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Old 05-13-2011, 01:37 AM   #1
cybmole
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using widows & orphans

when reading on my Sony e-reader, I observe some level of widows & orphans control i.e. the reader will leave a line or 2 of whitespace at foot of a "page" in order to not split off the last few words of a paragraph with a page turn.

I found this disconcerting at first & would be checking my epub source code for extra linefeeds, but I've slowly gotten used to it.

my questions here are

1. Do folks take the trouble to set explicit widows & orphans controls in sigil CSS & if so, what settigns do they favour ( I have seen code, but rarely)

2. is the Sony doing something that is standard for epub readers or is it a Sony specific "feature". I have no been able to find documentation for it and am not sure exactly what logic it is using.

3. what is best practice - control this in software ( CSS) or leave it for e-reader firmware to manage ?
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:39 AM   #2
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I never set the orphan and widows setting in my stylesheet. A lot of readers (Sony, Nook I know for sure) have a default setting of 2 lines for both orphan and widow settings. So, when nothing is specified that is what they will use. It can be overriden within the stylesheet.
The reader that I know of that hasn't have a default setting (iBooks), will also ignore the stylesheet directive (as they ignore a lot of perfectly good code).

So, a lot of readers have it automatically and some readers that don't have it will ignore the setting... I think it depends on your market and how you want the book to be handled. If your market is all readers, make the setting in the stylesheet and hope that all readers will use it. Otherwise don't bother.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:31 AM   #3
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You can certainly set it to 1 instead of the default of 2. Since there is no header data on most (all?) readers it cannot be confused with a header. Some don't like one or two words at the top of the page but it does keep the length of each page more uniform.

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Old 05-15-2011, 11:43 AM   #4
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In general it should be a matter of reader preference, not part of a book formatting. I would only specify widow or orphan values for some blocks that might benefit, otherwise leave the default.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:48 AM   #5
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I set widows and orphans to 0. In fact, this is the body I use most of the time...

Code:
body {
  font-family: "Fontin", serif;
  widows: 0;
  orphans: 0;
  margin-top: 0;
  margin-bottom: 0;
  margin-left: 0;
  margin-right: 0;
  text-align: justify;
  font-size: 95%
}
The font-family varies depending on what font-family is being used. But I prefer an alternate font to the default ADE serif font.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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In general it should be a matter of reader preference, not part of a book formatting. I would only specify widow or orphan values for some blocks that might benefit, otherwise leave the default.
Unfortunately there is no reader available that allows for reader preference on this item. The user has no control over this.

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Old 05-15-2011, 01:02 PM   #7
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Unfortunately there is no reader available that allows for reader preference on this item. The user has no control over this.
The calibre reader allows a user stylesheet, and I hope some other reader will allow it too in the future.
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:08 PM   #8
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The calibre reader allows a user stylesheet, and I hope some other reader will allow it too in the future.
so you reckon trying to influence the decisions that Sony PRS-650 makes on my behalf will be fruitless ? ( I can live with that, just seeking confirmation)

AFAIK , the primitive device known as Kindle does nothing re widows & orphans, it' s just Epub based readers that apply their own interpretations of what is "good" ?. I never noticed this issue until I switched from Kindle to sony.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:14 PM   #9
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Ah, but that is because Kindle is the only reader that reads it's own format. Most others read ePub. Unfortunatly that can cause reader manufacturers making decisions what is good and what rendering engine to use. That causes ePub to display differently between readers.
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
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The calibre reader allows a user stylesheet, and I hope some other reader will allow it too in the future.
I, of course, was talking about hardware readers, not a software program but I guess I wasn't clear. I can do a lot of things if I am content to use a computer to read with but that is not very mobile.

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Old 05-16-2011, 12:24 AM   #11
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Ah, but that is because Kindle is the only reader that reads it's own format. Most others read ePub. Unfortunatly that can cause reader manufacturers making decisions what is good and what rendering engine to use. That causes ePub to display differently between readers.
how many epub rendering engines are there, in the wild ?

is ADE the main one & is that what Sony use ?

PS - found this(old) summary :
http://oldbugs.calibre-ebook.com/wiki/ReaderQuirks
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
how many epub rendering engines are there, in the wild ?

is ADE the main one & is that what Sony use ?

PS - found this(old) summary :
http://oldbugs.calibre-ebook.com/wiki/ReaderQuirks
ADE is the main one & that is what Sony uses. However, not all ADE versions are the same, for example Sony has two different versions in use depending on the model of the device.

There are a few others but only ADE has support for DRM used by most eBook stores and public libraries (overdrive). Apple has their own ePUB rendering engine with their own DRM.

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