I believe firmly that the written word is a fundamental unit of knowledge and as such, the richer we interact with the written word the richer we interact with our knowledge, and each other.
Richness of interaction matters in so many aspect of our lives but for some reason what we have for text is generally seen as good enough and that is just quite simply strange. The athlete, the driver, pilot, painter, photographer, musiscian, dancer and most other professions and passions thrive on rich interactivity and there is a thirst for further increasing the richeness through which we can carry out our work. That a smiliar thirst does not exist for interactive text boggles my mind and is a bit beyond this post.
Let’s start with the most fundamental – interaction. I would go so far as to say that interaction is the root of all there is. Nothing has any qualities when entirely alone and un-interacted with. What is hot, what is cold? Information is made alive and useful and turned into information through interaction.
Information is the something about something
Connection are the somethings where other things meet
Interaction is the ability to make and follow the connections
Therefore I feel that we should do anything and everything we possibly can to make the written word as richly interactive as possible.
When it’s important to read the full text of a document this should be done in the most pleasant way possible, with the best use of typography and options for the user as to how the user wants to see the words.
This is fine. But what about those dense and difficult documents you need to go through for work which you need to understand beyond what the author thought about?
This is the challenge.
The Reality of Liquid Author 1.0
I have spent much more money on this project than I should have and I’ve had to make some hard compromises for what the first version should include, as is not exactly rare in passion-software projects. As such, the first version will only barely scratch the surface for what we can do with connections and interaction. Too much time and money has gone into iCloud and document synch but even though this is frustrating like crazy, it’s ok, since my single biggest concern is to have a system which has any potential for document damage or loss. One team is working on iOS (Magora) and Pekka is working on OS X.
Beta is Monday, then a few tweaks and hopefully fixing iCloud.
Then I can introduce Liquid | Author to the world and build relationships with a real product in hand, while the teams work on WordPress publishing, basic academic export and a few other smaller features.
It’s exciting and pretty stresseful…