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Old 05-05-2013, 05:05 AM   #16
Hitch
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Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
I suggest our wiki to find out what ePub is. If something isn't clear we can fix it. Why run off to never never land when the expertise is here.

Dale
And I suggest...what's the question, exactly? There are tons of resources out there for anyone who wants to learn how to code ePUBs. First and foremost, someone has to know that a thing such as an "EPUB" exists, and then, for whatever reason, want to make one. If they are genuinely interested, they can shell out under $10 to read Liz Castro's quite excellent "ePUB: Straight to the Point" and learn almost everything that they need to know, fundamentally, about ePUB (and can ignore nearly half of it dealing with InDesign). When they are done with that, they can come here, or to JediSaber's, to get more information about ePUB. Then they can download ePUBs made here, or any of who-knows-how-many ePUBs at PG, and see what they contain.

Curiously enough, there's a brand new "how to make ePUBs with Sigil" book for sale on the Kindle store, by a "Huey Tsen," which is a mere $3.99 ($10.99 in print). This "book" seems to tip the scales at about 30 pages, +/-, and obviously, you can point someone there if Liz's book is too bothersome for them to read all the way through.

OR they can take classes at Lynda.com. OR they can go to work for someone, learning to clean html first, and then make ePUBs. OR, they can just use a push-button interface like Jutoh.

This is, to my mind, simply reinventing the wheel. Anyone who has gotten far enough in their education/curiosity to even know an ePUB exists can find innumerable resources for making them, ranging from Calibre to Jutoh to Sigil to Scrivener to making them by hand. Hopefully, before that, they actually bother to learn some HTML and CSS, although that seems increasingly rare.

People can do what they've always done--learn that it exists, decide to learn it, do what I did (buy Liz's book and then download ePUBs here made by Jellby, particularly), open the latter up against the former and learn by doing. Maybe you feel like you wanted something different when you came here, but you, too, could have purchased the Castro book and had 99% of your questions answered before you ever came in here asking how to shortcut making an ePUB with "bells and whistles without learning HTML or CSS."

Making ePUBs is already quite simple, if someone will take the time to spend a mere week to learn. Whatever their interest--making their own book available for sale, or making ePUBs commercially for sale--I don't think expecting someone to invest a week in learning some level of expertise is unreasonable. And as numerous books are already available on the topic, and even more perfectly free, free FREE websites, what, exactly, are we discussing here and why are we discussing it?

If you're writing a book, then, great, write your book. If you feel compelled to write a tutorial for MobileRead, I'm sure that the wiki would be delighted to have your contributions. But clearly, I'm missing the point of why this is being discussed, or what the compelling need is. This constant questioning as to the "best method" to learn to make ePUBs sounds either like someone using the MR'rs as a sounding board for preparing a college paper or someone outlining a book on the topic. There are already tons of resources, and someone really interested in these resources would already have scoured the wiki, the Workshop, the ePUB forum and the sites pointed out by the people here. If you're really interested in what "newbies" need to know, why aren't you asking the newbies? Why would you be asking those of us who are already familiar with all the resources, websites, tips, tricks, etc., what a "newbie" needs to know, or, more to the point, where a newbie can find all those things?

Ask over on the ePUB forum and the workshop. Let them give you their noobie questions, and then you can formulate a competent course curricula (book, whatever). Won't those "noobs" be in a better position to tell you how they got here, what they want to know, what they don't already know, etc., than we are????

Sigil is a TOOL. It's not an entire training course rolled into one package. None of the "tools" out there take the place of doing a little learning. Everyone here had to "learn Sigil from scratch," as you ask us to imagine doing in your first post on this thread.

As far as teaching people to make ePUBs strictly in BookView...I'll be blunt. There are already far too many utterly crap books let loose in the ePUB world without adding more, encouraging people to let more poorly-coded ePUBs escape without proper coding by the "expedient" of using BookView. Sigil's not a word-processor. It doesn't have those functions, and it's not an authorial tool. It's an XHTML/CSS ePUB creation tool. It's not a "how to make ePUBs without knowing anything" tool.

