I am using the Editor WYSIWYG add-on so that I can have WYSIWYG support in the category description editor. This has been working fine until the following issue arose.

When the category description is left in a way that appears empty, it actually outputs the following <p><br></p> which is bad for three reasons:

  1. It is not XHTML compliant (the <br> should be <br/>).
  2. There is no sense for there to be an <br> element in the first place... it should be blank. Sure I can understand the empty <p> element but why the other?
  3. The following template logic fails to work (primary concern):

{if category_description}
<div class="category-description">{category_description}</div>

How can I prevent the Editor add-on from generating junk for when an empty description is specified? or alternatively how can I safely determine when the description is empty?

Note: I do not trust using {if category_description != '<p><br></p>'} for a number of reasons. a) browser compatibility, b) varying results for empty category description, c) it's too hacky

1 Answer 1


For the time being I have created the following plugin to workaround this issue. I am still interested in a proper solution (if there is one) though:

public function excl_empty_html() {
    $this->EE = &get_instance();

    // If content is empty then waste no further time
    $content = trim($this->EE->TMPL->fetch_param('content'));
    if ($content == '')
        return '';

    // Strip HTML tags and trim to determine if there is any physical content.
    if (trim(strip_tags($content)) == '')
        return '';

    // Finally parse output
    $variables[] = array(
        'content' => $content
    return $this->EE->TMPL->parse_variables($this->EE->TMPL->tagdata, $variables);


{exp:yourplugin:excl_empty_html content="{category_description}"}
    <div class="category-description">{content}</div>

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