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Old 03-29-2013, 03:26 PM   #1
RHWright
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How easy is Sigil for first-timers?

Thinking of getting my feet wet on some ebook creation. Figured I'd start with some editing. I have some non-DRM, public domain files I can play with.

So, how is the learning curve on Sigil?

I'm not a programmer. Some basic website/HTML experience, but mostly more familiar with desktop publishing and design, which is mostly WYSIWYG-type stuff. Pretty good with Adobe, MS Word, etc.

Is this going to be relatively straightforward or a real brain strain for a non-programmer type? (Gotta say, I never much got into adjusting CSS with my webs design. Dreamweaver was my friend.)

Thanks
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHWright View Post
Thinking of getting my feet wet on some ebook creation. Figured I'd start with some editing. I have some non-DRM, public domain files I can play with.

So, how is the learning curve on Sigil?

I'm not a programmer. Some basic website/HTML experience, but mostly more familiar with desktop publishing and design, which is mostly WYSIWYG-type stuff. Pretty good with Adobe, MS Word, etc.

Is this going to be relatively straightforward or a real brain strain for a non-programmer type? (Gotta say, I never much got into adjusting CSS with my webs design. Dreamweaver was my friend.)

Thanks
The good news:
The number of CSS options is way down for EPUB.

The Bad News (?):
Any value change: Tag, you are it
The Good News: Basic Ebooks probably involve less than 15 parameters.

Find some books (here at MR or elswhere) that you like how they look.
Look at the code, then the stylesheet. Right-click on the class= (or tag): 'Go to link or style'
and give it a gander
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:52 PM   #3
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For basic things, it is quite easy. There are buttons for many functions in book view.

So long as you keep it simple, you should not find it hard.

However, spellcheck and search and replace only work in code view.

I always suggest that people starting out wander over to the MR library and download a work and see if they like how it is formatted.

If they do, they can save the stylesheet and then add additional files into the new work to use it. You have to link it to the sections which make up your epub by right clicking link spreadsheet and ticking a box. Not hard at all.

Images need to be added via the same procedure before they can be used. This two step process allow you to use the same image over and over, such as at the head of a chapter without putting into your document however many times you use it.

It is suggested that you make breaks at each chapter for easy in editing and because some older readers don't like sections over 260k and new ones bog down if the sections are too large.

Once you decide you must have fancy formatting is where you will need to understand HTML and some css styling things. It is true also if your souce is very bad and full of junk. Regular Expressions (REGEX) are very useful, but not very easy.

Give it a spin on a small document at first and see how it goes. Just save as a lot in case you have to go back to the one before after changing something you didn't mean to.

Last edited by mrmikel; 03-30-2013 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:29 PM   #4
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Have a look at my ePub tutorial (see my signature). You might find it useful.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:34 PM   #5
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If you can manage web design with Dreamweaver I think you will find Sigil and epub creation easy.

That is the voice of a non expert on the matter as I just use Sigil for tidying existing books up. However, the following was my experience and may give some credibility to that claim .

I have a little, but long ago, simple programming experience (just a little Fortran at university and then a little simple playing around with Basic ) and had never bothered getting much familiarity with HTML at all. A few years back I had a short try with Dreamweaver to try designing a web site but decided the learning curve for that was far more than it was worth to me.

Later, for ebooks, I was introduced to Sigil; straight in, no problems to get to grips with it and found it quick and easy to edit existing books to make them more presentable to read almost straight off. I haven't done much creation of books (have done a few very simple ones from plain text, including with images, end notes, etc) but I can see the learning curve for that is short and easy for non complex layouts. Cruising this site was also a big help, as was looking at some of the better presented books in the mobileread.com ebook uploads.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHWright View Post
Thinking of getting my feet wet on some ebook creation. Figured I'd start with some editing. I have some non-DRM, public domain files I can play with.

So, how is the learning curve on Sigil?

I'm not a programmer. Some basic website/HTML experience, but mostly more familiar with desktop publishing and design, which is mostly WYSIWYG-type stuff. Pretty good with Adobe, MS Word, etc.

Is this going to be relatively straightforward or a real brain strain for a non-programmer type? (Gotta say, I never much got into adjusting CSS with my webs design. Dreamweaver was my friend.)

Thanks


i dunno if youre creating as an author or not but-

from an author's pov:

the user guide is a quick easy read-

the program functions very well-

this forum is your best friend! almost everything your might need to dig up is here. what is not already here, the fine folks on the board are happy to help with : )

i learned:

clean your outline/ document first.

always edit in code view.

"save a copy"!!!! i lost the whole document 3 times : )

clean it.. often. theres nothing but "p's" on my pages and it so nice LOL

.. i still know next to nothing.. but i have clean epub files that result in clean mobi files. (1 title down and 6 to go)

it took me two weeks to produce a clean ebook (20,000 words) and get it up on B&N and amazon. doing the work in sigil then converting to mobi was the way to go for me.

i cant say enough about sigil as a friendly program. i cant say enough about the value of this this forum.. so i'll stop trying : )

thank you forum peoples!

and good luck, RH Wright
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHWright View Post
...
So, how is the learning curve on Sigil?...
This sounds like you really have two questions; one about Sigil itself and one about "creating ebooks".

Sigil's learning curve is very easy. The program is very simple to use and works very well. It auto-creates the ePub file structure and provides easy interfaces for entering metadata and creating ToC entities. Its the additional CSS and XHTML learning curve that Sigil doesn't help with that prove to be most of the problem that Sigil users encounter.

Sigil falls massively short in some areas when compared to "program code editors" and apps like Dreamweaver which decend from such editors. Sigil has only a few toolbar buttons to perform basic formatting and its code editing screens (CSS and "code view" of xHTML) have none of the aids that provide "hints" for syntax when entering code like those found in Dreamweaver. If you want to insert an image at anything other than it's default size you have to know the syntax for the <image> tag, Sigil won't help you. The same goes for CSS editing, you have to know the syntax, or rely on an external source for the syntax info, as Sigil has none of the "auto-complete" or popup aids like those found is editors such as DW.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:57 AM   #8
RHWright
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Thanks everyone for all the tips & advice. Keep it coming!

Yes, I'm just getting my feet wet "creating ebooks" --both trying to edit existing files and create new ones from scratch.

From what I'd already heard, Sigil sounding like a good program to look at. You've all confirmed that.

Plus, I know I can always count on the good folks here at mobilereads for advice and support.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHWright View Post
Thinking of getting my feet wet on some ebook creation. Figured I'd start with some editing. I have some non-DRM, public domain files I can play with.

So, how is the learning curve on Sigil?
I had downloaded it a while back before the current developer took over, but I gave up and uninstalled it, as I'm not a programmer, nor am I particularly familiar with HTML coding; I just want to be able to fix my ebooks. Well tonight I just had to massage a badly massacred public-domain book, so I decided to try the current version of Sigil.

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised at how easily I was able to do what I wanted to do, mostly via the WYSIWYG view. I simply opened the file and started working -- it was obvious and easy to do search and replace, which went so well that I then went on to make things prettier, as well. On one stubborn heading, I went into the code view and simply copied a similar heading to get all the coding right, and voila!

I had already used Calibre's lovely new utility for the TOC and ended up having to fix some of the broken links from my efforts in Sigil, but that was no big deal (back in Calibre). Next time, I'll explore how Sigil does the TOC, but Calibre makes it so easy that I just fixed it there.

So I'm a new fan and am very pleased with Sigil's usability for someone not a programmer or web developer.
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