FreeTextBox 4.0 Update

September 10, 2007 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments

For the last year, I’ve been working and reworking FreeTextBox 4 for various internal projects, trying to come up with a good API that will work well for both ASP.NET developers and generic JavaScript developers. The major updates that I wanted to do were

  • new more object oriented JavaScript API based on Prototype (and including some features like one toolbar for multiple editors)
  • support for other environments than ASP.NET
  • support for Opera and Safari
  • new styling and theming (including the Office 2007 style Floatie)
  • live CSS editing in another window
  • full document editing with doctypes

All of these are features built into the content manager of DTS website ( Right now I have an early build at:


I will have a beta release this month without all the features to help developers migrate (if they so choose) and then finish out the remaining features over the coming months. Having the entire control work in JavaScript apart from any dependancies on ASP.NET allows an ASP.NET developer to use a normal <asp:TextBox> control and “upgrade” with FreeTextBox. In plain HTML and JavaScript, this looks like:

<textarea id="MyHtmlCode" cols="14" rows="8"></textarea>
<script type="text/javascript">
var FreeTextBox1 = new FreeTextBox('MyHtmlCode');

And in ASP.NET, it would look like

<asp:TextBox id="MyHtmlCode" TextMode="MultiLine" runat="server" />
<script type="text/javascript">
var FreeTextBox1 = new FreeTextBox('<%= MyHtmlCode.ClientID %>');

Then in your AJAX code you can reference the editor object and its method directly:

<script type="text/javascript">
var html = FreeTextBox1.getHtml(); 
FreeTextBox1.setHtml('<b>new html</b>');

20 responses to “FreeTextBox 4.0 Update”

  1. UK says:

    Although I appreciate the update, for me the FreeTextBox time is over, unfortunately šŸ™

    No more updates or replies to forum question since approx. 1,5 years forced me to remove all FreeTextBox references from several projects since the don’t work well with IE7 and Ajax.

    I am _rather_ dissapointed.

    It would be suicide to put on FTB again. I already had a bad time, explaining to my bosses and customers why I put on the wrong horse and to justify the rewrites to other HTML editors.

  2. John Dyer says:

    Uwe, thanks for your comments. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. Over the past year, I’ve been working on different versions of FreeTextBox 4.0 but never quite been happy with its quality for a release. I think I’ve finally got something that will work for a lot of people and provide some features that will enable solutions impossible with other editors.

    As for the forums, I had been spending too much time answering questions for free users. So I moved all the tech support to email for paying customers and allowed the forums to work for community support on the free version. Moving away from providing free tech support for a free product has allowed me to focus on building a better control for both free and paid users.

    Again, I’m sorry to hear that you had to move editors. That really stinks.

  3. Don’t worry John. I’m waiting for in. And just in time too for my "surprise" coming to the net soon. šŸ˜‰

    Ping me for more buddy.

    Ps, like the new blog.

  4. UK says:

    I purchased a license and I would have been glad if I got paid support.

    Since I really love(d) your editor, I’m really sorry, too, to not being able to use it anymore.

  5. Lynn says:

    John, it’s good to see you back on the web. Hope that you can make FTB 4.0 a success. While improved javascript support is welcome, please don’t abandon the current level of support, and please enable ajax support.

    I’m curious to know how much of an improvment and expansion you anticipate for the javascript API? Please share when you can.

  6. John Dyer says:

    I might have a release without explicit Microsoft AJAX.NET support since that requires forking an ASP.NET 1.1 and ASP.NET 2.0 branch with different features. If you’re using any other AJAX framework, you can just use ftb.getHtml() and ftb.setHtml() to update the editor in JavaScript.

    Some of the major improvements in the JavaScript (as well as ASP.NET side) have to do the separation of code for the toolbar and editor so that they can work independently. You could even create a new kind of toolbar item without needing to change how the editor area or parent toolbar functions. I’ll get some examples up and it will hopefully make more sense.

  7. lynn eriksen says:

    Looking forward to the samples. Two more questions:

    1) will FT 4.0 be able work inside the without explict support being added to the JS?

