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Old 04-24-2013, 10:02 AM   #1
LGN
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Lightbulb Thoughts about ePUB 3

Now that Sigil supports adding audio and video, the resulting ePUB might be viewable in certain reader software, but the ePUB itself will not validate as ePUB2 or ePUB3.

While this hybrid is nice to play with it might be not usable whenever the ePUB needs to be validated.

I am planning to make a kind of script that will unzip an ePUB and will rename and find/replace entries in the included files to 'convert' an ePUB2 into an ePUB3 file that will validate using epubcheck 3.0.

I searched but I have not found an ePUB2to3 converter...

So maybe instead of Sigil supporting ePUB3 from the ground up, have Sigil support a 'save as ePUB3' option, converting the ePUB2 into 3 after the fact.

While it won't solve the issue of the full range of ePUB3 functionality, it might make using the video and audio usable.

ePUB3 was approved on 11 October 2011 and still it seems to be ignored. While the everybody still has the 'wait and see' attitude, Apple seems to be pushing it with a passion. In essence this means that rich eBooks seem to be dominated on Apple devices leaving all other platforms behind.

On Android (and iPad) there is Gitden reader which supports ePUB3 and possibly a bunch of others too.

So, what are your opinions on ePUB3 and its support on different readers? Should ePUB3 be at least possible to create using open source applications? Are you personally interested in the possibility? Should ePUB3 be ignored? Do you see yourself needing an ePUB that has audio and video and needs to pass the ePUB validators?

I'm curious about your opinions.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:39 AM   #2
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"EPUB 3 supports audio and video embedded in [content documents] via the new [HTML5] audio and video elements, inheriting all the functionality and features these elements provide. (For information on supported audio formats, please refer to Core Media Types [Publications30]. For recommendations on embedding video, refer to Reading System Conformance [Publications30].)"

http://www.idpf.org/epub/30/spec/#sec-multimedia
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:44 AM   #3
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I don't think there is much point in creating a document that will not play in any player, or supporting features that no player has.

Having a basic e-ink reader, I have no interest in epub3. If I want rich content, I use my computer. It seems like epub3 just duplicates what is available on a computer. Epub3 will produce documents which should be displayable on my little Sony, but which won't be because they will be laid out much too wide and rely on features my device can't use.

The epub3 cause is not helped by Apple picking and choosing what it will support and requiring special files to work right.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:46 AM   #4
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I would have been a lot happier if ePub 3 had included syntax for things that we actually needed:

Syntax for defining drop caps accurately by number of lines of text
Syntax for lines of poetry that should wrap differently to ordinary long lines
Syntax for footnotes/glossaries, so that readers can pop these up in windows in a sensible manner
Syntax for illustrations with captions, to ensure that captions stay with illustrations


and those are just off the top of my head.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:20 PM   #5
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ePub3 isn't a viable standard. You remember the joke about the horse designed by committee? Same thing, with a healthy dose of wanting to break compatibility with as much hardware as possible.

Although I wouldn't have minded a standard that did away with HTML and developed something that doesn't require a second design language to include something as basic as a five-space indent. That would've been nice.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:26 PM   #6
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Without going too far into the argument of wether or not it's a good format...

It seems that the ebook community are a bunch if penguins (not the OS kind). They are all sitting around waiting for someone else to dive in first. As soon as a few do, then they will ALL jump in.

The only way to improve the format is to get people USING it...then more people will provide content, more readers will support it, more bug reports and feature requests will be made...

I want ePub3 Mostly for the CSS3 support... I haven't needed video or audio functionality yet. But there are definitely some good things in CSS3 that make ePub coding nicer/easier. It is possible to support CSS3 without supporting epub3... And some reading apps do that, but it would be much better if they just switched over to the new epub3 standard and had everybody working together to make it better.

My .02¢

Cheers!
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Syntax for defining drop caps accurately by number of lines of text
Syntax for lines of poetry that should wrap differently to ordinary long lines
Syntax for footnotes/glossaries, so that readers can pop these up in windows in a sensible manner
Syntax for illustrations with captions, to ensure that captions stay with illustration
Amen to that!

Quote:
The only way to improve the format is to get people USING it...then more people will provide content, more readers will support it, more bug reports and feature requests will be made...
Amen to that too.

Epub2 is ok for plain and lightly illustrated text books but the print world has a lot of illustrated books and fancy layouts that you can't reliably replicate with it.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:26 PM   #8
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See this for the main issues Sigil needs to worry about with EPUB 3. First and foremost EPUB 2 and EPUB 3 can't easily coexist together and I'm not interested in trying to maintain what is essentially two separate code bases in one application.

Also, the above does not address the structural changes to Sigil's code that need to be made (are being and have been made) to accommodate EPUB3.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:32 AM   #9
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The problem with ePUB3 is indeed that to few reader software support it and that it's not merely an addition to ePUB2 but also mess with basically changing content.opf into package.opf. ePUB3 can have the toc.ocx to allow for backward compatibility to ePUB2 and ePUB3 readers support ePUB2 as well.

And at this point we are at a junction where eInk support ePUB2 and tablets support ePUB2 and ePUB3. I assume 99% of the eBooks will keep using ePUB2, but I am worried about eBook producers using parts of the ePUB3 spec to make their eBooks prettier..

I hope that books keep fully compatible to ePUB2 for 'normal' eBooks. Only when they specifically need the advanced functions of ePUB3.

Currently I have a half-arsed ePUB2 to ePUB3 conversion working. It's made with a batch file plus Swiss File Knife. I have it that it can convert a very basic ePUB2 to ePUB3. At this moment I only have a few errors in the epubcheck 3 validator left. I dont have audio or video yet as I wanted to be able to convert a simple ePUB first.

So Sigil misses an option in "Possibile Solutions"; Support EPUB 3 Features in EPUB 2 and have an option "Export as..." which will save the ePUB2 with ePUB3 functions and then call a converter which will convert the ePUB. It would still be limited I guess and can have many pitfalls due to the different ePUBs. But if Sigil does support ePUB3 features in ePUB2, it might be a solution thinking about.

Even if Sigil only supports specific things of the ePUB3 spec, it's nice to play around with but as long as it won't validate under ePUB2 nor ePUB3 it's use is perhaps fairly limited.
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