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Monday, January 16, 2012

Introducing the Book Editor

Hi guys,

We've been fairly active these last few weeks, preparing for Leebre's launch in February.

One feature we've been working on recently is the book editor. The primary focus of the online book editor is this: After you upload your book, you can use this online interface to edit it, correcting mistakes, and eventually helping edit other people's work in the "crowd-sourced editing" feature of Leebre.

The book editor is not like Word or most online text editors. Instead, it is a "semantic editor". The idea is to tell Leebre what you mean as opposed to how you want it to look. For example, instead of making chapter headers by centering text, typing in "Chapter III", and increasing the font-size, you instead will have the option to click a "New Chapter" button that inserts a chapter break where you specify, and takes care of formatting for you. Then, if you change the style of the book, it will update everything to be consistent: for example, changing chapter headers to be left-aligned, or using Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals. This applies to all aspects of the book, and is intended to be quick and easy to get used to, and hopefully as frustration-free as possible!

First, here is a screenshot of editing a paragraph:

Instead of editing the text as one long continuous flow, paragraphs are edited individually by clicking on them. New paragraphs can be made by hitting Enter twice, or by inserting one with a button. When you are done editing a paragraph, you just click somewhere else, or move on to the next one. This keeps mistakes down to a minimum.

Also, to keep mistakes and frustrations at bay, like in many popular chat programs (Google) and forums (Reddit), editing paragraphs will use notation like _this_ to indicate this, or emphasized (ie, italicized) text. When you "deselect" the paragraph, it will update to preview how it will look in book form. This keeps it clear when editing paragraphs where exactly the emphasized text begins and ends, unlike in word processors where you may find yourself squinting to see if you accidentally selected the first letter of the next word when adding some formatting.

Here's what it looks like when a paragraph is deselected:

Here we see the insertion toolbar -- we can insert chapter breaks, section breaks (often with a horizontal rule), images, and comments. Comments won't actually be published: they are just for your own use, or for use during collaborative projects.

Let us know what you think!

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