Posted on by & filed under tools.

O’Reilly is announcing today that the in-progress book, Programming Scala, has been released using the Open Feedback Publishing System, a platform I built for them that allows public commenting on digital manuscripts.

Users can comment using the web site, read the entire in-progress text of the book (updated as the authors revise it), or follow comments via an Atom feed. Readers who comment will be credited in the final edition of the book.

Authors do not ever need to administer or even visit the web site, as they receive the comments incorporated back into the manuscript source. To my knowledge this is the first public commenting system that works in this way, using
DocBook XML to both render the content and integrate the feedback in a contextually-relevant manner. It wouldn’t be possible without XML.

OFPS was built using the DocBook XSLT, Subversion version control and the Pylons web framework. Two books were on my lap constantly: The Definitive Guide to Pylons (also available for free online!) and Essential SQLAlchemy (I was a technical editor on this but apparently forgot it all).

More information in the post announcing this on the O’Reilly Labs blog.

Tags: commenting, Community, feedback, ofps, oreilly, ugc,

5 Responses to “Open Feedback Publishing System launched”

  1. Mark

    When people say they prefer evolution over revolution in publishing the assumption is often that evolution is a gradual, slow process.

    Once again Threepress quietly makes an evolutionary leap for the business. Congrats Liza. Great work.

  2. Lee

    Thanks Liza, the interface is very clean and intuitive. Are there plans to make OFPS available either as open-source or for purchase? What is the best way to keep abreast of plans for this product?

  3. Fabrice Talbot

    Nice post Liza!

    It’s great new that O’Reilly is thinking of opening up the public books they publish to comments.

    We developed a similar system at LiveTechDocs ( Our collaboration service, currently in beta, offers a simple way to review documentation in the company. We developed very powerful features to make documentation review painless for reviewers, writers and managers.

    Check it out if you have time. I’d be interested to hear you feedback.

    LiveTechDocs founder

  4. bowerbird

    liza said:
    > It wouldn’t be possible without XML.

    not true. it would have been different,
    had it been based on a different system,
    but it certainly could have been built…