View Full Version : As much as I want to get Indesign to work...


brewt
01-02-2009, 02:53 PM
...I really don't like it for making epubs.

One "should" import the text from a word document, but hyperlinks won't work - so if you built in a toc, or comments or footnotes, you can't click around in the resulting epub without rebuilding all the links, one at a time, by hand.

Many of the goodies that make Indesign desirable, like text tricks, drop caps in Indesign styles, just don't translate into the epub.

Lines do not come into the epub.

Graphics still don't embed where I put them. Or the way I put them.

Sure, it will embed fonts ok, and they sometimes work out ok, but I've opened up some that seem to have characters missing, like apostrophes. But only sometimes.

The toc in indesign is hard to work with. And the only option to adjust it after you've placed it (that I can see) is to rebuild it from scratch.

Reflow works somewhat - however, hyphenation isn't there in the readers.

It is still an expensive word-to-epub convertor, in my opinion, that makes me have to restyle everything once it's in indesign. Work work work.

A Book of Books is extra hard to build. The Complete Works of (insert favorite author here) is really out of the question. It is designed to make a flow of 1 book = 1 epub. Not the way I want to do things.

Is anyone from Adobe reading these forums? 'Cause there's miles to go here to get Indesign beyond simple epubs...

Mr. Goyal's efforts are far more powerful and sophisticated.

-bjc

DaleDe
01-02-2009, 06:21 PM
I suspect Adobe would have had more luck if they have used Framemaker. It lends itself to ePUB and even now would do the job better but of course Famemaker was purchased and inDesign was built in house. After all these years you would think they could take ownership. This is a grass root effort on ePUB for Framemaker using MIF converters mostly by O'Reilly. I have a little of this in the wiki.

Dale

rhadin
01-02-2009, 07:28 PM
Brewt, which version of InDesign are you using? Supposedly things work better in InDesign CS4, which was just released in November. I haven't tried it yet for ePub, but I am in the process of preparing a couple of books for just that purpose.

Falbe Publishing
01-02-2009, 08:41 PM
I'd be interested to know which version of InDesign you are using as well. I like InDesign for making print publications and also for producing PDF ebooks. I'm due for an upgrade, but I want to make sure I get something that can make epubs, hopefully without the "work, work, work."

brewt
01-02-2009, 10:10 PM
CS4.

CS3 is even worse.

-bjc

Alfy
01-03-2009, 11:27 AM
Yep. Epub was not entirely defined when CS3 got released, so the implementation is really shoddy.

A few remarks:
- you can change the TOC after you placed it simply by selecting any text in it (or putting the cursor there). The "update TOC" becomes ungreyed when you do.

- For graphics, make sure you anchor them, not just place them. right click menu should give you the option to do so.

- Drop caps and so on will never work, there's no implementation in ePub for them.

- If you import your work from a Word document, try doing it with inCopy instead. You'll get more control as to how the doc gets imported.

And finally, I agree, Adobe should really do something about this mess. Just having to put each chapter in a different file and then putting them together in a book can be a hassle, and we should not need to do that. Automation, in the digital age, ever heard of that?

Jellby
01-03-2009, 12:04 PM
- Drop caps and so on will never work, there's no implementation in ePub for them.

There is, with CSS. An example (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35145).

brewt
01-03-2009, 05:29 PM
I haven't seen a good drop cap example in an epub. (the spanish example didn't look right to me - maybe because I don't read spanish?)

DE seems to strip out drop cap code, at least in the ones I've tried to build. The Sony emulator and the Calibre emulator give differing results, too.

Sure, there's lots of great looking examples out there for web browsers, but in an actual epub, on a reading device? Hain't seen it yet.

The other thing I'd be interested in otherwise-engineering is true font embedding into the epub. Without doing it the hard way, if possible. Calibre should do it eventually, but that's a someday.

-bjc

Jellby
01-04-2009, 04:33 AM
I haven't seen a good drop cap example in an epub. (the spanish example didn't look right to me - maybe because I don't read spanish?)

DE seems to strip out drop cap code, at least in the ones I've tried to build. The Sony emulator and the Calibre emulator give differing results, too.

Sure, there's lots of great looking examples out there for web browsers, but in an actual epub, on a reading device? Hain't seen it yet.

I don't have a "real" ePUB reader, but it works fine in web browsers, in bookworm, and in the Opera and Firefox plugins. So the code is there and I'd blame Adobe DE or the Sony reader (not the ePUB format) for not properly supporting the CSS properties (as far as I know, all the properties used are requiered by the ePUB specification). This example (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34347) is not in Spanish.

brewt
01-04-2009, 10:00 AM
Not bad - how did you build it?

