View Full Version : Web Standards for E-books by Joe Clark (web article)

03-18-2010, 10:45 PM

A little article on one of my favorite sites.

03-18-2010, 11:26 PM
great article. thanks for sharing!

03-18-2010, 11:36 PM
It has been posted before, though it's certainly a good article.

Thinking about it again, the one problem is that he ignores a critical issue in the development of ebook standards. eBooks are not the web, and never will be.

While no-one with any sense would disagree with html being the backbone of modern ebooks (the old Dtbook standard is a legacy nonentity), there's still some relevant debate as to the way the rendering is specified. The web is tied to CSS, but that's not the only game in town when it comes to transforming xml into rendered output. Adobe has been pushing for the use of XSL-FO, which is a standardised rendering language for xml and offers some real benefits over the hodge-podge that is CSS.

If there's any problem with XSL-FO, it's that it's overly formal and could use a bit of practical condensing. OTOH, you just have to take a look at a standard 35kB+ garbled CSS file from Penguin to see that ebooks desperately need a rendering standard that will force technicians to think about what they're doing.