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Frequently Asked Questions

How is Codex different from Wordpress?

Codex is software as a service, so publishers using the platform will not have to install and maintain their own servers and databases or worry about updates and security. That makes Codex more like WordPress.com, a hosted version of WordPress, rather than WordPress itself.

There are a lot of other choices we’ve made that strongly differentiate the platform from other publishing systems. Most so-called content management systems treat articles as highly structured data. Pages are built from a template which has a series of “content wells” and end up looking more or less identical. Codex flips this model on its head by starting each article with the content and adding page elements around it. There are no built-in story types or site-wide themes on Codex. You’re free to use the same design for every article but it’s no longer a requirement or even the default.

WordPress, which was originally designed for blogging, builds index pages in reverse chronological order and requires customization to do anything else. Codex prioritizes considered human curation as well as automatically generated pages. The document metaphor of the Web maps perfectly to journalism and on Codex everything is a document. We give you great tools to stay organized but we see no reason to push your site in any direction.

WordPress is an amazing tool and has powered some amazing web sites, but it was not built for creating articles with unique design elements. Fundamentally, we believe that design should follow content. To that end we’re empowering authors with high-quality visual design tools for their articles.

So it’s like Squarespace?

No. While Squarespace has built a very comfortable place to build a simple website, it can be difficult to go beyond some of their abstractions when they are no longer working. We don’t advertise Codex as something you can use “without code” because code is what makes all this awesomeness possible. Instead, we are making basic code concepts as accessible and easy as the word processors that we’ve all learned to use. This makes it easier to mix in complex and powerful code seamlessly when necessary.

Also, we’re building a network of publications that can grow readership and revenue together. Publishing on the Internet can feel a little bit like shouting into the Grand Canyon. It’s difficult to be on your own and platforms can be a great help to assembling an audience. We’re building the platform for publications.

Ok, so it’s more like Medium.com?

No. Unlike Medium, Codex is a place where publications can use design to build their own brand and identity. While the Medium interface is very clean and enjoyable for readers, it’s quite uniform and doesn’t reflect the personalities of the content or the people publishing it.

We’ve built awesome development tools integrated into our platform so that you can control every piece of every page. We believe design is a crucial part of communication and communication is what journalism is all about. An article’s design can either bring you out of the story or carry you deeper into the characters and locations. We’re making tools so that you can carry your readers deeper.

That sounds like The Atavist

No. While we admire the awesome work that sites like The Atavist or Shorthand have done, we want to go further. We don’t want to be just a tool for great stories but a place to find them as well. Even if you have your own domain, your stories are still located on Codex and a part of the community.

We’re also making it ludicrously easy to contribute and share small bits of code on the platform on a per-story basis. You won’t be stuck with the built-in effects on offer and there are no plugins to install on Codex. In that way, it’s as much like CodePen as a content or publishing website.

The truth is that we’re inspired by what makes all these technologies great and we’re combining the best parts along with a bit of our own personal take on matters.

How much does it cost?

Codex does not yet have a fixed pricing structure yet. The ultimate plan will be a spectrum of “freemium” offerings, with varying packages of features and levels of revenue share for advertising. If you are running or starting a publication, we’re sure we can make a deal that works for both of us.

How will publications make money?

Advertising, subscriptions, and donations. We built this platform to support great journalism and great journalism takes a lot of effort (read: money). Advertising and subscriptions are the method that have funded journalism since the beginning and we accept this proven and democratic model. The web makes it harder given the rock-bottom ad prices online, but Codex hopes to use premium content and design to command a higher price — one that can actually sustain the work we want to read and do ourselves. Our design tools also give us a leg up on native advertising, which has become a vital revenue stream for publishers.

Can I try it out?

Absolutely. Codex is open to publications of formidable quality and standards. If you’d like to test the software, please just sign up below and send us a quick email to activate you’re account.