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Old 09-29-2011, 01:14 PM   #1
RoyInVegas
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Text editing in calibre/Sigil

Here's what I hope to accomplish, here's how I've gone about it so far, and here are the problems I've faced.

1) HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH
I have a JPEG cover and the full text for my novel The Hungarian Game (an international best-selling espionage thriller some 38 years ago), which I want to convert to an eBook. There are a few, very simple bits of formatting criteria that must be applied to the text. First: That almost all paragraphs throughout have their first lines indented, and there is no extra leading between paragraphs. Then: On just a few select paragraphs throughout, I need that extra line of leading - and a flush left first line - to indicate a fresh scene.

2) HOW I'VE GONE ABOUT THIS
I've opened the RTF text in Open Office and saved as an Open Office (*.ODT) file. This seems to be the preferred format for the two eBook converters that I've used.
Although I first tried a program called "Jutoh" to make the conversion, Jutoh seems to be in the pre-beta-testing development stage, and there's no finished manual for it. I was able to communicate with the program's developer, but after a few weeks of futile attempts I erased the whole mess from my computer and wrote off the cost of the program.
Now I'm trying the combination of calibre and Sigil.
Although calibre quickly and easily imported the cover and ODT text, and exported into *mobi and *.epub formats, the text wasn't what I wanted. Despite that I properly formatted the text in Open Office, and that the formatting showed in the resulting *.odt file, calibre would export the file to *epub/*mobi either with all text using inter-paragraph leading, or with all text showing per-paragraph indents but none of the inter-paragraph leading that was in the original.

3) PROBLEMS
I'm accustomed to using Adobe products - GoLive (web authoring), InDesign (desktop publishing), Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat Professional. In each of these programs text editing is really quite easy. In GoLive in particular I've never had a problem re-writing the raw HTML code.
With calibre, however, when I highlight the appropriate Title, click on "Edit metadata" and choose "Edit medadata individually," the book cover appears - but there's no text field! The calibre manual suggests that I can edit the Cascading Style Sheets and specific HTML code for the text, but I don't see how this can be done without the text. Hello?
After banging my head against the monitor for an hour or two, I threw in the towel and did what calibre's manual suggested: I exported the results as an ePub and opened the ePub in Sigil for text editing.
But, though I can see both cover and text of the resulting ePub in a viewer, in Sigil I see only the cover. As in calibre, no text! And no indication of how to view text in Sigil's manual.
Wonderful!

Does anyone have an idea of how I can view/format text in either calibre or Sigil?
Alternatively, does anyone know of a reliable, fully-tested (post-beta and de-bugged) commercial ePub editor/converter that has a complete PDF manual - and the professional attributes of Adobe programs - and will let me view, edit, and format text prior to conversion? My finished output will be in *.mobi format for Kindle publication.

Thanks
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:38 PM   #2
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Calibre is not an editing tool - it is intended as an ebook library magement tool, and it provides conversion capability between different formats. It will allow you edit things like metadata associated with books, but not the actual text of books.

As to why you cannot see any text in Sigil, I have no idea. it has always worked fine for me. The ability to work in WYSWIG mode for most editing, and then switching to Code view (HTML mode) for fine tuning should give you all the control that you want. Are you perhaps only looking at the first HTML file in the Epub (an ePub book is always split into multiple HTML files as most reader devices cannot handle large ones), and that is why you are not seeing the text?

If you have Sigil specific questions they are probably best asked in the Sigil forum here on Mobileread.

Last edited by itimpi; 09-29-2011 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:09 PM   #3
RoyInVegas
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A million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I had a lot of that stuff on my head (hair, do they call it?) I joined the Valley Computer Club to learn how to build and program computers.

Back then, "hacking" was not a pejorative. It was what you did ... in order to find a non-standard solution to some knotty (no, that's not "naughty!") problem. Like re-writing your on-disk CP/M BIOS in raw hex, because you couldn't write Assembly Language. Or using a paper punch to put a notch on the other side of your 5-1/4" floppy so you could read and write on both sides of it.