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Old 05-05-2013, 08:12 AM   #17
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I think direct ingestion would be the best approach. We could create Sigil capsules that newbies could take to imbue them with the knowledge they needed to get started.

It's not really rocket-science, here. And after a bit of exploratory ePub research, if it still seems like rocket-science to you (rhetorical device), then perhaps you're the type of person who needs to have ePubs created for them.

I'm all for people experimenting and picking up new skills (or on the other hand, discovering personal limitations), but I'm not certain from whence the "'all god's chillun' should be able to quickly and easily create beautiful, handcrafted ebooks" notion stems.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:15 AM   #18
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By distilling what has been written up to now, it seems that a beginner should follow these three steps when he wants to learn Sigil:

Step 1: Find out what an ePub really is

Toxaris has suggested http://www.jedisaber.com/eBooks/Introduction.shtml as a general starting point for learning about ePubs.

I find the Sigil User Guide and the Sigils Tutorials, which can be accessed from the Sigil interface, very well written and very helpful. If you read jedisaber and work through the Sigil tutorials, trying out the Sigil interface as you go along, you will be pretty clued up about what an ePub really is in the end.

Step 2: Decide if you are really serious about producing eBooks or whether you just want to have fun

By the time you have worked through jedisaber and the Sigil tutorials, you will probably be able to manipulate the Sigil interface as well. And you will probably have realized that to limit yourself to Sigil’s Book View might seem easy but that it is a deceptive ease. You will probable have seen that you would be “digging a hole for yourself” and your activities would amount to “picking up bad habits”, as it has been put by certain forum members.

If you were really serious about understanding what you are at, if you really wanted to control what your ebooks will look like, and really wanted them to play on most eReaders, you would know that you need to start working in Sigil’s Code View as soon as possible.

If a beginner just wants to have fun or stick to very simple ePubs, I don’t see why he/she should not do what he/she likes, also use or abuse ePubs produced by programs such as OpenOffice, WordPerfect, PagePlus or InDesign. If the beginner is serious about producing eBooks, he/she will soon enough discover that trying to reproduce page formatting in Sigil’s Book View, or mixing and matching .xhtml’s and their paired files from different ePubs, won’t cut it. All the dire warnings are really unnecessary because Sigil will do its own teaching by way of failed results.

Nevertheless, one can have fun trying out the free lunches. What is wrong with a free lunch?

Step 3: Learn to code HTML and apply CSS

Leaving the fun-loving beginner behind at step 2, the seriously interested ebook learner proceeds to study HTML and CSS.

According to the advice received to date, the serious beginner goes to the following sites:

GrannyGrumpy mentioned http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=130390 where Pablo's tutorial can be found.

MrMikel mentioned http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp and http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp .

In case this is not sufficient, Mr Hitch recommends two paid publications:

Liz Castro's ePUB: Straight to the Point ($20)
http://store.kagi.com/cgi-bin/store....5/0/quantity=1

and

Huey Tsen’s How to Create and Format EPUB eBooks Using SIGIL (v 0.7.1) ($11)

http://www.amazon.com/Create-Format-.../dp/B00BXJAUQ6

Granny Grumpy and Mr Hitch both recommend the books of one Jellby as examples of excellent eBook publishing.

Mr. Hitch’s refers to a paid eBook editing program which might be superior to Sigil, namely JUTOH.

http://jutoh.com/index.htm

How good is Jutoh? Whether Sigil should be chucked for Jutoh, is worth a thread by itself.

Last edited by ecbritz; 05-07-2013 at 04:30 AM.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:13 AM   #19
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If you want to buy a word processor to do ePub you might want to consider Atlantis as well. I haven't compared Jutoh to Atlantis head to head but Atlantis is a good word processor that can also do ePub.