Attached is a picture of what it looks like in Calibre, Sony and DE. Not consistent. I can't get onto the Bride's 700 just yet.

I can't get anything to open in opera without calling on DE, fbreader crashes constantly for me, the firefox/openberg one uses firefox 2 (have to downgrade), and most of the other ones I've tried have been dismal at best.

If Epub is to be a "standard", shouldn't we be able to count on what something looks like? Or am I mis-construing something into what I want here?

I purchased a Sony on the promise of what could be done with epub over mobi - haven't seen a lot yet, and it's certainly harder to work with.

-bjc

zelda_pinwheel
01-04-2009, 10:27 AM
If Epub is to be a "standard", shouldn't we be able to count on what something looks like? Or am I mis-construing something into what I want here?

ah, here we encounter the same hurdle facing all standard formats (html webstandards comes to mind) : the manner they are interpreted by the viewer. this is why for instance the same website can look dramatically different in firefox, internet explorer, and opera. this is why webdesigners hate ie : it is very capricious about how it interprets the "standard" html / css code defined by the W3C (web standards consortium), and why book creators are pretty soon going to hate DE (i suspect). you are right : yes, we should be able to count on what it looks like. in reality, this is rarely the case...

epub is an excellent format, currently still suffering from a lack of GOOD viewers (sony's and adobe's DE is not frankly very good, from what i've seen).

if you want to see an epub file display really nicely, the best thing is to unzip it (right click the file, open with winzip or winrar, whichever you have), and then inside the "content" folder slide the .html file into a browser window (preferably firefox. ie is the devil). so far, a webbrowser is still the *best* epub viewer around (particularly one with good standards conformity, like firefox), because it has the most refined css support (it can display justified text, for instance :rolleyes:).

epub viewers for devices will eventually catch up ; i hope it is sooner rather than later.

Jellby
01-04-2009, 10:39 AM
Not bad - how did you build it?

With this CSS:

span.first {
font-variant: small-caps;
margin-left: -0.5em;
}
span.drop {
font-size: 400%;
font-weight: bold;
line-height: 0.75;
float: left;
margin: 0 0.125em 0 0;
}

and this XHTML:

<p><span class="first"><span class="drop">I</span>n</span> the ancient city of London...</p>

Attached is a picture of what it looks like in Calibre, Sony and DE. Not consistent. I can't get onto the Bride's 700 just yet.

The best is the left one... Calibre? The two others fail to align the top line, I think they interpret "line-height: 0.75" by moving down the drop cap, instead of up; I don't know what the specification says here, but all browsers seem to move things up. Also, they fail to tread the "oeb-page-header" property, they should remove "I - The Birth of the Prince and the Pauper" from the page flow at the very least.

I can't get anything to open in opera without calling on DE.

Either do as I said on the post (unzip the .epub and index.zip files and open index.html) or use this widget (http://widgets.opera.com/widget/10312/).

mores
01-04-2009, 11:38 AM
It is still an expensive word-to-epub convertor, in my opinion, that makes me have to restyle everything once it's in indesign. Work work work. Are you saying you purchased Indesign just for this?
:chinscratch:

Care to share how you go about building a book with indesign and then exporting it to ePub?
I use indesign extensively, but creating a book with 20+ pages seems like a lot of work. How do you get all the necessary pages with the textboxes that are linked etc?

rhadin
01-04-2009, 12:16 PM
Care to share how you go about building a book with indesign and then exporting it to ePub?
I use indesign extensively, but creating a book with 20+ pages seems like a lot of work. How do you get all the necessary pages with the textboxes that are linked etc?

InDesign CS4 is relatively easy to use to create long documents such as books. Just last week I completed a 360-page book in ID.

Each chapter is done as its own document. Linking is not a problem, especially with autoflow. When all the chatpers are completed, they are asembled into a master container called a Book (not being facetious here; Adobe calls it Book), within which you create the table of contents and index.

As for exporting to ePub, the File menu has the options to export to Adobe Digital Editions and to XHTML. It's as easy as selecting which one you want.

Alfy
01-04-2009, 01:08 PM
I personnally find it much easier to use inDesign to just produce a PDF document that is specifically formatted for the PRS505. Yes, it means the doc might not show properly on other readers (although screen sizes are similar enough on most models), and I can't change the size of the font (I just choose the one I am most comfortable with) but the results are perfect, dropped caps and everything, for a minimal amount of work.

I WOULD produce ePubs instead if only the workflow was as easy. I usually start with text or rtf files, and just breaking down the book in several files, one per chapter, is a real hassle. Not to mention about setting all the styles...

brewt
01-04-2009, 01:13 PM
I work at a newspaper, and the Indesign licenses we have there allow for a home-based copy. Which is why I don't have Incopy - we don't use it at the office (Word, instead).

