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Old 04-21-2011, 01:41 PM   #1
Pablo
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I am trying to write an ePub tutorial "for dummies", starting with HTML and CSS and later Sigil.

I am aware there are thousands of online HTML/CSS tutorials, so why yet another one? Well, because not everybody has the time or the patience needed to go through them, so I thought I could write some no-fuss quick and dirty guide covering the basics.

I just finished a draft covering HTML and CSS (in 7 pages, screenshots included) and would like some feedback to know if it is worth the effort.

Disclaimer No. 1: I am not an expert. I am still learning.
Disclaimer No. 2: English is not my mother language. So if you read something funny, please tell me so I can improve it.

Thanks

EDIT

I just uploaded a new draft with more on CSS and an introduction to ePub

EDIT

I just uploaded a new draft covering Sigil and basic book formatting

EDIT

Uploaded the final version.

EDIT (May 1st, 2012)

Uploaded version 2 covering Sigil 0.5.3

EDIT (March 9th, 2013)

Uploaded version 3 covering Sigil 0.7.1

EDIT (April 20th, 2013)

Uploaded version 3 in ePub format

EDIT (December 15th, 2013)

Removed older versions


Pablo
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Quick and Dirty ePub Tutorial - v3.pdf (1.55 MB, 489 views)
File Type: epub Quick and Dirty ePub Tutorial - v3.epub (952.3 KB, 234 views)

Last edited by Pablo; 12-18-2013 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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That is a nice little tutorial. Short examples with screen-shots to show the effects. Anybody could type in the examples.

Looking forward to the epub chapter and Sigil chapter.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatDog View Post
That is a nice little tutorial. Short examples with screen-shots to show the effects. Anybody could type in the examples.

Looking forward to the epub chapter and Sigil chapter.
Thanks!!! I am waiting for some more feedback before adding more. I want to keep it as short and compact as possible.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:47 PM   #4
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I like this; I'm going to look over the CSS part very carefully. (I learned HTML mostly from toggling between wysiwyg & HTML editors in forums; they don't do CSS, so I'm absolutely lost in figuring it out.)
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:57 PM   #5
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I just uploaded a new draft. There's more on CSS and an introduction to ePub.
See first post for the file.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:04 PM   #6
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Nice work!

Some random nitpicks:
  • The R in MobileRead should be capitalised
  • The N at the start of Notepad should be capitalised
  • If you are trying to teach as little HTML as possible (if you know what I mean!) why are you bothering to include those two meta tags? You'd be better off teaching the Doctype tag - it's scary, but important. The other important tag for a HTML page is the title tag. Although it's not needed in an epub, it is in every other HTML page. That one comes down to a judgement call, I guess...
  • Absolute newbies may not know directory=folder
  • The em explaination is a bit confusing... but it is hard to explain!
  • "An ePub document is compressed file" think you mean "An ePub document is a compressed file"
  • "It is not necessary to create a TOC inside the book" this is a bit confusing. Maybe "It is not necessary to create a HTML file with an additional TOC inside the book..."
  • "link from body to note and back" Newbies may not know what you mean by "link" as they haven't learned about anchors/hyperlinks.