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Old 05-07-2013, 01:26 AM   #20
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I am pretty sure that Hitch did not recommend the book from Huey Tsen, but did recommend the book from Liz. I agree with her there, although it is heavily Apple oriented it gives a good introduction. Jutoh is not superior to Sigil and neither is Atlantis, just different use cases. If you want a Wordprocessor kind of way to produce ePUB or keep it simple by pushing some buttons, by all means use Atlantis or Jutoh. I must admit I haven't tried Jutoh in almost 2 years, but it apparently works. If you want more control over the end product and really make it the way you like and want it, use Sigil or do it manually.
Different users, different use cases. I like full control because a lot can go wrong with automated tools. Also because there are many different readers out there, so some things just won't work. That is why I use Word as my wordprocessor and Sigil to create the ePUB. That works for me. Instead of trying one program that tries to do it all, I will stick with programs that are built for a specific use case and do that well.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:31 AM   #21
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Meneer Toxaris, ik ben het met u eens over alles. Maar ik ben wel benieuwd naar Jutoh, voornamelijk omdat ze op hun website beloven "to take the drama out of ebook publishing". Ook omdat de twee uitvinders van het programma er buitengewoon geleerd en goedaardig uitzien. Twee Britten van goede huize en goede wil, volgens hun foto. Ik vraag mij alleen af waarom geen gebruikersforum. Ze hebben iemand die per email vragen beantwoordt. Maar geeft hij/zij ooit antwoord?

Heeft iemand al het boek van Huey Tsen uitgeprobeerd? Waarom dit boek van de hand wijzen?

Anyway, I'll probably stick to Sigil in the end, and I'll stick to English, so as not to offend.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:33 AM   #22
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Ecbritz:

I wrote a nice lengthy reply to this, but, I've nuked it, because I'm done with this thread. My concept that people ought to do some of their own effort at learning seems to be utterly lost in here somehow. I'm not going to keep banging my head against the wall.

And, with regard to your question to Toxaris: (my Dutch is poor, but not that poor): I mentioned Jutoh because it is a word-processor designed to make eBooks, and it is not designed for anything else. For those of you who have indicated that you have no interest in learning coding--which is the fundamental core of ebook-making--it's a perfectly acceptable solution. It does not provide the finite degree of control that an XHTML editor like Sigil provides--or the finite control that actually learning HTML, XHTML and CSS provides--but it's a perfectly good program for writers to use to make ebooks that they wish to sell for commercial purposes. I think that "real" ePUB-makers hand-code their own books, and don't use products like Jutoh, but I think that people who want books to make themselves without having to LEARN anything like HTML and CSS should use a product like that. It is absolutely not superior to Sigil; it's an alternative for those who cannot be bothered doing the work needed to learn how to make an ePUB.

I most certainly did not recommend the Tsen book. I did indeed recommend Liz Castro's book--which anyone who has done 10 minutes of "how to make ePUBs" googling on the Internet should have found--because it has every single facet of fundamental knowledge in it, ranging from the html files themselves to CSS to the OPF and NCX, along with some more-advanced CSS options.

I for one am not here to create courses to teach other people to make books. I'm here to meet and greet with my peers, and with other enthusiasts who are techie. To exchange ideas with other pros and gifted hobbyists. To kick around coding issues, problems, and just generally have a "get-together" of people who all already know HOW to play the piano (just go with my metaphor, please), to use one example. It's not my intention, in coming here with my fellow pianists and amateur piano enthusiasts, to take the time to set up a course for people who don't know what the piano does. Just because some guy wanders in the room, sees the piano, starts banging on the keys, and then complains because Rachmaninoff's 3rd didn't come flying out of his buttcheeks doesn't mean that I or anyone else here has some obligation to create a whitepaper on how to go about BEGINNING to learn to play the piano. That's not the same thing as a discussion between "peeps" about the annoyances of ADE, or why Nook's hyphenation will make you rip your hair out, or what evil thing Apple has done lately, vis-a-vis text-wrapping...it's just not.

