Topic: News

New operating company for co-ment

As of 1st of January 2015, Sopinspace will transfer the operation of the co-ment Web service and the development of the COMT open source software to Abilian SAS.

Abilian will keep operating the co-ment Web service under the same conditions for you, and will further invest in developing and marketing co-ment. The Terms of Service will undergo minor updates to reflect the changes in operating company and some new legal provisions. All the changes go towards strengthening the rights of co-ment customers and users : clarifying that all contents produced with co-ment belong to whom created them, adapting to the EU cookie directive and recent changes in French consumer law.

We will do everything possible to minimise any possible disruption at the occasion of the migration.

Co-ment will remain open source and the co-ment Web service will remain open, and respectful of data protection and privacy.

Stay tuned for more news on https://twitter.com/co_ment and http://www.co-ment.cm/.

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co-ment used for the elaboration of the political program of Partido X

The new Spanish political movement, El Partido del Futuro, created on January 8th, 2013 has used co-ment for a key step of elaborating its democratic reform platform.

This young movement militates in favor of  developing direct democracy processes, in a context of a strong delegitimization of the Spanish political institutions. It used co-ment to submit the draft of its political program to comments as part of co-elaboration process.

First, a citizen’s debate has been organized during ten days, in January and February 2013, to discuss the future program of the movement, titled Democratia y punto. Once the first version established, El Partido del futuro offered to the public the opportunity, during March 2013, to annotate the program online via co-ment.

The platform allowed citizens, once registered on it with their email address, to comment on the drafting of the different texts composing the program and/or submit alternative drafting proposals.

The six texts put online received on average about fifty comments each. A number of 133 comments has been reached on the text dedicated the transparency of public management.

The final version of the program is now online on El Partido del futuro’s website. For all the four themes developped (referendum, open government, transparency and vote), visitors are able to visualize all the modifications made thanks to the participation of the citizens on the co-ment platform.

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Major improvements in 2013 version of co-ment

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.
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What’s new for co-ment® in 2012

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

Abiword logo

Abiword logo

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.

Drupal(TM) integration

co-ment Drupal integration

co-ment Drupal integration

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…

Comment permalink : ¶

Comment permalink : ¶

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

New design of the "Add comment" button

New design of the "Add comment" button

Comment number tooltip

Comment number tooltip

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…

Math formulas

Math formulas

Math formulas in co-ment via ASCIIMATHML.js

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.

  1. LibreOffice back-end is still optionally available, but Abiword becomes the new default setting in COMT. []
  2. This is partly due to the integration of the dedicated and cutting edge wvWare libraries in Abiword recently. []
  3. i.e. if a conversion fails it only affects one attempt of one user, when LibreOffice globally crashes until it’s relaunched []
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co-ment for law making

Exciting applications of co-ment® for law-making processes are developing in the European parliament, in France, or in Brazil. Initially, this usage was at the initiative of civil society groups. Today, Members of Parliaments are using co-ment themselves to interact with the public when laws and other parliamentary texts are prepared of discussed. In our featured example, the ALDE and Green groups of the European Parliament jointly prepared, at the initiative of ALDE MEP Marietje Schaake, a resolution on ACTA. Close to a hundred comments were submitted, and the affluence of thousand of readers was such for a few hours that we experimented a temporary overflow of our servers, that we are now equipping for future demanding usage of this type.

In France, a a href=”https://cpaul.co-ment.com/” alt=”link to co-ment instance”>remarkable collaborative exercise was conducted by socialist MP Christian Paul for the preparation of a French law proposal on network neutrality. More than 200 comments were submitted by interested parties and experts. You can access the diff display illustrating the changes made to the law further to these comments.

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co-ment in education

Collective work on the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales

Some of the greatest use cases of co-ment® are for education, in particular first language and literature teaching in secondary education. The co-ment team has supported usage by a number of pioneers in text-centered teaching. Typically, educational use of co-ment is pure annotation, in contrast to other use cases where the collective production and revision of text play a key role. co-ment is used for the collaborative preparation of lessons (teachers annotating texts) and for classroom usage (students commenting texts). We are excited by these use cases.

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co-ment for companies and government

Text drafting and validation is at the heart of daily practice in companies and government (local government, public agencies, for instance). In most cases, a given document has one or a small number of drafters, whose productions must be reviewed by other agents, managers, or external partners. co-ment® was designed precisely for this type of situation. co-ment 1 was used for instance in the l’French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME. co-ment 2 PRO provides a much improved work environment for this type of usage.

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co-ment for licenses and contracts

Revision of the Mozilla Public License

Text annotation may be as old as writing and is superbly documented in the middle-ages in both the Arabic world and Talmudic tradition. Computer-based marginal text annotation was experimented from the beginning of the 1990s. However, a key real-scale experiment for Web-based text annotations was the STET system used in the GNU GPL license revision process. Though it uses no code from STET, co-ment® has derived inspiration from its interface.

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co-ment for legal analysis

Legal texts annotation within the DEMOTIS project

co-ment® 2 is being used for the collective analysis by scholars of the legal framework applicable to health information. Within the DEMOTIS project, funded by the French National Research agency (ANR), legal scholars and computer scientists annotate the large body of texts that have a bearing on the design of personal health information systems. This collaborative work will lead to the on-line publication of the annotated corpus.

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co-ment in advocacy

Work on the action plan for copyright reform and culture in the XXIst century

Work on the action plan for copyright reform and culture in the XXIst century

Advocacy groups have made exciting usage of co-ment® for the preparation of open letters, position statements, opinion editorials or charters. Some groups work from the start in the open, but in most cases, there is an initial phase of elaboration of a draft within a group followed by opening it to comments by the public. In some cases, tens of versions have been produced over 48 hours, each version receiving tens or hundreds of comments before being revised. co-ment can enable the synergy between massive commenting and collective drafting.

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