At last, co-ment® has a detailed user guide, all equipped with use cases, domains of applications and all your need for making the best of co-ment’s rich functionality.
We have conducted a major rehaul of co-ment®. Here is a short list of the most important improvements:
- Yes, you can now export a text with its comments to an open XML format and reimport it in another co-ment instance or process it to generate for instance eBook formats.
- The text and comments displays have been redesigned to deliver better legibility and an improved interface consistency. In particular, we now use state-of-the-art free HTML5 fonts with carefully designed display parameters. Icons have also been redesigned.
- It is now possible for co-ment PRO users to define customized CSS rules to meet specific needs (for instance for poetry or technical manuals).
- The Drupal co-ment module runs on Drupal 7. This means that Drupal sites can display several co-ment texts in a single page view.
- The XHTML import has been significantly improved to better preserve the formatting of imported texts.
- Several performance improvements have been implemented to enable annotating of book-length texts. Note that if you plan to have a great number of annotations, it remains preferable to divide a book in chapters and annotate them separately.
co-ment is an hosted service based on the libre software COMT, which was released in version 1.3.0 last week. This new version brings a handful of new features and some bug fixes. Let’s have a look on the most visible and also the most hidden things that changed.
Abiword(TM) for document conversion back-end
The most hidden improvement provided by this new version concerns the back-end that handles the format conversion of the uploaded files for document creation in co-ment. This back-end switched from LibreOffice to Abiword1.
This change was mainly motivated by two considerations :
- Firstly, co-ment documents created from uploaded files are better rendered while converted by Abiword. It’s evident for .doc files, particularly if they contain tables for instance2.
- Secondly, Abiword is lighter than LibreOffice, while it is stabler on document conversion, less error prone3 and quicker, particularly when handling several document conversion in parallel.
Sopinspace has improved its Drupal module that allows to seamlessly integrate co-ment documents in Drupal websites. This release provides a better support of Drupal 7, thinner management of user rights (allowing for instance a user to delete its own comments) or the exact case matching in user names between the two platforms…
Another new feature presents itself as permalinks, added for each comment, and allowing to reach a particular comment from a simple URL, even through Drupal or any other iframe-based integration of co-ment. The permalink is visualised by a paragraph sign (¶), which appears at the end of the comment title if the pointer hovers it.
Graphical user interface improvements
A lot of minor graphical improvements occurred recently. For instance, the “Add comment” button comes with a new design and a clear label on it. The collapsible part of the interface is now fitted with a graphical handle. The number of comments is shown in a tooltip when hovering commented areas with the mouse cursor…
Developing Sharing-TheBook.com, the online complement of the eponymous book from Philippe Aigrain, a need for math formula edition in HTML co-ment documents clearly appeared. To fill this need, we added ASCIIMathML.js library support in co-ment documents, which allows to easily describe math formulas in the middle of the HTML code (for instance) and then displays them nicely in visualisation mode. Please, refer to the library documentation for more details. Also note that presently, to comment on a formula, one must select some text before and after it. This is a provisional “feature”.
Software feedback, contributions, specific needs
COMT, the co-ment software, is a libre software which development is supported on the co-ment.org community website. To report a bug, suggest new features or submit patches, we invite you to create a free user account on it.
For specific developments or urgent needs, please contact us directly via contact (at) co-ment.com.
- LibreOffice back-end is still optionally available, but Abiword becomes the new default setting in COMT. [↩]
- This is partly due to the integration of the dedicated and cutting edge wvWare libraries in Abiword recently. [↩]
- i.e. if a conversion fails it only affects one attempt of one user, when LibreOffice globally crashes until it’s relaunched [↩]
One key aspect of using co-ment® is making texts available on-line. As a user, you have a choice between writing the text on-line or uploading it from a file on your computer. In both cases you must choose a target format for the text: either a structured wiki-type format such as the pandoc version of markdown we use in co-ment, or simply HTML.
We have now put in place a contextual aid to help you making the proper decisions at these steps. By bringing your pointer on the question mark icon after the corresponding dropdown menus, you will obtain information on the meaning of each choice. Here is a summary of all possible situations:
- For writing a text on-line and revising it based on comments, choose Create a text and then markdown format.
- For submitting a web page to comments, choose Create a text, then HTML format and paste the contents of the Web page in the editor.
- When starting with a text processing document with complex formatting (images, tables) and having no plan to revise it within co-ment: choose Upload a text and then HTML format.
- When starting with a text processing document with no complex formatting or planning to revise it within co-ment: choose Upload a text and then markdown format. Note that if the text has complex formatting, some format editing in markdown may be necessary.
When you are editing a markdown text, the graphical editor will provide you with the essential formating functionality. See the detailed presentation of markdown syntax, and its pandoc flavor. Finally here are some important tips regarding [pandoc] markdown formatting:
- To force line returns, put two trailing spaces at the end of a line
- To create endnotes use the
^[text of endnote]
co-ment® is a web service for annotating, discussing and writing texts online.
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