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Old 02-08-2013, 01:11 AM   #886
Micah
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But can you make a fixed format ePub 3 that would work on say a nook tablet, iPad, iPhone 5? Differing screen sizes/resolutions/aspect ratios is what you have to overcome in terms of fixed layout. Is this even possible?
Fixed layout epub essentially behaves just like a PDF - or, I should probably say "should" behave...

So on a small device, the page would be small. This would be a stupid choice for most content, but for illustrated books that were designed for print and are essentially pages of "art", it makes some sense.

There has been proposals around PGT both at the IDPF and W3C CCC group (tech for having nice layout, and having that "adapt" intelligently to different screen sizes/resolutions). It looked for a while like that was getting traction, but now I fear the wonks in the CSS working group will drag it around for a few years first. That'd be a bummer if it happens,-- looking that way.
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:58 PM   #887
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Fixed layout epub essentially behaves just like a PDF - or, I should probably say "should" behave...

So on a small device, the page would be small. This would be a stupid choice for most content, but for illustrated books that were designed for print and are essentially pages of "art", it makes some sense.

There has been proposals around PGT both at the IDPF and W3C CCC group (tech for having nice layout, and having that "adapt" intelligently to different screen sizes/resolutions). It looked for a while like that was getting traction, but now I fear the wonks in the CSS working group will drag it around for a few years first. That'd be a bummer if it happens,-- looking that way.
(IMHO) ePub 3 is just a mess. They've stuck all kinds of useless/worthless multimedia in it and not enough useful stuff. Stick with ePub 2 for now and fix all the other outstanding things that need fixing with Bluefire. After all of that is done, then you can think abut ePub 3.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:34 PM   #888
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Stick with ePub 2 for now and fix all the other outstanding things that need fixing with Bluefire. After all of that is done, then you can think abut ePub 3.
Sounds reasonable. I'd definitely first introduce a basic feature like, say, paragraph spacing, into Bluefire Reader, before messing around with EPUB 3. I mean, the logical sequence is first to get the basics right, and only then move on to advanced stuff.

But, like Micah said, his focus is apparently on his corporate customers more than on regular-Joe e-book readers. (And that different focus is palpable when you load the same book in Bluefire Reader and Marvin.) Corporations, as we know, have never cared about quality much -- it's all about profits for them, and that there may be a correlation between product quality and profits... that somehow seems to elude them. If Apple or Amazon cared about product quality in any big way, they couldn't possibly release such utterly mediocre and lame e-reader apps like iBooks and Kindle into the public. But they're apparently very happy with how bad their software is. The profits are flowing in (for now), right, thanks to the unenlightened reading public, so why change anything?

Last edited by Faterson; 02-08-2013 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:35 AM   #889
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Sounds reasonable. I'd definitely first introduce a basic feature like, say, paragraph spacing, into Bluefire Reader, before messing around with EPUB 3. I mean, the logical sequence is first to get the basics right, and only then move on to advanced stuff.

But, like Micah said, his focus is apparently on his corporate customers more than on regular-Joe e-book readers.
paragraph spacing control is on our punch list, though line spacing control is higher (we have it on Android, but not yet on iOS). It is actually quite tricky for several reasons, including issues around highlighting/text selection (as noted before, we can't use iOS API's for that due to the rendering engine).

And while it is true that we have to make a living and thus business customers are important to us, we are ABSOLUTELY dedicated to constantly improving the the reading experience for all users of Bluefire Powered apps, which we care very deeply about.
I put this list of things we did in 2012 in a prior comment, but here it is again:
Support for the new iPad Retina display
Support for the new iPhone 5 screen size
Support for iOS6
Support for multiple concurrent user accounts (Adobe ID’s and Vendor ID’s)
Single Sign-on option for Vendor ID customers
Improved PDF performance and reading experience
Support for system fonts, a feature that enables more reading settings and enhanced rendering of ePUB formatting
Online dictionary look-up
Support for external hyperlinks in ePUB and PDF titles
Streamlined highlighting (bypasses Notes panel)
Sharing via Facebook, Twitter and email
Contextual ebook text search results
Collections (iOS only)
Swipe for brightness control (iOS only)
Enhanced side-loading (iOS only)
Annotation export (this one is particularly cool)
Support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean text, including vertical writing and right-to-left page order and Japanese Typography (e.g. Ruby, Kenten, etc)
Enhanced Sign-in workflow

This was a LOT of work that cost us literally 100's of thousands to implement. And many of these features were driven only by user feedback. We still have lots of work to do, but I'm proud of what we've accomplished. Marvin is great, and has the luxury of not having to support DRM - which makes development 10X easier. We chose to support DRM so we can serve independent retailers that can only get DRM'd ebooks from pubs, and also to enable our users to check out public library books - particularly important for many users in Europe who can't use the Overdrive app.

In regards to EPUB3, it is not a "binary" thing, meaning we continue to work on improving the current app with the current renderer, but we need to be making headway on EPUB3 too. It is a big, big effort and will take many months. If we waited until we finished our current punch list, we'd be late to the game as publishers start shipping tons of EPUB3 content, and our users would be stuck without a way to read those in Bluefire Reader - and independent retailers and libraries would not be able to offer that content to mobile users AT ALL. Adobe is not adding full EPUB3 support to their ebook platform, and it is up to us to do it. We are.

