Collaborative authoring with Content Base

A vital feature of a collaborative authoring environment is a track-changes mode. Track-changes mode allows authors to review each other’s work. Say “track-changes” to just about any author and they immediately know what functionality you are talking about. Like most authoring tool jargon, we can thank that large software company in Redmond WA for this term.

A second key feature of a collaborative authoring environment is to give authors the ability to comment on specific parts of a document and allow threaded replies from other authors.

Here’s how these two features work in the Content Base platform.

Tracking changes while authoring

The ability to see how a document has changed over time is essential to any collaborative authoring process, no matter what authoring tool you are using.

Users authoring content in Content Base take advantage of the ability to track changes in their content, even while authoring directly in XML. Taking advantage of the editorial workflow capabilities of Content Base, different users take turns writing content.

Let’s look at the content of this post being authoring in Content Base as an example:

Content Base authoring environment

You may recognize the content in this example. Let’s assume an initial user (Author 1) writes the first draft of a document. Author 1 can pass control to a different user (Author 2) who can review the content written by Author 1 and continue writing additional content and editing parts of the content written by User 1.

Authors use the REVIEW panel to put the authoring tool in “track-changes” mode. In this mode, changes that have not been “accepted” or “rejected” are highlighted in the body of the content. Each discreet change shown in the REVIEW panel includes the option to “accept” or “reject.”

Showing changes made by Ms Smith and Mr Reed

Note that each change dialog box includes the full name of the user who made the change as well as the date and time of the change. Changes can be “accepted” or “rejected” one at a time. If a user wants to globally accept or reject all the changes made to the document, menu items allow a user to clear all the changes in a document.

Threaded comments while authoring

The ability for an author to comment on specific parts of a document so that other authors can see a thought process or answer questions is also critical to collaborative authoring.

Content Base’s authoring tool gives users the ability to add comments to any specific part of the document, just like you would do in your favorite word processor (not mentioning any names, ahem).

Make comments directly in the source content
Comment with replies

Respond to a comment from another user and start a thread. Maintaining the comment thread ensures that everyone is on the same page through the editorial process.

Just like Content-Base manages which users have access to the content for authoring, users can edit and remove their comments and only read comments made by others.

The result once we have reconciled the changes should look familiar (pretty cool right?):

Wrap up

Features like change tracking and threaded comments give authors the tools they need to collaborate, all while authoring content directly in structured XML.

For more information about authoring/editing XML content with Content Base, please visit the Content Base authoring features page.

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