"WYSIWYG, WYSIWYG! Wherefore art thou, WYSIWYG?" With apologies to the Bard, that's the chant that some of us designers and programmers were mumbling in the early days of web tools. Our standard web development tool, Notepad or some other text editor, just couldn't show us the fruits of our hard labor. We had to save the file, load it in our browser, and hope that we didn't miss a closing </tr> tag in the middle of our meticulously indented code. Unfortunately, many times we did miss that </tr> tag and had to spend at least a few minutes searching for the proper spot in which to insert it. Frustrating days those were, when all we really wanted to do was develop the slick data entry screen we were applying to our company's new online survey.
Then, magically it seems, along came tools such as NaviPress, HoTMetal, Webauthor, FrontPage (before Microsoft bought it) and Dreamweaver. These tools made it easier for the programmer to integrate the graphic designer's wishes with our effective and bug-free (right?!) code. We no longer had to waste time looking for the elusive, missed closing HTML tag or guessing at table widths and alignments. The age of WYSIWYG web development was here
That was way back in 1997. Since then, many other WYSIWYG web tools have come and gone, and some have stayed. And they all have their little quirks and problems. True WYSIWYG still isn't possible in all cases, although you can pretty much count on WYSIAWYG, although none of the other tools have the robust feature set that Dreamweaver MX contains. But it took even the mighty Macromedia a while to get there
From NetLingo.com: "An acronym-this is a classic acronym for a technology that allows you to view or print a document exactly as it looks."
From FOLDOC (Free on-line Dictionary of Computing): "<jargon> (WYSIWYG) /wiz'ee-wig/ Describes a user interface for a document preparation system under which changes are represented by displaying a more-or-less accurate image of the way the document will finally appear, e.g. when printed. This is in contrast to one that uses more-or-less obscure commands that do not result in immediate visual feedback.
"True WYSIWYG in environments supporting multiple fonts or graphics is a rarely-attained ideal; there are variants of this term to express real-world manifestations including WYSIAWYG (What You See Is *Almost* What You Get) and WYSIMOLWYG (What You See Is More or Less What You Get)."line