I appreciate your feedback, and fair criticism. We continue to work our ass off.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:25 PM   #890
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In regards to EPUB3, it is not a "binary" thing, meaning we continue to work on improving the current app with the current renderer, but we need to be making headway on EPUB3 too. It is a big, big effort and will take many months. If we waited until we finished our current punch list, we'd be late to the game as publishers start shipping tons of EPUB3 content, and our users would be stuck without a way to read those in Bluefire Reader - and independent retailers and libraries would not be able to offer that content to mobile users AT ALL. Adobe is not adding full EPUB3 support to their ebook platform, and it is up to us to do it. We are.

I appreciate your feedback, and fair criticism. We continue to work our ass off.
Bold is my highlight.

I think that's a bunch of nonsense. Until ADE supports ePub 3 and it's out there and out there in force and that includes eInk Readers, publishers are not going to be shipping tons of ePub 3 content. That's just not happening now and it's not happening soon. ePub 3 is basically stalled because of the silly specifications in regards to scripting and multimedia. So don't tell us ePub 3 is high priority because otherwise we won't be able to read ePub 3 eBooks. There aren't any for sale. We aren't missing a single ePub 3 eBook. I think we are a bit more intelligent then to think that if Bluefire doesn't have ePub 3, we'll miss out on a lot of eBooks.

ePub 3 just isn't happening and it won't for a good while.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:46 AM   #891
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@JSwolf I wish that were true. Would make life much easier on us. But all indications are that it is not. I've been talking to the major pubs and they are all committed to EPUB3 transition this year. For trade, that is not all that meaningful in the short term. But for textbook, it may well be a big deal. And of course even in trade fixed layout is huge for children's books (because Apple forces that) - where children's books have been the largest increase in ebooks in 2012 (e.g. 130% increase compared to low double digits in adult) and Accessibility and Asian languages are another big driver of EPUB3. I'm not blowing smoke up your @ss. We have to move now, or get left behind.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:50 PM   #892
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In a few days (as soon as Apple approves) we'll release a new version of Bluefire Reader for iOS. This one mostly adds features related to library lending. Sort by Expiration date, see days remaining on loan in library view, better related dialog/error strings, etc. Playing now with new feature "pinch zoom" on images in EPUB. It is really cool and fun. Usefull too for diagrams, maps, etc. Shooting for an April release with that and a few other goodies.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:51 PM   #893
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Really would like to get line and para spacing in that one too, but it is harder than it sounds.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:52 PM   #894
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On the Android front, working hard to improve the text selection features, which I'm really not happy with at the moment.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:02 PM   #895
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@JSwolf I wish that were true. Would make life much easier on us. But all indications are that it is not. I've been talking to the major pubs and they are all committed to EPUB3 transition this year. For trade, that is not all that meaningful in the short term. But for textbook, it may well be a big deal. And of course even in trade fixed layout is huge for children's books (because Apple forces that) - where children's books have been the largest increase in ebooks in 2012 (e.g. 130% increase compared to low double digits in adult) and Accessibility and Asian languages are another big driver of EPUB3. I'm not blowing smoke up your @ss. We have to move now, or get left behind.
If the publishers go ePub 3, it will be a rather stupid thing for them to do. We don't have the Readers/apps to handle ePub 3 yet. So why create ePub 3 now when it won't sell and we cannot use it? ADE is not ePub 3 compatible and it's in most Readers and on hope computers/laptops. So the rush to go ePub 3 above other more important features is just not a good idea. If the publishers really do go ePub 3, then good luck to them selling eBooks to people who have no use for them. (IMHO) until ADE is ePub 3 capable, ePub 3 won't be viable.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:21 PM   #896
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ebook library lending - doesn't really exist in Europe.
pinch zoom on images - because ebooks are about images, not text.

Priorities are so warped I can hardly understand it anymore. I give up.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:53 PM   #897
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Really would like to get line and para spacing in that one too, but it is harder than it sounds.
Thank you!!
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:06 AM   #898
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If the publishers go ePub 3, it will be a rather stupid thing for them to do. We don't have the Readers/apps to handle ePub 3 yet.
So what are you complaining about then? Bluefire will from now on start supporting epub 3. There will be an app supporting it, and the books will come. I really don't see what the fuss is all about. Let Micah develop Bluefire in a way that brings income to the company and be grateful that you get a stable and free epub reader app and please stop complaining about something that is free
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:45 PM   #899
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ebook library lending - doesn't really exist in Europe.
pinch zoom on images - because ebooks are about images, not text.

Priorities are so warped I can hardly understand it anymore. I give up.
photos, diagrams, etc are common in Textbooks and other non-fiction - particularly STM, Professional, Travel Guides etc. These verticals represent a promising area of growth for us right now, and we have several current customers that have been asking for such features too e.g. HMH, Millennium Medical, Rick Steve's Travel, etc. We need to have income to keep developing these apps, and to get on new platforms such as the desktop. In some cases our current customers pay us to add specific features as well.

Feedback we have from our users indicate that a high percentage of them use the apps for library ebooks. In Europe as well (particularly Scandinavian countries). In fact, in terms of volume of email requests for features, improvements related to loans were among the highest.

In the US we are helping a couple forward-looking library systems build their own ebook infrastructures. We've offered free consulting and free white label apps to help them along. It is something important to me personally rather than income related. These features were part of that.

Can only do so much and I try to strike a balance between features that are based on user requests, based on customer requests, based on sales strategy, etc.

I get it seem bonkers to you. Don't give up, I'm listening. Our roadmap tends to have longer throws than you might think e.g. features coming out now were put in motion months ago.
-Micah
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:53 PM   #900
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Priorities are so warped I can hardly understand it anymore. I give up.
I was trying to go back through this thread an find your suggestions for feature priorities. Found some, but if you'd be willing to type a quick "top 10" in order of prio reply to this I'd appreciate it.
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