Onto Journals…

We (at Coko) have been working with Collabra Psychology to develop a Manuscript Submission System with them. The cool thing is, we can re-use a lot of work that we put into Editoria since we built PubSweet with the notion of highly reusable components (on the frontend and backend)…

I find it so satisfying to see our ideas and hard work put into building systems with the ‘right level of abstraction’ paying off. We are pretty much putting together a cluster of tech that can be re-assembled to meet a huge variety of publishing workflows very quickly…

The platform is called ‘xpub’ for now and it’s looking pretty good. We were able to assemble a basic dashboard, submission page, and editor plus link it up to INK for MS Word -> HTML conversion in a matter of days. All still in early days but looking great.

Login page for our first Journal platform.
Login page for our first Journal platform.

You knew the day was coming … 🙂

The Case of the Missing Click

We are drilling down further into Editoria – currently running production workflow tests with the copy editors and authors involved. During this process we are discovering some interesting insights into how production editors work.

One such case is that Kate Warne and Cindy Fulton from UCP wanted to be able to double click on a name of a chapter in the book builder component (a segment of which is displayed below), inorder to open up that chapter in the editor…


The interesting thing about this is that double clicks generally aren’t used in the web platform world. However, Kate and Cindy found they were constantly, out of habit, double clicking on the chapter names (but of course, nothing happened). This comes from their experience of working with MS Word documents on a file system (their computer). In these environments you do double click on the relevant .docx file to ‘open the chapter’.

I found this pretty interesting. It also exposes an interesting tension between what is generally considered standard user experience best practices for the web and established behavior (even if coming from another context). Many UX experts will go so far as to say double-click must die).

However, if Editoria did not support this, it would drive the production editors crazy as the behavior is so normal for them now. We will change Editoria’s behaviour to match their expectations.

Learning things like this is exactly why we use the Cabbage Tree Method to design software. Users are, after all, use case specialists and we should develop open source practices to involve them in the production design process as much as possible.

First Global PubSweet Conference

I just finished a 3 day meet in Athens with the PubSweet team.

No event is complete without a t-shirt!

It was a fantastic meeting and we covered a huge amount of interesting ground. Most importantly we discussed:

  • the remaining features for a PubSweet 1.0 (due end of June)
  • some future ideas for PubSweet 2.0 (possible GraphQL Apollo integration)
  • a demo and discussion around the latest Editoria (looks amazing!)
  • a workshop on how to think through Journal workflows with our decoupled approach
  • and a great discussion on how we could start growing a community model around Cabbage Tree Method principles (moving towards Cabbage Tree 2.0!)

We also looked at the new Athens office, and meet with Vasilis who is managing the production servers for the forthcoming UCP Editoria tests…

Now off to New Zealand! It was a really fantastic week!