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Old 11-30-2012, 11:38 PM   #1
Jim Chaffin
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Where are my raw files?

It appears that Sigil saves all work only as ePub data. Perhaps I'm very old school and I know I'm pretty dense but I find it extremely mystifying trying to use Sigil.

First, it crashed on me on about the 10th chapter! No problem, I've been saving manually for every one, I'll simply reopen all those 'chapter' files. Uhmn, where are they?! Nothing but '.epub' files on my drives. Why weren't the originals saved? They are simply text files, pure ASCII, probably.

Of course, the file(s) that were open when the crash occurred are none existent now, nothing left but an .epub that won't open. Lesson learned, I'm now saving copies via BBEdit!

OK, I start the process over completely. Fortunately, I used iBooks Publisher to create the first version so I already have an iBook, txt and PDF version to play with. I used the PDF to copy stuff into Sigil.

Now, I don't have time to finish this in one sitting. So I save it for the hundredth time and Quit Sigil. Now, even without a crash, there are still no files other than those needed for an ePub. Why not? OK, I'll try opening the ePub document just created in Sigil and see if that will get all my data, css, TOC, etc back for new editing.

Well, sorta. The list of 'chapter' files are displayed in the side panel and so is the TOC. But Sigil opened a new window with nothing but the standard template. Where is the menu that let's me view/edit any of the previous work?!

Perhaps it's some control/right-click command, the app seems to be ported from some COBOL mainframe...

Frankly, I don't see a reason to use Sigil over a read X?HTML editor like BBEdit or even TextWrangler. At least ones files would be safe in another format!

Do I sound frustrated/irritated or worse? That just may be because I am. I've never seen a less intuitive app for such a simple process. ePub building doesn't require C++!

I suppose there are tutorials somewhere but the only ones I've found just repeat the extreme basics. I've found absolutely nothing about actually using the app that would require more than a hours work.

I'd appreciate anyone having the time to answer my obviously super-simple questions.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:09 AM   #2
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EPUB is just a ZIP (with very specific rules) wrapper on the files.
You can have your Zip program UNZIP them (rezipping is tricky...those rules )
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Chaffin View Post
It appears that Sigil saves all work only as ePub data. Perhaps I'm very old school and I know I'm pretty dense but I find it extremely mystifying trying to use Sigil.

First, it crashed on me on about the 10th chapter! No problem, I've been saving manually for every one, I'll simply reopen all those 'chapter' files. Uhmn, where are they?! Nothing but '.epub' files on my drives. Why weren't the originals saved? They are simply text files, pure ASCII, probably.
Are you saying you were creating the html files in Sigil? You didn't have them created already? Sigil isn't like iBooks author--it's not really a drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG editor. It's an ePUB editor. It doesn't save in html, xhtml, xml, or any other format--it only saves ePUBs. Just as, with iBooks Author, you would drag-and-drop something from Pages, or a PDF that you already had on your Mac, so that if Author crashed, you'd still have the source files, the very same thing is true of Sigil. I don't think--I don't presume to speak for user_none--that anyone really thinks of it as a place to create html files.

I create all my xhtml files in a text editor, and then simply add them to Sigil as needed, using Sigil to create the final ePUB. I mean, that's the entire answer--Sigil only saves ePUBs, that's it. It doesn't save any html files separately. It saves them as part of the ePUB it's making. If you want to see the html files, you can either explode the ePUB, as Ducky told you, and view the html files that way, or obviously, within Sigil, or you can use ePUB_tweak to see them in their "native state," so to speak.

Quote:
Of course, the file(s) that were open when the crash occurred are none existent now, nothing left but an .epub that won't open. Lesson learned, I'm now saving copies via BBEdit!

OK, I start the process over completely. Fortunately, I used iBooks Publisher to create the first version so I already have an iBook, txt and PDF version to play with. I used the PDF to copy stuff into Sigil.
I won't speak to copying stuff from a PDF into an xhtml editor. PDF is positively the worst possible source material for an ePUB, although I suppose if you want to copy and paste a book paragraph by paragraph into code view, it could be done. Man, sounds laborious, though. If you already have an ePUB for iBooks, why not just copy THAT code and then clean it all up (and, hoy, will there be some cleaning!). It would still probably be faster than trying to copy and paste from a PDF, I'd think.

Quote:
Now, I don't have time to finish this in one sitting. So I save it for the hundredth time and Quit Sigil. Now, even without a crash, there are still no files other than those needed for an ePub. Why not? OK, I'll try opening the ePub document just created in Sigil and see if that will get all my data, css, TOC, etc back for new editing.

