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Old 10-11-2007, 07:50 PM   #53
bowerbird
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Posts: 269
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: los angeles
ok, hadrien, i took a look. but i guess i'd already figured it all out on my own... :+)

jswolf said:
> why not just use html to do the markup?

i don't understand the question. so i'll just make up an answer. ;+)

i don't like .html books, because the browser is a lousy reader-app.
if you want to see what i think a reader-app needs to do, go here:
> http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu...t=2004-01-08,3

that post is from way back in 2004, but the list hasn't changed much.
unfortuntely, browser capabilities haven't improved that much either,
at least from the standpoint of how well a browser meets my criteria.

so i'd reject a browser/html workflow entirely, if not for the fact that
putting material on the web is a very handy way of making it _public_.

as far as _applying_ .html markup, i think it's a royal pain in the rear.
that's why i invented my own form of light-markup, so i could obtain
the main functionality i want from documents without doing markup...

however, it's not like i've become resigned to a browser/html world.
i'm now creating web-aware offline applications that can _get_stuff_
from the web to display it themselves, so you don't need a browser.

if i understand hadrien correctly, that's why feedbooks has an a.p.i.,
so developers can give users an alternative to using a web-browser.

if you can save the user from being forced to make an inconvenient
trip to the browser, why not? convenience is the name of the game.

of course, this approach of an app going directly to a webpage and
grabbing data isn't unusual nowadays; rss-readers do it all the time.
the difference is, they expect the documents they receive to be .html.
my applications expect received documents to be in my .zml format.

i still think it's important to have the ability to convert .zml into .html,
so the documents can be put on the web for users who _cannot_run_
offline apps (e.g., because they can't install them on a work machine);
but for the vast majority of people, i think the enhanced functionality
of my offline viewer-program will win them over, especially when it's
combined with the ease of not having to hassle with applying markup.

for my part, i'm converting the e-texts in project gutenberg into .zml,
and will be mounting them on my own mirror as a .zml demonstration.

i fully expect the long-term maintenance of .zml files will be low-cost,
so i think i'll be able to maintain the entire library all by my lonesome,
even as project gutenberg continues to pump new titles into the world.

-bowerbird
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