I had a wonderful afternoon with Pavel today and we discussed collaboration and how Author might fit into an ecosystem of collaborative documents.
I am not a huge fan of the traditional model of collaborative documents – I think it’s important to keep the documents from getting too messy, as my feeling of total freedom collaboration documents with the unlimited colourful markups and such provide. I also feel that it’s important to have roles in collaboration. Otherwise I think people are reticent to do work someone else might be doing, or someting may be missed and so on – I think roles help give ownership and a more secure space from which to deal with the inputs of others.
We therefore discussed how we might design an online discourse system with open APIs so people can contribute via Author or any other platform. I think it’s way too ambitious, and limiting, to pretent Author can be a full collaboration environment so I want to focus on building the best possible single user experience which then publishes into the dialog. To support publishing into the dialog Author will export with paragraph level addressability (Author will insert an anchor tag at the beginning of each paragraph, and an invisible link to it at the end) and will work to enhance the way citations are handled.
I feel good about this. Really quite very good, which is why I’m sitting at home typing this (in Author OS X) while having an espresso, some Neuhaus and listening to trance at seven thirty on a Thursday when Emily is out with a friend, rather than Battlefield 4 with full volume…).
The next step is to complete and launch Author as a solid single user word processor which can export citations well, then discuss and plan the wide discourse system.