Do you already have some knowledge of Draft.js, and wonder how Draftail differs? Are you wondering which of the two is appropriate for your project? This reference is for you.
Draftail is an opinionated editor built with Draft.js, a framework to build rich text experiences. Draft.js is relatively low-level, so Draftail provides high-level APIs to easily implement simple formatting needs (e.g. bold) in a WISYWIG style, as well as providing access to the low-level APIs for more custom extensions.
- A toolbar button, with an active state, an icon or label, and tooltip including description and keyboard shortcut
- A keyboard shortcut, for formats that have built-in support
- A Markdown shortcut, for formats that have a Markdown representation
- Default styles for formatted text
- Support to copy-paste custom formats between editors
- Filtering out of inactive formats on paste
The above is also built-in for:
- Line breaks
- Horizontal rules
- To some extent, links and images
Additionally to the above, Draftail provides lower-level APIs for entities, both inline and block-level. Most of the above capabilities are also built-in for entities, except for:
- Entity rendering, whether block or inline. The React component needs to be provided.
- Entity creation UI – when clicking the button in the toolbar, or editing an existing entity. This is supported by providing a React component that will render and be able to update the Draft.js content.
Inline styles, blocks, and entities should be enough for most WYSIWYG experiences. For more advanced features, there are further low-level APIs available:
- Decorators, access to the corresponding Draft.js API.
- Controls, a very simple API to render a React component in the toolbar that can edit the editor content in any way.
- Plugins, API of the Draft.js Plugins plugin architecture.
Additionally, the editor supports overriding its toolbars for even more advanced changes (e.g. use separate modal toolbars for inline and block-level formatting).
Behind the scenes
Beyond supporting all of those APIs, most of the value in Draftail over plain Draft.js is:
- Having good support for keyboard shortcuts and Markdown handling out of the box. There would be quite a lot of boilerplate code to write to get this with a vanilla editor.
- Advanced support to whitelist only the formats you want the editor to support, automatically filtering-out paste of other formats the editor doesn’t have enabled.
- Support for copy-paste of custom formatting between editors, which Draft.js doesn’t support out of the box.