TL;DR: No we are not dead. But we have been stepping back a bit from the development, instead trying to solve some of the more fundamental issues with printing and editing on the web. Fidus Writer has been quite feature complete for Chrome-based browsers. Yet still, it has not always been working. This is because there is a new Chrome version every six weeks, and there are two areas that are particular prone to breaking:
- The part that does the actual editing of text (adding and removing character). Out code is based on a browser feature that is called “contentEditable” and was first present in Internet Explorer 5.5 and has since been copied by other browser. There has never been a good standard convention (ie W3C spec) describing how this feature should work. That means it it is working different in every browser, the behavior tends to change from browser version to browser version and even within each browser version there are many bugs that the browser makers have decided not to work in because the lack of a standard means they are not sure how it should work once fixed. The fact that browsers work differently in this area also means, that it is difficult to make it work in other browsers without rewriting all code related to editing.
- Our solution for print is working OK, but not for always and it would take a lot of extra work to make sure it works in all cases and in all browsers. We initially used pagination.js (also promoted as “BookJS” by some people) which I had created while contracting with Sourcefabric and it was meant as a printing solution for Booktype (they have since implemented something else), but it broke when CSS Regions were removed from Chrome last year. Instead, I created SimplePagination.js, which would work without CSS Regions, but also had less features and could only be used for output data, not desktop publishing.
- Getting involved in the discussion surrounding the creation and maintenance of CSS standards relevant to paged-media output, so that the CSS values used by Vivliostyle.js aren’t just proprietary, but are shared with others as well. Currently the main important specs in this category are the CSS Paged Media Module, the CSS Generated Content for Paged Media Module and the CSS Page Floats Module.
It is this second part that I have mainly been focused on, helping the editing process of the last of these three specs. Once these issues have been resolved, it should be much easier to get both Fidus Writer to work without hiccups in various browsers AND it should also be easier to create other web-based editors for others.