So, what I did, I started hacking at Sigil and found the answer to my question. ("What is the answer?" Gertrude Stein's next-to-last words. No one at her bedside could respond. "Well, what is the question?" Gertrude Stein's last words.)

What you do is this:

Once the file is loaded in Sigil, click on View and select "Book Browser." (Alternatively, do an Alt-F1 - which is not, I hasten to add, the smaller version of Formula-One, previously referred to as "Formula Atlantic" ... back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I . . . etc etc etc) This shows the text.

Now that I'm in the text mode, I imagine I can hack my way into the editing process.

Also, I'm going to return to Open Office and see if perhaps I can force code there, so there's less HTML and CSS hacking to do.

Thanks for your response, though, Itimpi.

rh
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyInVegas View Post
Here's what I hope to accomplish, here's how I've gone about it so far, and here are the problems I've faced.

1) HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH
I have a JPEG cover and the full text for my novel The Hungarian Game (an international best-selling espionage thriller some 38 years ago), which I want to convert to an eBook. There are a few, very simple bits of formatting criteria that must be applied to the text. First: That almost all paragraphs throughout have their first lines indented, and there is no extra leading between paragraphs. Then: On just a few select paragraphs throughout, I need that extra line of leading - and a flush left first line - to indicate a fresh scene.
As itimpi posted, Calibre isn't designed to edit the content. It will allow some minor editing as a byproduct of its conversion capabilities. You can convert from an original format to the same format to do this. You can search and replace and you can add CSS, but I'd recommend using Sigil for what you want.

Quote:
With calibre, however, when I highlight the appropriate Title, click on "Edit metadata" and choose "Edit medadata individually," the book cover appears - but there's no text field!
There is a text field there. It's the comments field. If you are looking to find the book content, you won't find it here. This metadata applies to all book formats for this record.

Quote:
The calibre manual suggests that I can edit the Cascading Style Sheets and specific HTML code for the text, but I don't see how this can be done without the text. Hello?
You do this in the format conversion dialog, not in edit metadata. You can also do this in the ebook viewer, but the CSS only applies while reading in the viewer.

Quote:
After banging my head against the monitor for an hour or two, I threw in the towel and did what calibre's manual suggested: I exported the results as an ePub and opened the ePub in Sigil for text editing.
But, though I can see both cover and text of the resulting ePub in a viewer, in Sigil I see only the cover. As in calibre, no text! And no indication of how to view text in Sigil's manual.
Wonderful!
I have seen this occasionally, but you really need to ask for help in the Sigil forum. They can explain how to work around the problem, which relates to your specific ePub.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:55 PM   #5
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you could just add the RTF to calibre, convert it to epub in calibre, then (via the open with... calibre plug-in ) open the book for editing in sigil.

if the text is how you like it in rtf, then calibre will mostly preserve that in the epub conversion.

you can view ( = read only) the epub in either calibre viewer, or by installing & using (free) Adobe Digital Editions, in order to check that it looks right and that text reflows Ok when you change window size.

it may all seem daunting at first, but its actually nowhere near as hard as hacking CP/M, assembler etc.

lots of help and good advice available on sigil forum also.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:56 PM   #6
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There's an ePub output plugin for OO Writer called Writer2ePub. Also, I believe one (some?) Adobe product is able to save ePubs, although I can't remember which one. Since you seem accustomed to those programs, it may be a better choice to use them instead of learning a whole new program.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:08 PM   #7
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adobe indesign
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/indesign...160F6C65a.html
if you have £350+ to spare.

otherwise
SIGIL for £ zero i.e. for free

or
work in MS office or open office, save in a format that calibre can convert (e.g. RTF, Filtered HTML ) , convert + use sigil just for fine tuning.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
adobe indesign
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/indesign...160F6C65a.html
if you have £350+ to spare.
He did mention having experience with Adobe products, so it's reasonable to assume he has (access to) at least some of those products.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:16 PM   #9
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Roy; there was a post in another forum here that might be of interest