Again, it's really, really good! I know how hard it is to try and create a teaching document. Well done!
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for looking at the tutorial!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatgirl View Post
Some random nitpicks:
  • The R in MobileRead should be capitalised
  • The N at the start of Notepad should be capitalised
  • "An ePub document is compressed file" think you mean "An ePub document is a compressed file"
Thanks for pointing this out, I will make the corrections before uploading again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatgirl View Post
  • If you are trying to teach as little HTML as possible (if you know what I mean!) why are you bothering to include those two meta tags? You'd be better off teaching the Doctype tag - it's scary, but important. The other important tag for a HTML page is the title tag. Although it's not needed in an epub, it is in every other HTML page. That one comes down to a judgement call, I guess...
The purpose of teaching a little HTML and CSS is to prepare the reader for the Sigil working environment. As the title tag is not needed, I skipped it. Same for the Doctype.
The "meta" tags are recognised as such by Sigil when importing the HTML file, so I thought it would be nice to show that you can find them in the metadata editor (and that the CSS has gone to the "styles" folder and the body to the "text" folder).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatgirl View Post
  • Absolute newbies may not know directory=folder
Good point. I started with MS-DOS and sometimes that shows....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatgirl View Post
  • The em explaination is a bit confusing... but it is hard to explain!
Yes, I know. I will try to improve it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatgirl View Post
  • "It is not necessary to create a TOC inside the book" this is a bit confusing. Maybe "It is not necessary to create a HTML file with an additional TOC inside the book..."
I thought that was clear.... I meant that some people like to see TOC pages at the start of an ebook, much like the TOC's of paper books, even if their reader has a TOC browser tool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatgirl View Post
  • "link from body to note and back" Newbies may not know what you mean by "link" as they haven't learned about anchors/hyperlinks.
Surely everybody knows by now what a link is....
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:50 PM   #8
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I just uploaded a new draft covering Sigil and basic ebook formatting. Feedback is welcome.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:13 AM   #9
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Much more complete than the first version—well done! There is a lot of information in those 24 pages considering all the screenshots you included (very helpful to have visual guide for those not familiar with the software).

Nice work, looking forward to the next version.

And by the way, another short guide I used that I found very helpful is here: http://thinkubator.ccsp.sfu.ca/wikis/epubguide/ToC (wiki format—also available in ePub and PDF). Maybe it can inspire you for new sections.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:01 AM   #10
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Much more complete than the first version—well done! There is a lot of information in those 24 pages considering all the screenshots you included (very helpful to have visual guide for those not familiar with the software).

Nice work, looking forward to the next version.

And by the way, another short guide I used that I found very helpful is here: http://thinkubator.ccsp.sfu.ca/wikis/epubguide/ToC (wiki format—also available in ePub and PDF). Maybe it can inspire you for new sections.
Thanks! I will be uploading the next version in short.
I'll have a look at the guide you mention.
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Old 06-04-2011, 06:46 AM   #11
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I just completed and uploaded the tutorial (see first post for the file).
Feedback is welcome.
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:25 AM   #12
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page 24 enough is should be enough if

No problem with the English, I wish my Spanish were as good.

You might mention that all ereaders are not created equal and that perfectly acceptable epubs will not display the same in all of them.

In Sigil, it is important when cutting and pasting to observe the results. The results using the keyboard are NOT the same as using the menus in Windows. The keyboard (Control X, Control C, Control V) results are more as one would expect. This is the fault of the underlying software and not Sigil's fault. But one can lose whole sentences and introduce new faults if one is not observant.

Otherwise very excellent. Thanks!
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:54 AM   #13
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You might mention that all ereaders are not created equal and that perfectly acceptable epubs will not display the same in all of them.
My experience is limited to my Sony PRS-505, so I can't compare how the look of ePubs varies from device to device. I did mention that each device has its own fonts, that some devices don't support font-embedding and that some devices do not display empty paragraphs, though.

Quote:
In Sigil, it is important when cutting and pasting to observe the results. The results using the keyboard are NOT the same as using the menus in Windows. The keyboard (Control X, Control C, Control V) results are more as one would expect. This is the fault of the underlying software and not Sigil's fault. But one can lose whole sentences and introduce new faults if one is not observant.
That's why I recommend using Code View instead of Book View for editing. In the current version of the tutorial, there's a whole page devoted to what happens when one uses Book View to edit and why it should be avoided.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:32 AM   #14
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Thanks very much for this tutorial. I was thinking about converting some poetry and song lyrics into ePub and this guide gives me pretty much all I need (along with Sigil of course).
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:15 AM   #15
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Thanks very much for this tutorial. I was thinking about converting some poetry and song lyrics into ePub and this guide gives me pretty much all I need (along with Sigil of course).
I'm glad you find it useful!!!
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