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Booktree Project

UPDATE: I've de that this project is not useful enough, Git for local editing is not the bottleneck. Let's do this instead

Book Development with Version Control



  • increase the quality / price ratio of textual learning material: textbooks, papers, tutorials.
  • motivate readers (students) to learn by contributing.


Intro for programmers

The project is modularized for maximum reuse. See the Architecture section.

Intro for non-programmers

  • create: edit and compile markdown / Latex input online or locally
  • publish: share HTML / PDF / EPUB online with one click
  • sell: set the price, buyers pay

with Version control because we adapted:

  • IT industry collaboration techniques Git + Bugtracker
  • to non programmer book developers

Read this if you are not familiar with version control (Git, SVN, Mercurial).

Use this if you want to convince policy makers to fund this idea.

Use cases

  • students and teachers will be motivated to improve the books they are using and create tutorials themselves to help their peers and to get recognition and thus better jobs, all while doing their obligations.

    Questions can be answered on issues only once, where they can be found by future learners. Closing issues motivates users to improve the text to prevent future users from even having the doubt.

  • researchers can collaborate, publish and get metrics on their papers more efficiently, freeing them from publishers who give them nothing in return but a brand.

For detailed use case stories see:

Intended Features

High level roadmap of features we intend to implement.

Minimum viable product features:

  • when users push or save from the web UI markdown or LaTeX input, we compile and host HTML, PDF, EPUB output.

  • Js editor with side by side source / preview view for individual files, compatible with the on push compiler.

  • everything can be done via the web interface: mv, add, status, diff, multi-file commits, revolve merge conflicts.

    Non programmers:

    • learn Git from the browser
    • don't need to install anything

Other possible features:

  • metrics for everything: users, projects, groups, issues, comments, tags.

    Help people find the best material, and give the best contributors due credit.

  • writers can set a price for the compiled output, readers pay to have it.

  • bounty system similar to Bountysource: users can pay others to solve issues. Regular monthly payments can also be made for users to solve an average number of issues on each period, at a lower cost per issue.

For a detailed list of intended features, check our issue tracker.

For a list of features which we do not want see:

For the system architecture that will allow us to achieve those goals see:

Business model

Optimize for world happiness:

  • if your project is:

    • open source, you get all features for free
    • closed source, you may have to pay based on repository size / number of compiles
  • support: we are installable locally for free and we sell technical support.

  • book sale and bounties. Users can sell books and receive bounties, and we take a small percentage of their profit.

  • we will stay as open source as possible as long as it does not hinder the project.

    If we feel that we need to start making closed source features to get money to continue delivering the best product we will do so.

    If you are doing a similar project, we'd rather merge with you than compete.

Planned development timetable at:

Why the business model may work

  • The current coding / project management workflow is close to optimal for creation of code.

    Version control used for every single serious software project today.

    GitHub, a popular web interface had 3M users and 100M $ investment in 2012.

    Version control has helped the creation of open source libraries developed by thousands and used by millions, such as Firefox, the Linux kernel, GCC, jQuery, and many more.

    Books are very similar to code, but their development process is still on the paper age.

    We can reuse much of the existing coding infra structure to develop books and manage classes.

  • There are other projects which have insufficient subsets of what must be done, some of which are already financially bootstrapped.

    Because of our code reuse, we can offer a better product than them.

  • Specializing in books means that we can compile the books ourselves since there are few possible input / output types, allowing:

    • users to develop from the web UI without installing anything
    • users to sell the compiled output from our website
  • Books have lower costs than videos to:

    • create
    • modify
    • search
    • transmit and store, because files are smaller
    • collaborate on

    A sequence of well chosen images is better than a video because it is easy to refer to one of the images.


If you want to contribute to this project, see the


UPDATE: I've decided that this project is not useful enough, Git for local editing is not the bottleneck. We must focus on ranking algorithms instead:



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