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Old 08-08-2012, 01:20 PM   #1
ibn opcit
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phantom indents in poetry

Hi,

I am converting some poetry books to epub and kf8/mobi. To achieve backwards-compatible indentation behavior, I am using Joshua Tallent's techniques, described here.

My question is about a special case of poetry indentation, where a line is indented according to the space taken by the previous line. The attached image gives the idea.

It is important that the indentation be font-independent, so that the alignment survives under a change of font.

In latex (in the memoir class), this kind of indent can be achieved using
Code:
\vinphantom{this will insert whitespace which is exactly the width of this text}
On newer e-readers, this kind of indent can be achieved using
Code:
span.hemistich {
    visibility: hidden;
}
... in the css, then something like ...
Code:
<p class="poemline">At a four-way stop the minivan guns it,</p>
<p class="poemline"><span class="hemistich">At a four-way stop the minivan guns it,</span>--the girl's hair</p>
I am looking for a version of this technique that degrades gracefully on older devices that do not support the visibility property. It's okay if the indent doesn't work perfectly on older devices, but you get the grand prize if it does.

Ideas?
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:14 PM   #2
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I'm not going to win any prizes here.

But, just in case there's anything useful in these two articles, here are two links.

http://epubsecrets.com/formatting-po...pub-part-1.php

http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/20...poetry-on.html

There's probably nothing there as you seem to be pretty expert already and just want to achieve something very specific. So...

I hand you back to the MR experts.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:50 AM   #3
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The problem is not exactly with "older" devices, but with the fact the visibility property is not supported by the ePub 2.01 specification, so any device could not support it and still be ePub-compliant. On the other hand, mobi does not support CSS at all, new or old, and it has no equivalent for visibility as far as I know.

You could try to force the invisibility by using:

Code:
visibility: hidden;
color: white;
opacity: 0;
But opacity is a CSS3 property that's not in ePub 2.01 either, or in ePub 3, I believe. Using a white color for the text will only work if the background is white, something you can't guarantee unless you force it (and that's not nice). Unfortunately "transparent" can only be used with background color, not with text.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:44 AM   #4
ibn opcit
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@44reader, thanks, I might wind up trying to contact those bloggers directly to see if they've ever done anything like this.

@Jellby, ok, so it looks like I'm up against the spec more than the devices. I've had limited success with white text, but when it fails the failure mode is pretty bad (the spacer text shows up!).
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