Editorially closed its doors for good today, and with it goes all of the writing collaboration tools its users came to love. Unfortunately, some legal issues are currently preventing them from open sourcing the code for the application, but it’s under consideration.
In the meantime, a newcomer has stepped in to provide some of the features that users loved best about Editorially. Feuilles, which means “paper sheets” in French, is a new app for helping people write together. It provides a markdown editor and a platform for discussing your texts with other people. If you have an Editorially export, you can import all of your documents into Feuilles and carry on writing.
Feuilles allows you to publish to Github, WordPress.com, and Dropbox, although the connections are still in the early/buggy stages, since the app is currently open to those interested in beta testing. It also works with Jetpack-enabled self-hosted WordPress sites.
Alex Duloz and his partner Katy Watkins used Editorially extensively in their work with The Pastry Box Project while discussing texts and polishing their publishing skills. When Editorially announced that it was disappearing, they decided to create their own app but with a new twist: an emphasis on empowering people with a versatile API. Duloz explained the app’s purpose:
Feuilles is not Editorially. It’s a new project that sits on the shoulders of giants. My fanboy-ism took the latter form, the one of a homage. If you were used to working in Editorially, the previous sentence will immediately make sense when you start using Feuilles. There is a certain “feeling” that characterized Editorially which has been preserved in Feuilles (the way conversations work, how the dashboard allows you to interact with documents), but you will find that using our website to write is in fact not the real purpose of our website.
The power of Feuilles is in its API; Duloz built the app for you to use with your own website. “Feuilles is here to provide publishers with a versatile API (the same that we actually consume to operate) that they can use in their projects,” he said. “In fact, Feuilles is here so that you can launch collaborative blogs without even having to visit Feuilles. Our platform should just a be a means. Not an end.”
The API allows you to work through HTTP requests, so there’s no need to use the Feuilles app in order to work. They’ve opened a few of their endpoints for developers to experiment with to use Feuilles from remote HTTP locations. The “In-House Publishing” feature makes it possible for you to post data from Feuilles to your own website by registering an application. Requests received to your website are POST requests and right now there isn’t a WordPress plugin to automate the In-House Publishing feature, so you’d have to dive into the technical details if you want to try it out.
Duloz is aiming to make Feuilles a language/device agnostic CMS with In-House Publishing. As WordPress currently powers 22% of the web, it will be interesting to see how this app evolves to support people with self-hosted WordPress sites.
Those who participate in collaborative writing are a rather small segment of overall WordPress users. However, if the popularity of Editorially is any indication, Feuilles may have the chance to become the web’s go-to application for writing collaboratively. Since its creators intend for it to be a means, not an end, its likely to enjoy a different trajectory than Editorially. Coming out of the gate with a strong focus on its API is a shrewd move that will enable the Feuilles app to be used in a multitude of different ways.