I'm no pro with Indesign. Rank amateur. The built-in "book" templates produce truely aweful ebooks - the styles all convert to the cover page styles, and come through in red ink. At least, I can't make it work.

New blank page, import Word document (import html doesn't seem to be an option, though one can drag the html document into a text box.) For an ebook, you don't really even need to add pages beyond the first one - the whole text converts from the original document. Probably wise to add pages and link text boxes, just to make sure you can see what you're doing.

Sometimes the styles from Word import and propagate ok, sometimes they don't. Can't tell why yet. If they don't, one needs to rebuild them into indesign - otherwise weirdnesses and disappointments ensue in the epub.

Hyperlinks in the original word document (even into itself) do not work in the indesign-generated epub. So hyperlinked footnotes made by word are out of the question. I don't know how to get them to work in indesign yet. Since my disappointment factor continues to rise with this, I may not care much longer.

An yes, a large-scale project (say, the Babylonian Talmud (http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm)) is impractical at best. (Funny, it was bloody easy with Isilo (http://www.isilo.com/). And it worked properly and looked ok, too.)

And I think that if you're using the index.zip tricks, you're actually using the browser's css implementation, not necessarily the epub subset. Which is why the emulators and dedicated readers look different - they aren't on the web, and they aren't full-fledged browsers. Maybe they should be.

I have been the actively-hating-DE list for some time. The Sony viewer is a reasonable facsimile of what sometimes happens on the 700, so there is some value to looking at things in it. The best software reader on a pc by far is Calibre, but it apparently won't port easily to pocket pc (boo frickety hoo). And as there is no scripting protocol in epub, it is even difficulter to have the document compensate for different reading softwares, as web developers get to do.

Another thing I was hoping would work out in epub that doesn't: css breadcrumbs are right out - needs javascript. So we can't use that to see where we are in the book....

-bjc

mores
01-04-2009, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the instructions. But, my InDesign (CS3, Mac, German) won't let me import Word Docs ... darn!

Nate the great
01-04-2009, 03:39 PM
...
The best software reader on a pc by far is Calibre, but it apparently won't port easily to pocket pc (boo frickety hoo). And as there is no scripting protocol in epub, it is even difficulter to have the document compensate for different reading softwares, as web developers get to do.


It can't be done, so far as I can tell. Calibre needs PyQt (ithasn't been ported yet), as well as Qt (port doesn't work on most devices).

rhadin
01-05-2009, 10:37 AM
I WOULD produce ePubs instead if only the workflow was as easy. I usually start with text or rtf files, and just breaking down the book in several files, one per chapter, is a real hassle. Not to mention about setting all the styles...

The hassle with styles is relatively easy to overcome. If you create your standard styles in InDesign as you want them to appear, then create a style in Word of the same name (doesn't matter how it looks in Word), when you import (Place) the file in InDesign you can choose to have the InDesign styles control.

For example, I create a style in InDesign called BL1 and define it as having 1-inch indents (left and right) and using Formata Medium font 16-point. In Word I create the style by the same name, BL1, and just leave it defined as the default settings. I apply the BL1 style where appropriate in Word and when I place the Word file in InDesign, I make sure that the InDesign specs are selected for the style. Now when placed, the file is correctly formatted in InDesign.

Because most books use the same styles (even if defined differently) I only need to create the InDesign styles once (except for making the minor modifications for a different book) and I can use the same Word template without modification. I apply the styles in Word as I edit the text. Relatively easy and painless.

As for breaking a single manuscript file into multiple chapter files, you don't need to do that. Doing so makes it easier to add additional material later and to move things around, but it isn't necessary.

rhadin
01-05-2009, 10:39 AM
Thanks for the instructions. But, my InDesign (CS3, Mac, German) won't let me import Word Docs ... darn!

InDesign has been able to place Word files since CS1 -- at least the U.S. version. I'm surprised to learn that the German version doesn't. Have you asked Adobe about this?

Alfy
01-05-2009, 11:23 AM
For the hassle with styles: what I'm usually trying to do is to export PDFs into RTFs and then into inDesign, but without losing any special formatting, especially the italics which usually ar ethere for a good reason. When I do that, I tend to get a whole bunch of styles with different names although they correspond to the same formatting. If my output is a PDF, all I have to do is change these styles into the ones I have predefined, it's a breeze. If I want ePub, I have to go around checking every single bit of italic and redefine that as well, which is too much work.

As for breaking the books into several files, that's the only way to get chapters to work, at least according to Adobe themselves.

