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Old 08-13-2011, 02:24 AM   #1
stevej46
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Sigil vs InDesign

I have finally published my first eBook thru Lulu.com. Today my eBook had a link added to iBookstore. It took me several weeks to figure out what I was doing. I started first by trying to convert from OpenOffice .ODT to ePub using Calibre. After lots of tries and frustration, I downloaded and put the book together with InDesign. I still had errors when I exported to ePub format.

Now that I have finally finished my first book, I was wondering how others think about using just Sigil to create and edit their eBooks? Sigil sure helped me edit the ePubs I exported from InDesign. So do I even need InDesign now?

I hope to be able to contribute more to this forum. I feel I have finally learned enough to answer a few questions.

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Old 08-13-2011, 04:43 AM   #2
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I never use InDesign. I create everything in Word, because I have some great macro's which help me to correct OCR errors and create a relative clean and complete export to HTML. I read that HTML into Sigil, do a little additional styling and the ePUB is ready.

For me that is a lot easier than InDesign. What I don't like about InDesign is the stylesheet it produces. It is much larger than it should be, with a lot of redundant code. That will not help the performance of the ePUB.

As you can see, no Calibre. I use Calibre for library management, not for ePUB creation.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:57 AM   #3
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InDesign's strengths lie in its page layout tools, which can't be beaten, but are largely irrelevant for reflowable content. There are certainly a lot of alternatives that are far cheaper and more suitable for ePubs. As Toxaris said, Word or similar programs like Atlantis or OpenOffice that can export xml are a good place to start, and offer a richer set of tools for text creation.

It's certainly possible to create an ePub entirely in Sigil. But it's really designed as an editor, and to get the most out of it you need to understand how xhtml and css works.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:43 AM   #4
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I use either Word or Open Office to begin the process and then move to Sigil. The reason, for me, is simply that InDesign is a very special-use product and I can operate in the other formats for free.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:11 PM   #5
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I create everything in Word
And you have a Tux avatar? Tux is ashamed of you.

I certainly don't think InDesign is the proper tool for ePub creation. Personally, I just write the (X)HTML in vim, or else write in LaTeX (again in vim) and convert to (X)HTML, hand-write the XML, and zip it up myself. But I'm a control freak.
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:25 PM   #6
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There is a macro for ODT that can be used to product ePub files. It has its own forum here. Atlantis can also save directly into ePub format. Sigil is a great tool but you mostly have to work in code view directly changing xhtml code. It is not a writing tool currently.

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Old 08-13-2011, 05:03 PM   #7
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And you have a Tux avatar? Tux is ashamed of you.
No, he isn't. My server is Linux and I run two installations on my laptop. Epub is Windows and almost everything else is Linux.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:41 PM   #8
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As long as the workflow for a serious book is manuscript => printed book => ebook, Indesign will largely be where the content for ebooks comes from. So the issues that we all suffer with in translating an ID ePub/Mobi file into a clean version will have to be dealt with.

Sorry, but "...ePub is Windows..."? On what planet?
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:52 PM   #9
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I use Sigil for epubs then Calibre to convert them to mobipocket.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:48 PM   #10
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Sigil is multiplatform... 0.4.0 was just released 3 days ago.

And ePub is an open format. Meaning you could use any desktop OS and still manage to whip out a perfectly valid ePub.
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:27 AM   #11
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Sorry, but "...ePub is Windows..."? On what planet?
You misinterpret my post. What I stated, or at least meant to state, is that I create ePUBS on windows and for the rest of the activities I use Linux. Of course the format windows is not restricted to Windows.
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:16 PM   #12
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Most of my clients supply their ms' in Word or Open Office format which I export as filtered html and then clean up in Dreamweaver which has an excellent command for removing all the junk that Word & OO introduce. Once the code is clean I convert it to xhtml then copy and paste it into a blank Sigil book. I find Sigil a pain for editing the xhtml as it is always trying to second-guess what you're trying to do and has a nasty habit of screwing up your code if it doesn't like what you're doing. However Sigil is very good at making the TOC and packaging epubs, and the validation tool is superb.
InDesign is great for laying out magazines but rubbish for making epubs.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:54 AM   #13
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I find Sigil a pain for editing the xhtml as it is always trying to second-guess what you're trying to do and has a nasty habit of screwing up your code if it doesn't like what you're doing.
I am a little puzzled. I almost use the same method. I don't use DreamWeaver but create clean HTML with a macro, but the rest is the same.

I don't find it a pain to edit the xhtml. In fact, Sigil does almost nothing to my code. Only when I switch views or give another windows the focus, Sigil will try to make sure the xhtml file is correct and proposes fixes to assure that. I never had it screwing up my code if the xhtml file was correct in the first place.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:47 AM   #14
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I suspect the difference might be whether you use Sigil in code mode or WYSIWYG mode. When people talk about using Sigil they need to be specific. The behavior Dillinquent offered sounds like WYSIWYG mode and what you describe is code mode.

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Old 08-23-2011, 04:42 PM   #15
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Yeah, that could be. I am almost always in codeview and only check the bookview every now and then.
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