When Peter and I joined the Journal we had to contend with a dated front end design, abysmal hosting and a haphazard editing process. The goal of our team over the past year has been to revamp all three of those areas and leave a simple maintenance job for the next team.
After lengthy discussions with the editors, one topic kept coming up.
We hate annotum.
Annotum is a now-abandoned Wordpress fork, meant to provide a open-access publishing platform for . Perhaps through an error of a previous team member, or changes in Wordpress's own code, Annotum became unreliable at best. We lost multiple articles and revisions,
A New Pipeline To fix these issues, we devised a streamlined system for articles that allowed for collaboration in editing, redundancy in storage and separated the content from the submissions process. Wordpress couldn't really provide the kind of reliability we wanted at the time, as we were still using GoDaddy shared hosting, so we decided to build it using Google Apps Script.
Google Apps Script pretty much describes itself with that name. Google made it, it works with all their Apps, and it runs any script connecting those Apps that you can write. Peter and I have created some other Apps Script projects as well. Our new project would accept new articles from prospective authors, process them into Google Format to allow editing, then convert them back into a Wordpress format for publishing on the web. Eventually, we created these two products. One for Article Submissions and one for Article Management.
Smooth, seamless and functional. Splitting up the sections hides the fact that the form is rather extensive, with around 15 bits of information needing to be entered! At the end of the process, you are given a link to your article and given notice of when an editor will be in touch.
Authentication was a big issue for us. As you know, passwords are so 2016. We implemented an email based solution that allows editors to request a login code each time. This totally removes the need for remembering, resetting and storing passwords. Once an editor is logged in, they have access to all the pre-publication articles. They can edit, change status, contact authors, leave notes and much more. It is a huge improvement over the clunky Annotum methods of before.