Well, sorta. The list of 'chapter' files are displayed in the side panel and so is the TOC. But Sigil opened a new window with nothing but the standard template. Where is the menu that let's me view/edit any of the previous work?!
Hmmm? What do you mean? I don't think I understand what you mean--you just OPEN the ePUB that you saved. Right click your ePUB, and click "open with...Sigil." That's it. There aren't any other files. They are all inside the zipped ePUB.

Quote:
Perhaps it's some control/right-click command, the app seems to be ported from some COBOL mainframe...

Frankly, I don't see a reason to use Sigil over a read X?HTML editor like BBEdit or even TextWrangler. At least ones files would be safe in another format!
Well, then, with all due respect, don't use it. If you're doing great with a "real" XHTML editor like BBEdit or TextWrangler--and I'm not being snarky--why use Sigil, indeed? It seems redundant. The files are safe. Maybe the part that is causing you frustration is that you seem to think that an ePUB is somehow extruded from source files--that an ePUB is created by these source files, separate and apart from them. It's not. The ePUB is the source files, and they should all be there. I can't speak to why you're having myriad crashes--I find it incredibly stable, and the latest release is rock-solid, AFAIK. Maybe it's a Mac thing, or, possibly, it's the paste-from-PDF, but I'm guessing. User_none or meme may be able to better answer, although, without any explanation as to what's happening around the crashes, I don't know what they'll be able to tell you.

Unlike most Mac programs, when you open Sigil, it opens a blank slate. It does not auto-magically open to whatever you were last working upon. You simply have to do the usual File-->Open and navigate in Finder to wherever you saved your file, OR, on the File dropdown, you should see the file you were working on. That's all.

Quote:
Do I sound frustrated/irritated or worse? That just may be because I am. I've never seen a less intuitive app for such a simple process. ePub building doesn't require C++!

I suppose there are tutorials somewhere but the only ones I've found just repeat the extreme basics. I've found absolutely nothing about actually using the app that would require more than a hours work.

I'd appreciate anyone having the time to answer my obviously super-simple questions.
Well, they certainly seem so, and I believe that the issue is that you just don't understand the very essentials of ePUB. As I said, Sigil isn't a program, like, say, Calibre, where you put stuff in one end of the sausage-making machine and something new and different pops out the other; you put your files into the software and that IS the ePUB. That's it. Think of Sigil like a Legos building. The building isn't created, and the legos that went into it left sitting in the box--the building IS the Legos. Same exact thing. You want to see the HTML or CSS files, whatever? Just open them IN Sigil, in Codeview. Or, if for whatever reason, that doesn't make you happy, explode the ePUB and view them with BBEdit. But really, there's no need. You just click CodeView in Sigil and look at the html there. I mean, you said that ePUB building is simple, in your post, so maybe you would be better off sticking with the programs you know, like BBEdit. I mean--hell, don't make it harder on yourself, right?

That's all I know to tell you. user_none or meme will have to address the crashing issues, particularly as I never work in BookView. Honestly, I can't imagine copy-and-pasting a PDF into Sigil, I really can't. I think you'd be better off using the HTML from the iBooks Author program.

HTH,
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Chaffin View Post
I'll simply reopen all those 'chapter' files. Uhmn, where are they?! Nothing but '.epub' files on my drives. Why weren't the originals saved? They are simply text files, pure ASCII, probably.
They are all inside the epub. Unzip the epub (or open it with Sigil) and you'll get your raw files inside. There's nothing arcane about that, an epub file is simply a bunch of text files (not necessarily ASCII, could be utf8 or utf16) zipped with a specific structure.

But Hitch's answer is much more complete, go back and read it if you have been intimidated by its length at first
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Chaffin View Post
It appears that Sigil saves all work only as ePub data. Perhaps I'm very old school and I know I'm pretty dense but I find it extremely mystifying trying to use Sigil.
Sounds like you've jumped right into using Sigil without reading through how its meant to be used. That's ok - I do that all the time. But as long as you're willing to read through some documentation it should become a lot clearer. And posting specific questions here is a great way to get help. It's a little hard to know where to start with your post, but I'll try to add a bit to what the others have already said.

Have you looked at the User Guide at all - just under Help? Or at any of the Tutorials? If there's something that's not clear enough, just let me know - I'm even re-doing the tutorials for 0.6.1 so they're getting updated anyway.

Quote:
First, it crashed on me on about the 10th chapter!
What version are you using, on what OS? As Hitch said, 0.6.0 has been rock solid with no reports of crashes that you're likely to have triggered.

