rich interaction & deep collaboration through a minimalist interface
Author is a word processor for web documents, not for printed paper, which will be available for OS X and iOS.
documentation & code
As of early February 2014 the project has started and is entering coding for first public single user version for OS X.
April 2014 and specifications for for the iOS single-user version has started.
For more information, to give us feedback, to contribute or for anything else, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
The core tenets of Author are: powerful liquid interaction in an elegant distraction free workspace, deep collaboration built as an object oriented system with clear API's.
Specifically Author is The Author OS X Application which uses the Liquid Document Format (HTML compliant XML).
Why & Why Now. The world is getting ever more complicated and there is ever more information a knowledge worker needs to deal with efficiently and increasingly, in collaboration with others. The need for innovation has been strong for a long time and it is increasing. However, the state of the art for word processors, text editors or web design applications is woeful, with blind adherence to the WYSIWYG paper model (what you see is what you get), something Doug Engelbart famously called WYSIAYG (what you see is all you get).
There has been little real innovation over the last twenty years and in many ways we have lost functionality and therefore power. We can finally do something about this, without being a huge software company, because the APIs for OS X are open and powerful and HTML provides robustness and compatibility .
The inspiration for Author is Doug Engelbart's Augment. Augment, previously called NLS (oNLine System) was the first real text processor and was presented to the world in 1968 at what has since become known as The Mother Of All Demos. Augment was far ahead of its time and in many ways is ahead of our time. You can read more about Augment and Doug on many websites including our own project Invisible Revolution.
Collaboration is at the core of Author. Real collaboration involves different people and is not the same as adding a 'Share' button. Collaboration concerns the whole human being working together with other people who, while different to start off with, assume different roles depending on the state of the collaboration, their work in general and even their personal life. This means that the human collaborative design will be a fundamental part of Author, but we are starting with a single user version to use as a testbed for full collaboration.
Author will be integrated into The Ocean server environment and The Rivers collaboration environment, which do not exist yet.
Smooth collaboration starts with the smooth experience of the individual user. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's psychological notion of flow, which is aligned with the project founder's philosophy of Liquid Information, provides a guiding perspective on how Author should augment the individual user and teams. Kennan Kellaris stretched the notion of flow to include group collaboration and that is key for the development of Author.
The project is hosted by The Liquid Information Company in collaboration with London College of Communication's MA Advertising and MA Publishing Courses. This will be a large project, with a huge amount of dialog to make sure we stay on top of the focus on developing a powerful system which contributes to the user's state of flow, as individual and in groups. All documentation will be hosted and updated on this site.
I believe this project is a crucially important project and the collaboration system is far more than any one person or team can effectively design or build so I am working a distributed team on how to realize the bigger vision of smooth collaboration. If you want to join us, please get in touch.
The single user experience is also designed with large amount of dialog. However, implementation and quality responsibility will remain with me, otherwise I fear it might never be done.
Author is in the prototype stage as of the end of 2013, with work on a single-user version 1.0 expected to start early 2014. Once this is done the version 1.0 will be used as a testbed for collaboration features which is a much larger part of the project.