Pressbooks is on Open Collective

With our sprint previews, idea board, and various other initiatives, we’re increasing our efforts to foster and engage the Pressbooks Open Source community 1. As part of this process, we have decided to set up an Open Collective account for the Pressbooks Open Source project so that our Open Source users can, if they wish to, contribute financially to the ongoing development of Pressbooks. While we are very proud of our PressbooksEDU enterprise hosting service (and it remains the best way to provide stable, ongoing financial support to the project), we recognize that this isn’t the right option for many users, and that those who still rely on Pressbooks may want a different way to contribute. If that’s you, please consider backing us on Open Collective, with either a one-time donation or a small monthly contribution. Either way, even if you’re not in a position to contribute, we’re glad to have you in our Open Source community!

  1. And if you or anyone you know wants to join our monthly Slack calls, it’s now a whole lot easier.

Sprint Preview: March 19–30

Our last sprint of Q1, running March 19–30, will focus on:

  • Further bug fixes and improvements to Aldine based on user feedback
  • Further bug fixes and improvements to McLuhan based on user feedback
  • Development of a new version-tracking feature in McLuhan which will allow readers to compare chapters in a cloned webbook to the source book
  • More improvements to Buckram and more theme conversion work
  • Internal work to improve infrastructure

Q2 Roadmap Preview

We’re drawing near the end of Q1 at Pressbooks! And we’ve crossed off a lot of the items on our 2018 Roadmap:

  • ✔ Ensure support for H5P interactive elements with graceful fallbacks across all formats
  • ✔ Ensure support for video and audio with graceful fallbacks across all formats
  • ✔ Add support for multiple contributors (authors, editors, translators, etc.)
  • ✔ Add custom metadata support to the Pressbooks REST API and clone tool
  • ✔ Finish our new landing page theme
  • ✔ Finish our new webbook theme
  • ✔ Improve section heading outputs in EPUB and PDF
  • ✔ Develop two new themes oriented towards textbook and OER use cases
  • ✔ Add support for chapter-level cloning
  • ✔ Overhaul the Organize page, prioritizing accessibility, fully responsive design, and inline and batch editing support of front matter/chapter/back matter properties

Now’s the time for us to share some of our plans for Q2. We’ve drawn from our overall roadmap for this year and we’ll be trying to address many of the top priorities and feature requests we’ve been hearing about from our clients and Open Source users.

Editing and Content

  • We’ll be working to test and fully support the WP QuickLaTeX plugin, which will improve the quality of LaTeX formulas in PDF exports.
  • We’ll be engaging in research and development with an eye on further mathematics support improvements across all formats.
  • We’ll be working to test and fully support the TablePress plugin, which will allow more advanced table display.
  • We’ll be engaging in research and development with the goal of improving to media management and image uploading, including user-facing guidance to ensure high-quality image output across all formats.
  • We’ll be refining our approach for supporting the forthcoming WordPress Gutenberg editor.

Core Technology

  • We’ll be engaging in research and development on various popular enterprise integrations for Pressbooks, including LTI and various single sign-on (SSO) methods, with the goal of ensuring that Pressbooks better supports these integrations.

Themes and Theme Design

  • Based on user feedback, we’ll continue to refine the McLuhan (webbook) and Aldine (landing page) themes that we released at the end of February.
  • We’ll continue to refine Buckram, our book theme component library, and we’ll continue to convert legacy themes to use Buckram and fully support the theme options that are currently available in Clarke, Jacobs, and McLuhan. This work will include updates to the open source Austen and Donham themes.
  • We’ll be continuing research and development towards implementing new markup for books, based on HTMLBook.

Import, Export, and Cloning

  • We’ll be testing and adding the BCcampus OpenStax Importer for Pressbooks to our recommended plugins list.
  • We’ll be reviewing various implementations of Common Cartridge import and export to ensure first-class support for this format.
  • We’ll be exploring ways of tracking the adoption of Open Textbooks.

User Interface

  • We’ll be engaging in research and development on methods of configuring default theme options and other settings for books at the network level.
  • We’ll be engaging in research and development on methods for providing book-level analytics on networks where books are in subdirectories as opposed to subdomains, and exploring other types of book- and network-level analytics.

Accessibility & Inclusivity

If you’re planning on working on any of these items or would like to collaborate, please let us know in the forums or tweet @pressbooksdev!

Pressbooks 5.1.0, McLuhan 2.1.0, Aldine 1.1.0, and Publisher 3.1.4

Minor releases of Pressbooks, McLuhan, Aldine, and Pressbooks Publisher are now available. Among other improvements, Pressbooks 5.1.0 and McLuhan 2.1.0 improve support for interactive content in ebook and PDF exports, and Aldine 1.1.0 adds buttons to the editor to insert formatted content (page sections and calls to action).

Before you upgrade, please be sure to consult the upgrade instructions.

Full changelogs are available here:

Declaring your plugin’s compatibility with Pressbooks

Last summer, WooCommerce introduced a new feature in version 3.2 of their core plugin: compatibility alerts for installed add-on plugins when new versions of WooCommerce became available. By adding a line to the plugin headers of a WooCommerce add-on, developers could let users know the most recent version of WooCommerce with which they’d tested their plugin.

We really liked this idea, so Dac built a similar feature into Pressbooks 5. Now, when future updates to Pressbooks show up on the plugins page of a Pressbooks, users will see whether or not their Pressbooks-specific add-ons have been tested with the latest version:

Plugin compatibility notice

If you develop plugins that extend Pressbooks functionality (we check for pressbooks in the plugin slug, name, and description), you can add Pressbooks tested up to: 5.0.0 (or whatever version string is relevant) to your plugin headers, and Pressbooks will reflect your plugin’s compatibility in the update notice. We hope this feature will give network administrators a better understanding at a glance of whether they can safely update to the latest version of Pressbooks. Of course, we still encourage thorough testing in a development or staging environment before installing a major update.