Visual Editor allows to represent content as either in disabled or editable modes. The current disabled mode shows the final rendering of the page (as you would expect), but does not allow users to inspect some relevant information such as templates, references, or links.
A read-only mode, while not allowing users to modify the content, would show the different inspectors and dialogs to access additional information. This would be useful for the following scenarios:
- Visual access to protected pages (T53547). Pages that cannot be edited are currently exposed in wikitext to users. For example, users trying to copy an image or infobox from a protected article, will find themselves in the middle of wikitext to identify the code corresponding to such element to copy it, instead of having a more visual and simple experience (select the image/infobox, copy, and paste it).
- Inspecting the original content in Content translation (T203775, T197075). Translating content requires users to dig into the original information to better understand context and being able to translate it.
The read-only mode is defined as an intermediate mode between the current disabled and editable modes. It can be supported as an additional new mode, or as an improvement of the current disabled mode in VE that replaces it. It will support the following aspects:
- Present the content in a way that allows users to select the text but not modifying it (as the current disabled mode does).
- Inspectors and dialogs will be shown for elements (like "editing" mode), but replacing the edit/delete actions with an action to view the details instead.
- Inspected contents presented inside these dialogs will be shown using either the disabled mode (for plain text content) or the read-only mode (for rich text fields) to make sure that they cannot be modified but it is provided access to further details when needed.