Chasing the Cursor

A chat with Christos Kokosias about building web- based word processors including Wax and Wax 2. Christos is very experienced in this and offers some insights into what is involved as well as some comments on using various frameworks such as Substance and ProseMirror.

It is a little technical, but if you aren’t technical and stay with it you will get quite some interesting info from what Christos has to say 🙂

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If you want to download the audio then right click here. Photos here. All media CC-BY

ProseMirror and the Guardian

This from the Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/info/2019/jan/24/leaving-scribe

“Just over five years since Scribe was born, we have decided to bring to an end the active development of the project. We are working on implementing a new text editor based on ProseMirror that we hope to open source in the future.”

Wax 2 is the open source Scholarly Editor we are building on ProseMirror. Scholarly Editors have a unique workflow (eg citation management) and tools (eg entity linking) that are quite unique.

https://gitlab.coko.foundation/wax/wax-prosemirror

Anyone that wants to join the effort, please let me know!

NYT using ProseMirror

A while ago, while researching into editor frameworks, I asked a question on the ProseMirror discussion app about who is using ProseMirror.

https://discuss.prosemirror.net/t/who-is-using-prosemirror/1230/

As it happens, it looks like the NYTimes is also using PM, and they just posted this interesting article about what they have done:

https://open.nytimes.com/building-a-text-editor-for-a-digital-first-newsroom-f1cb8367fc21

The work looks great, unfortunately, however, I think the plugins they are discussing are closed source… I’m going to see if I can reach out to them and ask about it.

The Age of the Editor Framework

Once upon a time Substance.io was the only framework available for building editors. Now it seems we have entered a new age of editor frameworks… the leading contenders look to be:

  • ProseMirror – see this post featuring some examples plus check out this editor assembled by Atlassian.
  • CKEditor5 – once an embedded WYSIWYG style editor, it now offers an editor framework called CKEditor5. Some examples here.
  • And of course Slate and Draftjs. These two have been around for a while but I’m still getting a handle on them… their examples are a little clunky and I don’t have a sense yet as to how they compare to the above.

It is a new age. Whats interesting to me is that there is an emergent new category of software – editors built on top of editor frameworks… we don’t see many examples at this moment because it is a relatively new field – ProseMirror was 1.0 only late last year, the latest CKEditor5 1.0 beta was also released only a few months ago,  while Substance released a beta over a year ago (they are yet to release a stable 1.0).

But examples will come in time. I think we will see more community develop around some of these projects (ProseMirror seems to be the leading contender to me on this front), and some sophisticated apps built with these tools. The project that develops the following will start leading the field :

  1. a humming community around the libraries that provide feedback and can have input into the overall design
  2. a thriving community building apps using the libs and helping each other to do so
  3. exemplar applications (multiple) emerging out of (2)

We are watching and learning…Thanks to Jure for his research on this recently.