If I wanted to give "how to" classes, I would still be posting over at the KDP forum. I know what it sounds like, but I give some time in the forums here that are appropriate for this: the Workshop and the format forums, not in a discussion of programs/tools like Sigil. This forum has quite enough "runaway" threads about html and CSS as it is. This discussion is not appropriate here; it's appropriate, if at all, in the Workshop, the ePUB forum and the Wiki.

Which I think has been mentioned something like 10 times now. (Yes, gang: I am really, really done now.)

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Old 05-07-2013, 04:57 AM   #23
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Different users, different use cases. I like full control because a lot can go wrong with automated tools. Also because there are many different readers out there, so some things just won't work. That is why I use Word as my wordprocessor and Sigil to create the ePUB. That works for me. Instead of trying one program that tries to do it all, I will stick with programs that are built for a specific use case and do that well.
So, if starting from scratch, why Word-and-convert? Word encourages you to lay out pages in ways an eBook can't handle. Atlantis, at first glance, seems a good idea. If I understand it correctly, it only allows constructs that translate well to epub, and produces effecient code.

Or just code directly into Sigil. Once authors stopped being scared by <h1> and <p> tags, they'd probably find them no obstacle to their creative flow!
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:21 AM   #24
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So, if starting from scratch, why Word-and-convert? Word encourages you to lay out pages in ways an eBook can't handle. Atlantis, at first glance, seems a good idea. If I understand it correctly, it only allows constructs that translate well to epub, and produces effecient code.

Or just code directly into Sigil. Once authors stopped being scared by <h1> and <p> tags, they'd probably find them no obstacle to their creative flow!
Honestly, EW:

The whole "Word is evil" thing is just so five-minutes-ago. I've tried AWP, I've used OO, and the bottom line is none of them output significantly cleaner code than the others. I've seen what Pages outputs (zoiks!), along with every other magic tool in the box, ranging from Jutoh to epub2writer to you-name-it. Cleaning HTML is pretty much just cleaning html. Word doesn't really "encourage" people to layout pages in ways that ebooks can't handle; programs like Publisher do, or Powerpoint, but it can still be done. OO and LO are just Word dressed differently; Wordperfect's export-to-HTML isn't any better.

The sole difference is, what HTML do you want to clean up? Do you want to clean up spans or Divs? Spans for italics or fonts for italics? Clean up Word's 1900 lines of cruft pretending to be internal CSS, or spend 20 minutes cleaning up Word first, and then output what can be very clean HTML?

The problem isn't the program. It's what the authors are accustomed to seeing. I still get manuscripts in here that, so help me, have the running headers and footers typed by HAND. I get books that--not making this up, are typed like this:

Code:
The quick brown fox jumped over <return><return>
The lazy dog.<return><return>
Next line of manuscript.
Because folks don't know that Word, or ANY word-processor, word-wraps, so they type to the right "margin" and then hit "enter" twice to create "double-spacing" for manuscripts. Whatcha gonna do? If people won't read the instructions for something as simple as a word-processor, I don't really think it makes a rats' butt worth of difference whether they use AWP, OO, LO, Word, WPerf or Bob's Big Word Processor. The only people who really care about whether or not AWP puts out html that is one iota cleaner than Word (assuming arguendo that it is) are nerds and wonks like us. Not authors. If they buy something, it's likely to be Scrivener, or LSBXE, or that ilk. Not AWP, IMHO.

FWIW.