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snooty Baronet View Post
The science fiction author Rudy Rucker has just posted a useful, basic guide to creating epubs using common software:

http://www.rudyrucker.com/blog/2011/...ur-own-ebooks/

Rudy uses Adobe Dreamweaver to filter Word crap from his (already) filtered HTML files. Is there a free HTML editor that does something similar?
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:17 AM   #10
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you can remove a lot of irrelevant Word crap with sigil. it's colour coded(green) in code view & you can zap multiple lines at once with find/replace.

there is not ( yet) any totally automated solution though
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:00 AM   #11
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I should have added this ... "WILL HACK FOR FOOD"

Guys, thanks for all the advice, but it's really after the fact. I've been hacking since 1978, when I joined the Valley Computer Club to learn how to build and program computers. My first hack was to rewrite the CP/M BIOS for my hand-made S-100 computer. Wrote it in raw hex, because I didn't speak Assembly Language.

It was easy to hack a solution to my problem, once I figured out how to view the text and code in Sigil

Actually, calibre and Sigil are no problem at all, now I've got the knack of them. Sigil especially, per its CSS Library. I've hacked into it, and am able to rebuild and modify the Library with ease, then reset CSS formatting criteria of The Hungarian Game in raw XHTML within the Sigil text.

The hack is this:

Look at the CSS Library for your ePub doc in Sigil.

Ctl-A highlight the entire Cascading Style Sheet.

Ctl-C copy it.

Open a new Wordpad doc.

Ctl-V paste the CSS into the Wordpad doc.

Do a Ctl-H global search-and-replace of items that need fixing. Add new code as needed. (Optional: Save the Wordpad CSS doc as a *.txt - ie raw ASCII - file for future reference and/or use.) Ctl-A highlight the Wordpad CSS doc.

Go back to Sigil and Ctl-V the new CSS Library into your ePub doc.

Et voila! A new and usable CSS Library.

Am currently proofing the OCR-scanned Hungarian and exporting it from InDesign in RTF format, in order to load in Open Office for conversion to an ODT file, then importing into calibre for conversion to ePub format, and then refining in Sigil. Thence a re-load into calibre for exporting in Mobi format.

A shame, really, that there's not one single software program that offers all this work in a single package - going directly from the scanned text to simple editing to multiple eReader output. The jumping back and forth isn't difficult, but heaven knows it's boring. (I tried Jutoh for this, but the program is still in the development stages and there's no finished, entirely helpful manual. Someday perhaps Jutoh will be viable, now it's embryonic.)

I'm also playing around a bit with Open Office. It may be that an Open Office CSS Library can be structured and hacked into as well. I'm thinking that a series of formatting criteria can be set in Open Office (a laundry list of words describing each format, followed by the format order itself), then transformed into an ePub doc via calibre and opened as ePub in Sigil. Then I'd only have to hack into the Sigil CSS Library that's embedded in the laundry list, in order to see the entire range of resulting code - a Master Library that can be used to adjust every other bit of Open Office and Sigil material.

By the bye ... first thing I learned at the Valley Computer Club was this:
"If it works it's obsolete."

A good thing to remember.
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyInVegas View Post
The hack is this:
That looked like you were just changing the CSS file for the EPUB. Sigil was designed to permit that, and I do it often, so I wouldn't consider it to be a "hack," unless I'm missing something?
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:33 AM   #13
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That looked like you were just changing the CSS file for the EPUB. Sigil was designed to permit that, and I do it often, so I wouldn't consider it to be a "hack," unless I'm missing something?
Gotta agree with you.

A 'hack' is tricking a program into doing something it was not designed to do
OR
Not doing something is was not supposed to do, but does
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:55 AM   #14
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WILL HACK EVEN MORE FOR FOOD

Of course, the most basic of hacks steps back two paces from writing raw code in hex.

Prior to hex there was octal. Prior to octal there was this:

"There are exactly 10 kinds of people in the world."










"Those who know binary and those who don't."
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
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"There are exactly 10 kinds of people in the world."
There are three members in the set of "10 kinds of people." You left out of the set those who know ternary but aren't sure if they know binary or not.
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