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Old 01-12-2013, 06:04 PM   #1
dgatwood
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Drop cap bug on Paperwhite

For some unknown reason, my drop caps are rendered completely wrong on exactly one device: Kindle Paperwhite. Or at least they're wrong in the previewer. It would be great if someone who owns an actual Paperwhite could download the test sample linked at the bottom of this post and confirm whether this problem occurs on the actual device.

My drop caps work fine in other readers (Nook and multiple other ADE-based readers, iBooks, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, etc.), but Paperwhite reliably renders them way too low and renders the box too tall (so that too many lines are indented).


They should look look like this:




But on Paperwhite, even with Publisher Font enabled, they look like this:




I have drop caps defined like this:

Code:
.dropcap
{ 
        letter-spacing:0;
        text-transform:uppercase;
        font-family: "Telegraph Hill", Didot, "GFS Didot",
                "New Century Schoolbook", "Century Schoolbook",
                "Bookman Old Style", Bookman, serif;

        font-size:4.8em;
        display: inline-block;
        position: static;
        float:left;
        border: 0;
        /* Margins are set on a per-character basis. */
        /* margin: 0; */
        padding: 0;
        line-height: 1.2;
        height: .75em;
}
Or, alternatively, like this:

Code:
    .chapterdropcap
    {
        letter-spacing:0;
        text-transform:uppercase;
            font-family: "Telegraph Hill", Didot, "GFS Didot",
                    "New Century Schoolbook", "Century Schoolbook",
                    "Bookman Old Style", Bookman, Serif;
        font-size:4.8em;
        display: block;
        float: left;
        line-height: 120%;
        height: 0.75em;
    }
With HTML that looks like this:

Code:
<p class="kindlefirst"><span class="dropcap chapterdropcap" style="margin: -0.235714285714286em 0em 0 -0.00428571428571429em;">T</span><!--font size="2"--><span class="smallcap">he</span>*musty air stung their noses as they walked through the abandoned ship, its uninviting halls dark and cold, but there was air.  There was definitely air, and that alone was an improvement.<!--/font--></p>


Does anybody see anything obviously wrong here, or is Paperwhite just massively broken?

You can download a test sample here: kindle_dropcap_sample.mobi
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:18 AM   #2
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"text-transform" and "display: inline-block" are not supported by the ePub spec, but maybe they are by the Kindle, and they probably are unrelated to your problem ("position" is also not in the list of supported CSS properties, but it's mentioned in several places in the spec).
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:27 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, I cannot help you with your problem, but I wanted to let you know that your .mobi file looked different on my old K3 with KF8 support.
Whatever solution you come up with, you may want to also test it with other eInk Kindles, because it seems that the PW has a different rendering engine.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
"text-transform" and "display: inline-block" are not supported by the ePub spec, but maybe they are by the Kindle, and they probably are unrelated to your problem ("position" is also not in the list of supported CSS properties, but it's mentioned in several places in the spec).
Since it's all uppercase, text-transform is a no-op anyway.

One of the two drop cap styles uses block and the other uses inline-block, so that's also a non-issue.

The position property most certainly is in the EPUB spec. It says "Use of the CSS position property values to achieve absolute positioning (i.e. absolute and fixed) is strongly discouraged."

Note that position: static is the default, so this should always be a no-op. I inserted it just in case there was something screwy going on.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
Unfortunately, I cannot help you with your problem, but I wanted to let you know that your .mobi file looked different on my old K3 with KF8 support.
Whatever solution you come up with, you may want to also test it with other eInk Kindles, because it seems that the PW has a different rendering engine.
AFAIK, everyone's drop caps are known to be broken on K3, so my inclination is to pretend K3 doesn't exist until Amazon fixes it.

That said, I would be curious how it looks with Publisher Fonts enabled.

Last edited by dgatwood; 01-15-2013 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:14 PM   #6
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Like chasin' your own tail, man. Get it in the ball-park, then shake it off and move on. Too many devices with too many different renderers to make 'em all sing the same song on key at the same time.

Why do you have so many fallback fonts in your font-family declarations if you're embedding all the fonts anyway?