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Old 05-07-2013, 05:45 AM   #25
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I mentioned Jutoh because it is a word-processor designed to make eBooks, and it is not designed for anything else. For those of you who have indicated that you have no interest in learning coding--which is the fundamental core of ebook-making--it's a perfectly acceptable solution. It does not provide the finite degree of control that an XHTML editor like Sigil provides--or the finite control that actually learning HTML, XHTML and CSS provides--but it's a perfectly good program for writers to use to make ebooks that they wish to sell for commercial purposes.
I think you mean "fine" degree? Your point is, surely, that Jutoh's control is all too finite!
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:21 AM   #26
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Anyone who has gotten far enough in their education/curiosity to even know an ePUB exists can find innumerable resources for making them, ranging from Calibre to Jutoh to Sigil to Scrivener to making them by hand.
When I first dipped a toe into the epub world (from necessity - a publisher collegue had a substantial catalogue to convert and wanted to retain SOME of the resulting income :-) I wasted a lot of time investigating "automagic" conversion methods, obsessing on producing a fascimile of the printed original, and generally not catching on to the concept of "pouring text into a container" as opposed to "laying out a page". My research indicated that auto-conversion was the way to go. The simple truth emerged later - and after we'd published some pretty bad eBooks. (Incidentally, they still sold, just as well as the much tidier ones we're making now. They provide a niche market with the information it needs - content is all!)
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:48 AM   #27
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So, if starting from scratch, why Word-and-convert? Word encourages you to lay out pages in ways an eBook can't handle. Atlantis, at first glance, seems a good idea. If I understand it correctly, it only allows constructs that translate well to epub, and produces effecient code.

Or just code directly into Sigil. Once authors stopped being scared by <h1> and <p> tags, they'd probably find them no obstacle to their creative flow!
I don't agree. Word is just a word processor, just like AWP, LO, OO and many others. Of course you can handle pages and so on, I do not. As Hitch already said, the output needs to be cleaned anyway when you use regular methods. I have created a whole set of tools and procedures in/with Word to guide me from the OCR process to creating HTML (now testing export from Word directly to clean ePUB btw). I cannot reach the same level in the same time with the other tools. It will take me a whole lot of time more and I question whether the results are better.
The tools are geared towards my working process and will for sure not suit everybody. I don't mind, because I make them for me initially. For example, I will not create a stylesheet based on the layout in Word. I will retain formatting like bold/italic and so on. I do use styles with the same names as the classes in my stylesheet, so I don't have to.
Will I release the tools here just like my macro? Probably. Will it help people? Hopefully. Can anyone use it? Yes, to some extend. As with all tools, the more knowledge you have, the better your results.

Anyway, even if I did not have my own toolset, I would still use Word. Cleaning up the HTML is not that difficult, it just takes time and willing to learn.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:11 AM   #28
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Not to mention that: even though there very well may be authors who can write creatively in an html-type environment, I think it's very unrealistic to expect them to write in html--even simple html.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:52 AM   #29
exaltedwombat
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Not to mention that: even though there very well may be authors who can write creatively in an html-type environment, I think it's very unrealistic to expect them to write in html--even simple html.
Is it such a big difference? (And what's "an html-type environment"?).

In Word, type in text. If you want a new paragraph, press Enter.

In Sigil Code View, type in text. If you want a new paragraph, click on "p".
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:35 AM   #30
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I have created a whole set of tools and procedures in/with Word to guide me from the OCR process to creating HTML (now testing export from Word directly to clean ePUB btw). I cannot reach the same level in the same time with the other tools. It will take me a whole lot of time more and I question whether the results are better.
The tools are geared towards my working process and will for sure not suit everybody. I don't mind, because I make them for me initially. For example, I will not create a stylesheet based on the layout in Word. I will retain formatting like bold/italic and so on. I do use styles with the same names as the classes in my stylesheet, so I don't have to.
Will I release the tools here just like my macro? Probably. Will it help people? Hopefully. Can anyone use it? Yes, to some extend. As with all tools, the more knowledge you have, the better your results.
Thank you for the offer of sharing your tools. Yes, I'm sure we would all benefit from them, and a brief talk-through your conversion process from PDF (or whatever) to epub. I hope you find time to do it soon!
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