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Old 06-19-2010, 05:32 PM   #1
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Post Battle of the Rendering Engines

Quite a number of people here have commented on the quality of the rendering engines of various reading apps, but few people have bothered to state exactly what the problems are in which app.

This thread is intended to flesh out which apps have problems with which tags. The end goal is a list of bugs which can report to the various application makers.

I've started us out here on picasa with renders from iBooks and Stanza, and a reference rendering from ADE. The text is the first 10 pages of the book "Designing Web Interfaces" because it is technically demanding with quotes, links, images, references, and so forth.

When you comment, please refer to specific images and be specific about your issues and concerns - no "it looks ugly" unless you can back that up with a typographical or technical reason.

If you have questions about how specific things function in the app (e.g., does X link work properly), let me know.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Last edited by nikkie; 06-19-2010 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:41 PM   #2
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Very cool, thanks nikkie!
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:11 PM   #3
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Interesting - thanks for posting that.

Page 1 nicely illustrates my earlier comments about the deficiencies of Stanza's handling of alignment. In the iBooks rendering, as in the ADE reference rendering, the title is left justified, while the graphic in the middle of the page is centred. In Stanza, the title is centred, while the graphic is left justified (as are the graphics in all the remaining pages too).
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:19 PM   #4
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IBooks pages 6-7 really show off it's graphic abilities. And, of course, you can turn off the chrome in iBooks if you want fewer distractions while reading.
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjk View Post
IBooks pages 6-7 really show off it's graphic abilities. And, of course, you can turn off the chrome in iBooks if you want fewer distractions while reading.
I don't particularly see any differences between 6-7 of iBooks and 6-7 of Stanza. Is there anything in particular going on here?
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Interesting - thanks for posting that.

Page 1 nicely illustrates my earlier comments about the deficiencies of Stanza's handling of alignment. In the iBooks rendering, as in the ADE reference rendering, the title is left justified, while the graphic in the middle of the page is centred. In Stanza, the title is centred, while the graphic is left justified (as are the graphics in all the remaining pages too).
This is an interesting point...

That title is decorated as follows:
div class=chapter
div class=titlepage
h1 class=title

The chapter class is not specified in the stylesheet, so we can just ignore it.

h1 is marked text-align: left
titlepage is marked text-align: center
title has no align marking.

titlepage is after h1 in the stylesheet.

Neither have id attributes.

so for h1:

(0, 0, 0,1)

for titlepage:

(0,0,1,0)

So by the rules of specificity for css, the h1 element's styling should not take precedence over the title class's styling.

Am I wrong in my calculations?

Last edited by nikkie; 06-19-2010 at 07:18 PM. Reason: Corrected, and clarified terminology
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:11 PM   #7
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My bad, the titlepage class was part of a declaration like this:
.book .titlepage .title
{
text-align: center;
}

This element should not be applied to the h1 element describing the title because it's not a descendant of book. So stanza should not have overrode the h1 alignment.
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkie View Post
I don't particularly see any differences between 6-7 of iBooks and 6-7 of Stanza. Is there anything in particular going on here?
I'm just looking at the subtitle text (Figure 1-2 Flickr provides etc..) attached to the images above-it looks like iBooks understands they are connected-but Stanza puts the subtitle on the next page (Liz Castro described the issue here). Or is that just coincidence?
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I'm just looking at the subtitle text (Figure 1-2 Flickr provides etc..) attached to the images above-it looks like iBooks understands they are connected-but Stanza puts the subtitle on the next page (Liz Castro described the issue here). Or is that just coincidence?
In this particular case, the title of that figure text is using page-break-before: avoid; which iBooks doesn't observe, so it's just coincidence that iBooks got it right.

It's not particularly compelling evidence that Stanza doesn't support this tag either since that entire section is set to page-break-inside: avoid and with the margins set on this text that's not possible.
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkie View Post
In this particular case, the title of that figure text is using page-break-before: avoid; which iBooks doesn't observe, so it's just coincidence that iBooks got it right.

It's not particularly compelling evidence that Stanza doesn't support this tag either since that entire section is set to page-break-inside: avoid and with the margins set on this text that's not possible.
I'm amazed at how well Stanza supports some of the stuff in that doc-they've definitely improved their rendering recently. But, I have had a soft spot for Stanza since the original iPhone-their devs are nice guys too.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:57 AM   #11
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Stanza still needs an upgrade on their rendering engine. Stanza does look better on the iPad, but still not yet good enough.
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:39 AM   #12
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Are you going to add others? I'd like to see txtr compared.

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Old 06-20-2010, 04:35 PM   #13
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Stanza still needs an upgrade on their rendering engine. Stanza does look better on the iPad, but still not yet good enough.
Please be specific.
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:57 PM   #14
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Also, any chance you have PDF or scans of the paper boom to compare with?

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Old 06-20-2010, 06:50 PM   #15
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Are you going to add others? I'd like to see txtr compared.

Lee
I've added some renders from txtr. There are a couple problems with it's rendering:
(1) None of the links are clickable. They are in both Stanza and iBooks.
(2) txtr is resizing all of the figures. This would be okay, but the text is completely unreadable.

Otherwise the two-column view in landscape mode looks very nice.
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