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Themed Markdown online editor with publishing tools

Press

Kisko Press is a product that came out of the Kisko Publishing Hackathon 2016. The idea was to build a simple online writing application, with easy publishing to different end formats.

Press user interface is just a simple blank canvas where user can write in. We chose to go with Markdown markup for writing the content, since it’s a good way to structure your text without getting in your way. The idea was to leave out all styling from the writing mode, but still have hints of different document elements to the use via syntax highlighting.

Once user is happy with their text they can move to the design mode, where we currently have two different themes to select from. The sliding UI gives the sense of seeing the same content as raw markup and styled. Later on we thought that this would also serve well as an educational tool to show the separation of style and content in HTML and CSS.

Themed Markdown online editor with publishing tools

When the user has chosen a theme they can publish their work and while they wait we generate epub, mobi, html and pdf versions of the styled text. We verified that the content works on Kindle, iBooks and browsers, although some finetuning is still needed to make the styles match.

Themed Markdown online editor with publishing tools

The text is saved in the browser for when the user returns.

Kisko Press was a good project in trying to figure out how a multiformat publishing tool might work in the browser and serves as a proof-of-concept for the automated build system.

Technical Achievements

  • We used SimpleMDE for the editor component and found it working. We also managed to build a iA-Writer style hanging markdown syntax highlighting.
  • Matias built a custom buildpack for Heroku for installing Calibre. It is released as open source here .
  • Sami researched font embedding licensing
  • Antti rewrote the UI on 2nd day in flexbox and found it good for this sort of an UI

Kisko Press is available to try at https://kisko.press .

Themed Markdown online editor with publishing tools

Matias Korhonen, Sami Vuori, and Antti Salonen

4 April 2016

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