How CKEditor allowed Tablo to establish a new business model
Tablo is a platform for writing and publishing books. For education, Tablo has adapted their product called Tablo Writer to include real-time collaboration between students. CKEditor 5 has provided Tablo with the most modern rich text editing solution together with collaborative features that opened up new business opportunities for the company.
Challenge: responding to customer’s need
It all began when the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) got attracted by Tablo’s writing and document sharing capabilities and considered integrating it into their Learning Management System. The core part of the project would be generating ePub files for ebooks. Archiving ebooks is important for UTS and, with epub files, they could store them independent of anything. They also started discussing the possibility of having a collaborative writing interface so that students could do their creative writing simultaneously.
Alex Eckermann, CTO at Tablo, smiles while recalling that period. “We pitched the idea of collaboration to them before we actually had a solid plan for what that was actually going to be. There were some solutions that were potentially viable there but none of them ticked all the boxes.”
Tablo started looking for a next-generation collaborative editor that was not sitting in the past, but rather grasped what the future of content writing would be about. It was supposed to be modern, simple and extensible so that they could write their own plugins and custom elements if needed.
Solution: next-generation collaborative editor
At the crucial moment, while deciding on what editor they were going to use, Eckermann saw the CKEditor 5 announcement which also included collaborative editing. “I checked out the source code and saw straight away how it was built, the methodology behind it and the capabilities that can come from it. It was extremely well documented. The code structure was amazing - some of the best I’d seen. And I was really impressed by the extensibility it offered. We made the decision to completely switch to CKEditor 5 within a couple of days.”
Thanks to CKEditor 5 being integrated with Tablo, students at UTS can now collaborate on creative tasks, like short stories, which are then submitted as part of their coursework. They invite one another by entering their fellow student email address and the system automatically does all the setup. That kicks off the collaborative writing session.
Students no longer need to send the documents around or use Dropbox. They just jump in and collaborate.
Eckermann says students can now work in a more efficient manner. “They no longer need to send the documents around or use Dropbox. They just jump in and collaborate. That creates a new fluid workflow. CKEditor 5 is there to provide full-featured rich text editing experience which is what everyone expects based on Google Docs and other online tools.”
Result: extending the market reach
So far, Tablo has been driven around by the basic end-user model. People came to the site, wrote a book, shared and published it. The UTS project opened Tablo up to a completely different market and established a new branch of their business model: B2B. From now on, they are able to gain more sales from the education sector with collaboration as their massive headline feature.
Eckermann is already considering how to make use of collaboration in Tablo’s future projects. “There is a phenomenon called social writing. It would be interesting to have an author writing a book live and interact with the community around them. We haven’t tested that yet but we are excited to see where these collaborative features can take us.”
Eckermann points to time-saving as one of the biggest advantages Tablo got from the integration with CKEditor 5. “At some point, I was contemplating how much effort it would take me to write my own editor or at least find another project that I could adapt. And I realized CKEditor 5 saved us so many hours of development!”
"CKEditor 5 has set us up for the future. We are no longer held back in the past, in a world of old web browsers."
CTO at Tablo