Quote:
No problem, I've been saving manually for every one, I'll simply reopen all those 'chapter' files. Uhmn, where are they?! Nothing but '.epub' files on my drives. Why weren't the originals saved? They are simply text files, pure ASCII, probably.
Sigil is an EPUB Editor, not a text editor or an HTML editor. It saves .epub files - but an .epub file is just a zip of HTML files, images, etc. So your 'files' are in the epub. When Sigil is open - you can see the individual files on the left in the Book Browser.

Of course, Sigil lets you edit your HTML files, but it will save them in an EPUB - since that's what you want in the end, an EPUB not an HTML or text file. You aren't the first to find this a little confusing - but it'll make sense eventually.

And if you are pasting plain text copied from a text file or PDF, I recommend pasting it into Book View. If you paste it into Code View it'll be a mess because Code View is meant for valid HTML code.

Quote:
Of course, the file(s) that were open when the crash occurred are none existent now, nothing left but an .epub that won't open. Lesson learned, I'm now saving copies via BBEdit!
If the epub won't open, then something corrupted it. This is a bit odd if you've saved it since Sigil usually makes sure its a valid file when saving. If you still had a copy of it you could post here we could look at what went wrong. 0.6.1 will allow invalid EPUB files to be opened, but I don't think that will do you much good.

Quote:
OK, I start the process over completely. Fortunately, I used iBooks Publisher to create the first version so I already have an iBook, txt and PDF version to play with. I used the PDF to copy stuff into Sigil.
I can only agree with Hitch who's done this a lot more than me, that copying PDF is not great. Better to even start with the raw text and add the formatting you want after. Sigil is meant to clean up and format files you import from other software and turn them into EPUBs or better EPUBs - and its mostly used to import HTML or EPUB files - so loading your book into Sigil from your software is certainly the way to start. (Sure, you can create a book directly in Sigil - that's how the User Guide was done - but that's not very common).

Quote:
Now, I don't have time to finish this in one sitting. So I save it for the hundredth time and Quit Sigil. Now, even without a crash, there are still no files other than those needed for an ePub. Why not? OK, I'll try opening the ePub document just created in Sigil and see if that will get all my data, css, TOC, etc back for new editing.
There is only the EPUB file you saved, because that EPUB contains all your chapters, etc. Oh, and when doing lots of edits I recommend saving multiple copies just in case, as with any editor.

Quote:
Well, sorta. The list of 'chapter' files are displayed in the side panel and so is the TOC. But Sigil opened a new window with nothing but the standard template. Where is the menu that let's me view/edit any of the previous work?!
The File menu on the menu line has an Open entry, and a list of your recent files. And there is an Open button on the toolbar. This is pretty standard - are you missing something in your interface?

Quote:
I suppose there are tutorials somewhere but the only ones I've found just repeat the extreme basics. I've found absolutely nothing about actually using the app that would require more than a hours work.
It sounds like you need a basic tutorial though, to make sure its clear how its supposed to be used. What are you looking for in a tutorial - maybe I need to add a new one to the list.

Quote:
I'd appreciate anyone having the time to answer my obviously super-simple questions.
Glad you took the time to ask.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
They are all inside the epub. Unzip the epub (or open it with Sigil) and you'll get your raw files inside. There's nothing arcane about that, an epub file is simply a bunch of text files (not necessarily ASCII, could be utf8 or utf16) zipped with a specific structure.

But Hitch's answer is much more complete, go back and read it if you have been intimidated by its length at first
Too many years wrangling massive real estate development deals with thousands of pages of documents--I over-explain. Old adage: "tell 'em what you're gonna tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them." Unfortunately, in this day and age, that much exposition seems not to be popular. ;-)

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Old 12-01-2012, 05:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jim Chaffin View Post
Now, I don't have time to finish this in one sitting. So I save it for the hundredth time and Quit Sigil. Now, even without a crash, there are still no files other than those needed for an ePub. Why not? OK, I'll try opening the ePub document just created in Sigil and see if that will get all my data, css, TOC, etc back for new editing.

Well, sorta. The list of 'chapter' files are displayed in the side panel and so is the TOC. But Sigil opened a new window with nothing but the standard template. Where is the menu that let's me view/edit any of the previous work?!
If you see the files in the Book Browser part of Sigil, you can open them for editing/viewing by double clicking on them. They will then be opened in the edit area in the middle.

