYG design view of the page, which would be the view depicted? [Click thumbnails below to open larger images]
Safari 4 (Windows)
[Click thumbnails to open larger images]
Can a web page editor be WYSIWYG?Yes. Maybe. But the design features like visual aids (such as showing margins, padding and virtual borders for elements) would disappear - if the browser should not show it, nor should the design view (or it would not be WYSIWYG), which can make seeing what is going on in the page difficult.
Which browser does the result resemble? A good question - the rendering in design view might resemble the rendering in a browser, but not necessarily the right browser, and definitely not all browsers. This image is that section of the page in Expression Web 3.
Is it feasible for a web editor to show the results of all browsers (possibly by changing a setting)? No. There are currently three versions of Internet Explorer in common use, plus one in beta (January 2010). There are several versions of FireFox about, not to mention Opera, Safari and Chrome - and Mac versions as well to consider. Then think about the various smartphones, mobile-phones, Android and Windows tablets, iPads and Kindles. A web editor that can be WYSIWYG in any and all of those (even one at a time) would be prohibitively expensive to produce and the code would probably be considerably bloated. And it would have to be updated two or three times a year as new browsers (and updated browsers) appear.
A similar page to this shows how browsers varied a few years ago - the page depicted was created in 2003, and has long since been superseded by this one.