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Old 11-17-2009, 09:59 AM   #16
Valloric
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Umm no, the major problem with epubcheck is that all it checks for is the conformance of epub with various DTDs. In the real world, conformance with DTD's is by far the least important of all checks you could possibly perform. The only reason that epubcheck exists at all is that it is trivial to code.

And yet, the existence of epubcheck convinces endless scads of people that their epubs are going to work as they intended, just because they pass epubcheck. I would have been so much happier if trivial had been prepended to epubcheck. But then no one would use it and then how are we to give people a warm and fuzzy feeling that their epubs are A OK and going to work forever.
Actually I'm planning on writing an epub checking library in C++. I'd extend epubcheck, but it's in Java and I can't link to it in Sigil (no, JNI and GCJ/CNI don't count). And I agree, it's very limited in it's current form. All of your arguments stand, although I do think that epubcheck still provides a useful service.

I'm interested in your (and other people's) thoughts on this: what should it check for etc. This project is a couple of months away until I get Sigil to a somewhat more stable state and implement the redesign + a few other major features. But I will start work on this eventually.

I plan on providing separate CLI and GUI applications (very simple things) that will use the library so that people who don't want to use Sigil can still benefit from this project.

Of course, since the lib will be in C++, it could also be easily linked to by applications written in, say, Python.

Last edited by Valloric; 11-17-2009 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Valloric View Post
Actually I'm planning on writing an epub checking library in C++. I'd extend epubcheck, but it's in Java and I can't link to it in Sigil (no, JNI and GCJ/CNI don't count). And I agree, it's very limited in it's current form. All of your arguments stand, although I do think that epubcheck still provides a useful service.

I'm interested in your (and other people's) thoughts on this: what should it check for etc. This project is a couple of months away until I get Sigil to a somewhat more stable state and implement the redesign + a few other major features. But I will start work on this eventually.

I plan on providing separate CLI and GUI applications (very simple things) that will use the library so that people who don't want to use Sigil can still benefit from this project.

Of course, since the lib will be in C++, it could also be easily linked to by applications written in, say, Python.

wooooooo!!!!

of more use would be the specific error found, not some vague error statement which leaves one headscratching ....

again

wwwooooOOOOOOO!!!!
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:51 PM   #18
kovidgoyal
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I'd vote for including reader specific checks. So for example there is a page in the calibre wiki that documents the various quirks of ADE. It would be good to check for those. For example, ADE refuses to handle anchors names that start with a number. Or top level <br> tags (though I believe that was fixed in recent releases). Then are the various quirks of webkit based renderers. A place they are documented is in the EPUB output plugin in calibre, which implements work arounds for all these quirks. And of course it needs to do checking of flow sizes. Even though the flow size restriction has been mitigated in recent Adobe SDKs, it's not unlimited nd I think it's good practice to encourage people to split up their HTML anyway.

But really the most important set of tests is rendering tests and those are impossible to automate, the best that could be done is identify certain constructs that are unlikely to render correctly and warn about them. Things like fixed whitespace containers, large (wide) tables and so on.

And as GeoffC said it would be very important to make the error messages actually intelligible. I'm no dunce and I have a hard time figuring out what epubcheck error messages mean. I can only imagine how cryptic it must be for people that are not as familiar with XHTML.
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Old 11-18-2009, 06:05 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
For example, ADE refuses to handle anchors names that start with a number.
Well, according to the HTML4 spec:

ID and NAME tokens must begin with a letter ([A-Za-z]) and may be followed by any number of letters, digits ([0-9]), hyphens ("-"), underscores ("_"), colons (":"), and periods (".").

Maybe that's changed in XHTML, though.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:03 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
Well, according to the HTML4 spec:

ID and NAME tokens must begin with a letter ([A-Za-z]) and may be followed by any number of letters, digits ([0-9]), hyphens ("-"), underscores ("_"), colons (":"), and periods (".").

Maybe that's changed in XHTML, though.
Yeah but ADE is the only major HTML renderer I know that doesn't handle anchor names that start with numbers.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:32 PM   #21
charleski
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Umm no, the major problem with epubcheck is that all it checks for is the conformance of epub with various DTDs.
It's basically an extended XML validator. I don't understand your antagonism. I've certainly found it helpful in locating errors I've made while editing ePubs.

It doesn't guarantee that an ePub will render on current or future devices, but it does filter out elementary errors and superfluous fluff.
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:50 PM   #22
Valloric
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Originally Posted by charleski View Post
It's basically an extended XML validator. I don't understand your antagonism. I've certainly found it helpful in locating errors I've made while editing ePubs.

It doesn't guarantee that an ePub will render on current or future devices, but it does filter out elementary errors and superfluous fluff.
My thoughts exactly. Epubcheck may be limited, but it has its uses. I'm guessing Kovid's main objection is that people use it and think "if it passes epubcheck, all will be well" when it's likely that it won't be.

But that's the problem of the users, not the tool. Epubcheck makes no claims that it is the be-all, end-all epub checker.
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