@Sigil-Team: maybe the right-click popup menu for files in the Book Browser could get an additional entry like 'edit' or 'view' to make this easier to people not used to double clicking?
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:30 AM   #8
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I suspect meme hit on most of his frustration:
And if you are pasting plain text copied from a text file or PDF, I recommend pasting it into Book View. If you paste it into Code View it'll be a mess because Code View is meant for valid HTML code.

And because it is not valid HTML it will not let you save it.

But I don't know what you can do about that. Even if you will be able to save non-valid HTML in the next update, someone who pasted junk into the HTML window isn't going to be able to do much with it.

It is sleek and very functional tool right now that never has problems unless I mix up the change case and the h4 buttons (operator headspace).

The best way to approach using Sigil for the first time is to start with something small and not essential: kick the tires, rev the engine and push all the buttons, right click everywhere and see what happens.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:59 PM   #9
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First, a big thanks to all who have responded so graciously and most importantly, respectfully! I see so many forums where noobs are castigated/embarrassed/etc. Perhaps some of those noobs deserve some of it, just as I did with my rant!

Second, a big apology for my rude, snarky, angry post. I really should have 'slept on it' for a few hours.

Fourthly, I'm not too good at math!

OK, the crash was my first with Sigil. Computers (even a Mac) can do that, usually at the worst times! Auto-saving is one way to negate the damage that usually causes.

Quote:
It sounds like you need a basic tutorial though
Guilty as charged! "But I've been using Word for years! Why would I need to read anything about Photoshop?!" LOL! Actually, I have done quite a bit of web site creation (no awards, yet, but... ), so I tend to look at ePubs as just a sub-set of X/HTML. And I suspect it has many of the same "What you type may NOT be what you see" in different ereaders just as different browsers (especially those that tried to create their own "standards") don't always do things the same way.

Perhaps the most important information from your answers is to explain the very basic definition of an ePub file! That completely explains Sigil's behavior and file display. I will swear that I tried double-clicking on the files displayed in the Book Browser without getting one to appear in the Code View. Of course, now things work that way. My only explanation is that, somehow, while the machine was turned OFF last night, at least one of you "guys" broke into it and changed the code in Sigil! Well, it's slightly possible that I didn't actually do the double-clicking' part... but that wood bee meye furst mizteake uv thu yeer!!! So it must be you guys...

Now that I understand the function of Sigil better, I can see how it can be more useful. You are correct, it's not the best HTML editor but it's more than sufficient and it even has color-coding to help one see common errors. And the parser does a pretty good job of pointing out where an error might be. So far, I've taken the warning that the "Automatic" correction might send all your work into the bit box of Heaven as an incentive to make the corrections myself!

Thanks, again, for your kind and respectful help!
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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Copying and pasting from a PDF to the Code View, is not too terribly difficult, IMHO. First, the PDF displayed the format I was aiming for. But I had prepared for the transition by making several images for things like the unusual fonts I'd used for the title and subtitle/author name, the graphics used to set off the title and that were used between the "Chapter X" text and the chapter title, etc.

Secondly, while iBook Author is very good, especially for anyone who has used Pages, it is made to output an ePub in a specific 'bundle' mainly for the Apple Store/Reader. (and Calibre didn't like the wrapper, so it wasn't suitable for other formats). Like Sigil, it doesn't save the raw data for transferring that to another 'authoring' app. And you don't even get to see that raw data the way Sigil allows in Code View.

While BBEdit truly is a better text editor, I haven't even investigated trying to display the source code in its built-in 'browser.' And I doubt it would too accurate. But I must also admit that I have not even looked at the Sigil 'preview' section, either! Frankly, I was too wrapped up in just getting the 90+ pages entered!

And correcting the copied paragraphs was pretty simple, since I had the PDF viewer open. It was mainly a matter of pasting in the "</p>\r<p>" in at the end of one paragraph and the beginning of the next. Somewhat tedious, but not mind blowing. Of course, at my age, I might not notice too many brain 'explosions!'
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:20 PM   #11
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One more point. This project seems to be growing! It started simply as a gift to a friend who was sending sporadic stories in emails to several friends. He's a good writer and I fear our support and encouragement is creating a 'monster' faster than I can 'tame' it! :laughhard:
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:06 PM   #12
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Found a nice touch! The Find function remembers items even after Quitting the app. Ran several hours, with only on Quit and Restarting the app. Nice and stable, no crashes. Also now have a complete copy (including image files) in DropBox, duplicates of the .epub on the HD and complete backups of the css, html, ncx and opf files via BBEdit. (not to mention the TimeMachine hourlies!)

Thanks, again for the help and explanations.
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