Your sample mobi looks the same on the Kindle Fire as your screen-shot from the Paperwhite, BTW.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 01-15-2013 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgatwood View Post
The position property most certainly is in the EPUB spec. It says "Use of the CSS position property values to achieve absolute positioning (i.e. absolute and fixed) is strongly discouraged."
Yes, but it's not in The List. That's what I meant, there are references to it, but it doesn't appear in the list of supported properties, which is probably a bug.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:02 PM   #8
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I finally came up with a solution to this problem. The problem is caused by some Kindle variants ignoring the "height: .75em" property. To fix this, I had to use two separate boxes—one box outside the linear flow to hold the drop cap glyph itself, and a second box to push the text over to the side.

To add a bit more pain, on Kindle for iOS, the stylesheet's line-height property on the drop-cap glyph is ignored even when marked !important. The same value works as expected when added to the element's style declaration—a messy workaround, but functional.

The result is drop cap code that is unholy, but the result looks good everywhere. Of course, it looks particularly nice if you view it on Chrome Canary with experimental web features enabled. With a bit of luck, Kindle readers will eventually grow into the more advanced markup, so to speak.

(Note that the code would probably be a bit simpler if the padding were after the drop cap glyph instead of before it, but because of the way my translator code was designed, it was easier to insert extra markup at the drop cap's open tag rather than after its close tag.)


Code:
@media not amzn-mobi {
    .chapterdropcap
    { 
        letter-spacing:0 !important;
        text-transform:uppercase !important;
        font-family: "Telegraph Hill", "DG Didot",
                "New Century Schoolbook", "Century Schoolbook",
                "Bookman Old Style", Bookman, serif !important;

        font-size:4.8em !important;
        display: block !important;
        position: absolute !important;
        clear:both !important;
        float:left !important;
        padding: 0 !important;
        line-height: 1.2 !important;
    } 
    .chapterdropcapanchor {
        height: 1px;
        width: 1px;
        position: relative !important;
        border: 0 none !important;
        margin: 0 !important;
        padding: 0 !important;
    }
    .chapterdropcappad {
        float: left !important;
        display: block !important;
        position: relative !important;
        height: 3.9em !important;
    }
}
@media  amzn-mobi {
    .chapterdropcappad {
        display: none;
    }
    .chapterdropcapanchor {
        display: none;
    }
}

p.kindlefirst em span.dropcap {
        padding-right: 10px;
}

And the HTML:

Code:
<p class="kindlefirst">

    <span class="chapterdropcappad" style="width: 2.8032em; margin: -1em 0.192em 0 -0.16em; shape-outside: polygon(0% 0%, 0% 100%, 100% 100%, 100% 75%, 50% 75%, 50% 0%);"></span>

    <span class="chapterdropcapanchor" >
        <span class="dropcap chapterdropcap" style="line-height: 1.2 !important; margin: -0.208333333333333em 0.04em 0 -0.617333333333333em; shape-outside: polygon(0% 0%, 0% 100%, 100% 100%, 100% 75%, 50% 75%, 50% 0%);">L</span>
    </span>

    <span class="smallcap">aura</span>*collapsed on the sofa as ...
</p>
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:18 AM   #9
KarlB
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I find the following works okay on the PW (in Previewer) and on pretty much everything else that can support drop caps:

Code:
span.dropCapMarnie{
	font-size: 3em; 
	float: left;
	font-family: "Marnie Regular", serif; 
	margin: -0.1em 0.4em -0.2em 0.1em;
	}
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Old 04-06-2014, 03:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlB View Post
I find the following works okay on the PW (in Previewer) and on pretty much everything else that can support drop caps:
Your style (using font substitution because I don't have that font) seems to indent three lines of content. If you don't mind the third line being indented, that's relatively easy; even Paperwhite does the right thing there.

My goal was to *not* indent that third line. I designed a custom drop cap font with essentially no descenders in any of the uppercase glyphs so that they sit on the baseline of the second line and can allow the third line to safely flow right below the drop cap glyph. The part that causes problems for Paperwhite is setting the height to less than the line height, so that the descender and line gap aren't considered.

I suppose I could alter the font's metrics to show a zero descender and a zero line gap. I'm not sure what problems that would cause, but it might work....
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:44 PM   #11
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How many lines are indented should vary depending on the font-size you set the drop cap to. But you're probably right that this CSS won't quite work on a PW with your particular font.

"Marnie," for those wondering, is the font (or a close match to the font) used for a decorative raised cap (though not a drop cap, AFAIK) in many of Amazon's advertising images. So if you want to make your book look just like a Kindle ad...

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Old 04-10-2014, 05:14 AM   #12
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Please don't indent initial paragraphs - it looks horrible!
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