blog update 17 Sept 2017


Author & Liquid

I launched Liquid | Author to the App Store the Friday before The Future of Text and we have had some time to test it and Jacob has worked on improvements but today is the Sunday after and I’ve had to withdraw it from sale since there are still some issues.

What remains to be done are a number of smaller issues, which I’m sure he can complete on Monday, but there is also the issue with the pinch to collapse into Outline which is concerning me since this is something he has worked on even with a special build. Maybe it’s really simply to fix, maybe it’s more fundamental.

I have also introduced a change which I hope will be quite a big boost for the project, removing Liquid | Flow as a separate product and integrating it into Liquid | Author so that I only have one macOS product and yes, Flow will still be useable from all applications but will now be called just Liquid again :-)

I have therefore re-written the User Guide:

This causes more work and time and stress. Will it ever be releasable? It is simply not easy to develop with a small budget. I hope Author will be solid enough so that the stress on my chest will lessen (I feel like I’m about to star in the original Aliens movie) and I can think more about development and so on…


Future of Text

The feedback has been very good and it really is great to have quite a few people from Southampton involved. Second day feedback not as excellent and maybe in the future we simply make it a networking/discussion day? Archived:



I feel utterly at the mercy of development for Author as to how I can do with my PhD. I am not a literature review or review person nor am I am philosopher, I am an inventor/developer who needs to live in the environment I am trying to invent for. If I don’t have Author to build Liquid Views into, I simply can’t see what I can do.

I mapped out some interactions for mac vs iPad which was useful. What became clear from this is that interactions for executing commands immediately and an equivalent for mouse over to show further information needs to be developed for iOS for Liquid Views:

This is related to mapping functions to interactions for Liquid View in general:

Which situated within the space of textual elements, as shown in a  small view:

And a massive view:

All of which is designed to augment the document’s knowledge lifecycle, in a very wide map, which is best viewed in the Scapple authoring app where you can zoom and pan and which presents design issues for Liquid Views because of its size and interaction complications:

Anyway, tomorrow we go to Oxford and I’ll get to spend some time with Wendy and Edgar will hopefully get to meet Tim.


Note: I was planning to design a freeform thinking tool for iOS but it becomes clear again and again that any tool must be part of a real workflow, which is why Liquid Views are a view of normal Author documents.

The Future of Text, Tuesday the 12th

On the second day of the 2017 Future of Text symposium we had a good group where we worked to listing what we feel the important and interesting issues are for the future of text.

This was first summarised in a collaborative Google Sheet like this:

Which I then summarised into this:

This was still quite unwieldy so I put this into Scapple (with errors, there was just a short break). What I did here was to put the names on the left and their paragraphs in the centre, with categories listed on the left as they emerged:

The small text was hard to read and the lines not too informative so I changed the layout. Here The categories are spread (manually) around the screen in chunks based on ‘votes’ (I asked everyone to drag a line from their name to the categories during lunch, to indicate what they thought was important and interesting):

This was slightly useful but it did really highlight the issues with many lines and not having auto layouts based on criteria, such as ‘List By Most Connections, vertically’ but it did help us arrive at the end of the day quote:

The is to work to build tools to augment academic improvement which will be impactful

The Future of Text, Monday the 11th

The Future of Text was on Monday the 11th and Tuesday the 12th this week and I am very happy.

Day One was 10 min presentations and 5 min Q&A

This time it was hosted at the University of Southampton where I am studying for my PhD and there were quite a few of my colleagues this time, not just disparate people who come together for a day or two and then disperse.

I posted a series of pictures here: and the speakers presentations are online at The videos will be up when available.

Here is Doc, David, Mark B, Zyxmn,Joyce, Stacey and Mark A heading to the dinner:

• Professor Les Carr Head of Web & Internet Science Research Group, University of Southampton
• Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt Principal of Jesus College Oxford
• Vint Cerf co-inventor of the internet
• Stacey Mason PhD Fellow at UC Santa Cruz
• Dr. Sarah Walton author, tech & government consultant

• Mark Anderson Southampton PhD student
• Dr K Faith Lawrence King’s College London
• David Price creator of DebateGraph
• Dr Gyuri Lajos software developer
• Frode Hegland event founder & Southampton PhD student

• Doc Searls author and journalist
• Mark Bernstein of Eastgate Systems
• Keith Houston author
• Dr Paul Smart Senior Research Fellow, University of Southampton
• Pip Willcox Centre for Digital Scholarship in Oxford

• Dr Paul Groth of Elsevier Labs
• Christopher Gutteridge of the University of Southampton
• Zyxmn Daley Jes Full Stack Developer, Sparrho
• Professor Luc Moreau Former Head of the Web and Internet Science Group, University of Southampton
• Professor Dame Wendy Hall Director of Web Science Institute, University of Southampton