    2) Right now I am working on a product release that will have the strong named FTB .dll served from the GAC, and .js and image files served from WebResource.axd. Any way this will be supported in 4.0? If not, then what about a source branch on CodePlex?

  8. lynn eriksen says:


    1) will FT 4.0 be able work inside the AJAX Update Panel without explict support being added to the JS?

  9. John Dyer says:

    Yes, FTB4 works inside the MS AJAX UpdatePanel with no code changes needed.

  10. kris says:

    Out of the Box, 4.0 Beta version didn’t work for me.
    All I did was added — the following in ASP.NET page.
    Every time it starts with Script error on Page and Toolbar never showed up..

    Any ideas ?

    <FTB:FreeTextBox id="FreeTextBox1" runat="Server" Width="650px" Height="300px" StyleSheetUrl="sample.css" Theme="simple">
    <FTB:ToolbarGroup Title="Simple Toolbar">
    <FTB:ToolbarItem Name="ParagraphMenu" />
    <FTB:ToolbarItem Name="FontFacesList" />
    <FTB:ToolbarItem Name="Bold" />
    <FTB:ToolbarItem Name="Italic" />
    <FTB:ToolbarItem Name="Underline" />

  11. kris says:

    My prev comment is missing code ( removed brackets this time )

    FTB:FreeTextBox id="FreeTextBox1" runat="Server" Width="650px" Height="300px" StyleSheetUrl="sample.css" Theme="simple"
    FTB:ToolbarGroup Title="Simple Toolbar"
    FTB:ToolbarItem Name="ParagraphMenu"
    FTB:ToolbarItem Name="FontFacesList"
    FTB:ToolbarItem Name="Bold"
    FTB:ToolbarItem Name="Italic"
    FTB:ToolbarItem Name="Underline"

  12. anhpt says:

    i have tested FTB 4.0 but i don’t work with UpdatePanel
    Please Help me. I use in 2.0 and Atlas framework

  13. Chuck says:

    is there a way for me to obtain a refund for the FTB license i recently purchased. I too have struggled obtaining support, even though i have paid for the product. My simple dilemma is I cannot get the insert/delete table row/column commands to show in the toolbar. The add table option will. They don’t appear on local host or remote utilizing the readme examples or any "working" code example i can find on the net.

    Any help would be appreciated. I’d have to have to move onto another product.

  14. Wouter says:

    Hi John,

    I like your textbox and now you are implementing it for Opera and Safari I would like to start using it.
    But will FTB 4.0 support the creation of custom toolbar items like toolbarbuttons with scriptblock and the javascript api (e.g. this.ftb.insertHtml()) as seen on the forums?

    Greetz Wouter

  15. Keith says:


    You stated "Yes, FTB4 works inside the MS AJAX UpdatePanel with no code changes needed." I’m assuming that you have tested the implementation and that’s how you can make this statement. I am seeing quite a few comments from folks like myself that can’t get it to work in a simple 2.0 update panel. Are we missing something, or is it that it will one day work in an update panel?

  16. JCQ says:

    FTB 4 is still in beta and no information from author, after that how can we use free component (each time it is same problem) !! He should say " FTB is stopped" instead of letting people waiting for something…

  17. John Dyer says:

    JCQ, thanks for your comment. You’re right to say that I haven’t had a full release of version 4.0. There are several reasons for that, but it’s not quite right to say "FTB has stopped". I’ve still been releasing updates for version 3.0 (including most of the 4.0 features) including a release just last week.

  18. Opera and Safari is one i use

  19. Mikael says:


    What’s up with FreeTextBox still going or a closed project? Is there a dll for beta 4 because i really need the ajax functionality…


Hi, I'm John Dyer. In my day job, I build websites and create online seminary software for a seminary in Dallas. I also like to release open source tools including a pretty popular HTML5 video player and build tools that help people find best bible commentaries and do bible study. And just for fun, I also wrote a book on the theology of technology and media.

Fork me on GitHub

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