Phasing out INK

When Coko was established, we developed a application  called INK. It was a publishing-orientated job manager. You could write ‘jobs’ and it would process them and manage the resources. By ‘job’ here I mean something computational such as converting a file from one format to another, analyzing content, validating formats, and so on.

INK has been around for 3 years and it has served Coko well. We developed it  with the talented Charlie Ablett. Charlie did an awesome job and if you are looking for a great full stack dev that specialises in Rails, I highly recommend Charlie.

INK is still being used,  but we are phasing it out and replacing it with a job manager built into PubSweet. The reasons for this are as follows (not in order of importance):

  1. to reduce dev costs for us (we are a small team) and for anyone wanting to run job processing we need to harmonise the tech stack. PubSweet is exclusively JavaScript while INK is Rails. So rather than rely on a specialist dev we can pass the work around our existing PubSweet team.
  2. INK is a complex stack. It relies on a lot of additional technologies that made it very hard to set up, though that hasn’t stopped people from setting it up! However, such things can be done a lot more simply these days, so we are opting now to take an easier path now available to us.

At the time of first development,  the stack we used for INK was the right decision. PubSweet was also at an early stage, as was all the tech it relied on. JS on the server was emergent and there wasn’t the tech to run good job managers. At the same time we needed something to do the job and INK has served that purpose well.

Jure, the lead dev for PubSweet, has built out the new job runner and we have some scripts that now run the XSweet (docx->HTML) conversion scripts. You can see that code here:

EBI are integrating this for their PubSweet platform. After Editoria has hit its community milestones we will also flick it to the new system. The nice thing about all this is that you’ll be able to install (eg) Editoria and all the docx->html ingestion pipelines will work without needing to scramble for INK auth details.

We would be very lost without INK, and we have made great use of it. I want to again thank the equally amazing Charlie Ablett for the amazing INK.

coda: Charlie is often looking for interesting new projects. If you are looking for a great dev then let me know and I’ll put you in touch.