View Full Version : softreaders and standards

06-07-2011, 10:08 AM
On the PC (through ADE) and on real ereaders my books show up as expected but as soon as i look at some ereading software on mobile devices all hell seems to break loose.

Some readers ignore many of my carefully constructed CSS, show headers centered when there is no centered given, and generally add their own designs and css styles to books.

'Cool Reader' even managed to show a gif image that is supposed to be red in a bluish color.

Now it could need settings and reporting bugs/feature requests and so on to every piece of current and future piece of software, or work around specific problems but somehow that seems to be the opposite of what would be considered a good piece of software: show content as intended by default.

The unsuspected readers might like the app but as an epub producer it is fustrating to see reading software taking so much liberty with a carefully produced epub file. From apple I can understand it, but from other projects I don't.

I'm sure it has been discussed to death in the forums.

To reader software developers: Please, when you install the software show the content like it was designed. Tweaking should be optional and not activated by default. One size does NOT fit all :)

Well any suggestions about the best ereader for Android?
Any other suggestions how to make sure the books will look as designed on as many softreaders as possible?
I thought checking on different ereaders and ADE with additional Sigil and Calibre would give an indication on how a book would look.

06-07-2011, 02:26 PM
Even ADE does not fully conform to the EPUB spec in regard to rendering. ADE even has it own "extensions" to EPUB that Adobe thought it good to add.

That said there are two issues here. The EPUB spec is based on XHTML which is large and complex. Implementing every frature is a daunting task and not something that can be done quickly. Especially when taking into considerations the limitations of the reading device. Such as amount of memory, speed of processor, color screen.

The next issue relates directly to the content using XHTML. The spec isn't very clear in certain cases about how to render the content. This is the same reason Chrome, Firefox, IE and Opera often display the same web page differently.

Keeping this in mind calibre's viewer (Sigil too) uses the Qt WebKit component for rendering the book. Opening the same book in the Firefox addon can give a slightly different look. Who is correct in this case? Both readers conform to the spec and both are massive projects to display that book.

That said displaying a blue gif as red is wrong and centering a heading just because is wrong too. However, your never going to have a book look exactly the same in every reader if you use complex formatting because the EPUB spec can be interperted differenty by different people. Also, because some features are hard to implement and good enough is good enough.