Alfy
01-05-2009, 11:24 AM
Yep, Mores, you can PLACE word docs, not import them. I think that's where the mistake comes from, I did the same the first time I used inDesign: went to the edit menu, looked for import, and was miffed when Word was not there.

Falbe Publishing
01-06-2009, 01:51 PM
I WOULD produce ePubs instead if only the workflow was as easy. I usually start with text or rtf files, and just breaking down the book in several files, one per chapter, is a real hassle. Not to mention about setting all the styles...

This is the same thing that gives me a headache when I experiment with making an epub file. I work with novel length documents and something that has 30, 40, 50 chapters is a colossal pain to break into chapters. I don't do this when making any other format. It's just not necessary, and I make TOCs as well. So far making an epub is way more time consuming than producing a book or ebook in any other format. Of course, I don't know what I'm doing. There's probably an easier way. I'm enjoying this thread, trying to learn.

llasram
01-06-2009, 02:01 PM
This is the same thing that gives me a headache when I experiment with making an epub file. I work with novel length documents and something that has 30, 40, 50 chapters is a colossal pain to break into chapters. I don't do this when making any other format. It's just not necessary, and I make TOCs as well. So far making an epub is way more time consuming than producing a book or ebook in any other format. Of course, I don't know what I'm doing. There's probably an easier way. I'm enjoying this thread, trying to learn.

You don't need to manually split up the chapters if you use calibre. Calibre will split the input source for you as necessary.

Alfy
01-06-2009, 04:09 PM
Err... Yes, but the point is using inDesign to produce ePubs, not Calibre, so you can enjoy all the formatting and workflow options inDesign has to offer... Otherwise, sure, a simple word document and Calibre and you get a working ePub!

llasram
01-06-2009, 04:54 PM
Err... Yes, but the point is using inDesign to produce ePubs, not Calibre, so you can enjoy all the formatting and workflow options inDesign has to offer... Otherwise, sure, a simple word document and Calibre and you get a working ePub!

Actually, you can use InDesign, create an EPUB with unsplit chapters, then run the EPUB through Calibre's any2epub.

mtravellerh
01-07-2009, 05:22 AM
Actually, you can use InDesign, create an EPUB with unsplit chapters, then run the EPUB through Calibre's any2epub.

Yes, you can, of course, but isn't Indesign the most inappropriate epub designer anyway?

Face it, guys, epub will NEVER be rendered the way InDesign wants it on the existing and future reader platforms. The only way to get InDesign's "design" to work would be if all the reading platforms would have identical rendering engines with, of course, same-sized screens. Otherwise, all of InDesign's tinkering around is worth zilch.

To get the epubs "working" on most platforms in a viable way is to extremely reduce code, not to blow it up extremely. In a real world, even floating pictures are nearly impossible to realise so that they "work" everywhere.

Get a WYSIWYG HTML editor if you do not want to learn HTML code, create a HTML file and get Calibre to make a good epub out of it. That works for heavily illustrated files, too.

Falbe Publishing
01-07-2009, 06:25 PM
I do plan to give Calibre a try. I don't have to use InDesgin.

brewt
01-07-2009, 09:18 PM
I'm finding the most aggravating thing to be the one-size-fits-all approach that indesign is expressing toward epub. I think there is a lot of potential in what one can do with epub (if the spec is to be believed), but a cadillac-ly-priced-piece-of-(bleep) like indesign should be able to do more than the one-trick-pony-trick(?) of converting a word document into an epub. Poorly.

Was that enough euphemisms? I think not!

If I want to use Indesign to create a newspaper, that's one thing, but the vision of having an electronic newspaper that indesign has already prototyped (into print) just doesn't seem to be there. And I kindareallysortalikeyouknow, need it to.

-bjc

Libby Cone
01-17-2009, 05:27 PM
An yes, a large-scale project (say, the Babylonian Talmud (http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm)) is impractical at best. (Funny, it was bloody easy with Isilo (http://www.isilo.com/). And it worked properly and looked ok, too.)


-bjc

Dear Brewt,

I have been putting off buying an ereader (probably a Kindle) until the price comes down, but would spring for it now if I could get the Babylonian Talmud. I'm not a software geek, so I don't know if the formats you mentioned in your post would be compatible with an ebook model. Should I just get the http://www.amazon.com/Babylonian-Talmud-volumes-contents-improved/dp/B0011YIPVU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1232228272&sr=1-1"]Rodkinson Translation[/URL],
or are there better ones out there? I used to use the Soncino on CD-ROM; I have emailed them to ask if they're planning an ebook edition. I use a Linux computer now, so I don't think I can use their CD-ROM's anymore.