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Old 11-13-2012, 10:46 AM   #1
GraciousMe
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Question Comparison Sigil/ Indesign

How would you compare Indesign with Sigil as epub-editors?
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:48 AM   #2
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I was not aware that Indesign could edit epubs. We use CS4 in house. Is this something new (Newer than CS4, that is)?
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:45 PM   #3
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Sigil is a program specifically designed to create/modify ePubs. InDesign is desktop publishing software that has an option to export to the ePub format. There's no real comparison to be made.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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And if you DO decide to design in InDesign and attempt to use its direct-to-epub or direct-to-mobi function, make sure you have only used a very simple subset of InDesign's layout options. Otherwise you'll get VERY messy, bloated code (or a crash).

Epub is still basically about pouring text into a container - and you don't get to choose the text size, font or size of the container. Accept this, you will make happy, readable, portable ebooks. Try to fool ebook formats into doing more than their capabilities, you'll go mad.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exaltedwombat View Post
And if you DO decide to design in InDesign and attempt to use its direct-to-epub or direct-to-mobi function, make sure you have only used a very simple subset of InDesign's layout options. Otherwise you'll get VERY messy, bloated code (or a crash).
Elizabeth Castro's book EPUB Straight to the Point has lots of good information about making epubs from Indesign documents.

But IMHO one still needs to use Sigil to tweak the Indesign-exported epub.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:23 AM   #6
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There is also a training video at video2brain from Rufus Deuchler what shows some workflows with indesign. If I remember well it was based on version 5 or 5.5.

But, as st_albert wrote, you need something Sigil in addition for a good workflow and results.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by st_albert View Post
But IMHO one still needs to use Sigil to tweak the Indesign-exported epub.
Yes, absolutely. In our workflow (small commercial publisher) we use indesign as a starting point because our pbooks are made with it, but you need some tweaking in Sigil. We also use Calibre for storage and for embedding metadata. We use CS5.5, but a similar workflow worked well in CS4. I'll just throw out some tips based on my experience:

Keep your book as a single long story in Indesign, and split in Sigil. The Book functionality in Indesign with separate docs for each chapter is a huge mess. Make page breaks a separate paragraph containing only a page break with its own para style in Indesign, search & replace in Sigil to make chapter breaks and then split based on those.

We keep an indesign template with appropriate epub styles, and restyle each book based on that. Make sure that headings are properly tagged in indesign (set export tags to Hx in the style). Generate a TOC in Sigil, this is better than embedding a TOC from indesign.

For images we get best results if we add them inline in their own paragraphs, with bylines in a separate paragraph beneath.

Indesign messes up the fonts if you choose to embed them, in Sigil you can remove obfuscation and replace the font files. You miss out on subsetting, but all ligatures and glyphs are guaranteed to be there.

We use Calibre and the plugin Modify Epub for embedding cover+metadata.

Finally, the CSS generated by Indesign contains some insanely stupid design decisions, for instance they hardcode character colour (messes up night mode and other "themes" with dark backgrounds on some devices) and specify font sizes in pt (or px, anyway it's a fixed size). You're better off making your own CSS and replace the stylesheet in Sigil with that. Use relative units like em for text that should differ in size. The only thing we keep from the Indesign CSS is font-face declarations if applicable.

After this process our "Indesign" epubs turn out very nice indeed

If you add semantics->Text at the start of your main text, and generate an HTML TOC which you place at the end of the book, you can also use this epub to generate a mobi with KindlePreview, we've had acceptable results with that.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions about this process, the above tips stem from years and years of adventures with Indesign-created epubs.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:41 PM   #8
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Very interesting, Man Eating Duck.

Our situation and workflow is very similar to yours, apparently. Except, we're still using CS4, so I have to manually change the chapter header styles from <p to <hx ( and insert sigil_split_markers at the same time).

CS4 stylesheets do give measurements in em's, so that's not a problem (but color is). We use standardized style names across the print and ebook versions, so it almost matches up automatically (modulo things like dropcaps etc.).

I just deal with the cover image and metadata directly in Sigil. Specific metatdata is supplied by the publisher in a separate text file, and I copy and paste into content.opf directly. Calibre sometimes adds things I don't want (or used to) so I stay away from it for commercial projects.

We deal with images and embedded fonts the same way you do.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st_albert View Post
Except, we're still using CS4, so I have to manually change the chapter header styles from <p to <hx ( and insert sigil_split_markers at the same time).
Headings really should be h-tags, as they have semantic meaning in addition to formatting. We create academic books which usually have three or more heading levels , so this might be more important to us than for a straight novel.

I would eliminate as much manual fiddling as possible, have a look at the new saved search features in Sigil. This way you can keep the indesign file as a master document and quickly generate a new epub if there are small corrections in the text, I currently use about two minutes to create a finished epub from the indesign source.

This might be basic, but in Sigil: In Tools -> Saved searches, create a new search group, add your custom searches. After testing you can run them all in one go. I would suggest something like this for headings (untested):

Find: (?sU)<p class="heading2">(.*)</p>
Replace: <h2 class="heading2">\1</h2>

Page breaks:
Find: (?sU)<p class="pagebreak">(.*)</p>
Replace: <hr class="sigil_split_marker" />

For headings which should have a page break before them you can just prepend the split marker to your replacement text.

I have also written a small script which might be useful to you. It replaces existing fonts in the epub with healthy ones, removes encryption.xml and adds the file necessary to make iBooks use the fonts. If you're interested I can post it when I get back to work. Anything to save a few clicks when you're repeating a task numerous times
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:34 PM   #10
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I use InDesign CS6 to create ePUBS. I find the conversion to be much improved over previous versions. My only gripe is that footnotes are automatically placed at the end of every chapter instead of at the end of an entire document.

Afterwards, I use a standard HTML editor (in my case, Espresso) to touch up the CSS. I've always found Sigil to be unstable and buggy, and am not particularly impressed by its features.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:15 PM   #11
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Eating Duck View Post
Headings really should be h-tags, as they have semantic meaning in addition to formatting. We create academic books which usually have three or more heading levels , so this might be more important to us than for a straight novel.
I agree! To be clear, CS5 and up allows one to define the HTML tags to be used for a given style upon export to epub. CS4 does not allow this; the styles get exported as <p class="whatever> blocks. But it's easy to change them to <h tags in Sigil. That's what I meant above.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by holymadness View Post
I use InDesign CS6 to create ePUBS. I find the conversion to be much improved over previous versions. My only gripe is that footnotes are automatically placed at the end of every chapter instead of at the end of an entire document.

Afterwards, I use a standard HTML editor (in my case, Espresso) to touch up the CSS. I've always found Sigil to be unstable and buggy, and am not particularly impressed by its features.
Foot notes: bottom of the page (file/chapter in HTML)
End notes: At the End of the book
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:17 PM   #14
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Foot notes: bottom of the page (file/chapter in HTML)
End notes: At the End of the book
I'm aware of the distinction. AFAIK there is no way to automatically create endnotes in an InDesign-generated Epub. If you know of one, I'd be very grateful to learn it.
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