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Old 08-07-2013, 11:09 PM   #31
Tex2002ans
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibu View Post
Is there a large data table (like for internet brower CSS compatibility) for eReaders and CSS selectors, properties, values?
Wish there was. I know somewhere in the Wiki there was an EPUB that was designed with lots of tests. You would load that EPUB onto your device and see if it could handle it or not (can't seem to find the link right now, and it could be a dated EPUB).

I stumbled upon this in the Wiki, but it looks like it hasn't been updated in a while:

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Device_Compatibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibu View Post
That would help to guide creators or cleaners of epubs, which CSS could be used without letting a lot users standing in the rain.
Best bet for maximum compatibility is...... barely use any CSS. It depends on your market as well:

Are you going to be converting to Kindle?
Are your readers only going to be reading in EPUB?
Are your readers going to use a specific reading program (iBooks?)?
What stores are you going to sell this in?
Is it going to be sold directly from your site?
Does this have to have large images (or can/will it be read on a smartphone)?
Are you aiming for extremely long-term conversion (as in, making your life easier for formats beyond EPUB)?
Are your aiming for something short-term (like selling a fixed layout book specific for iPads).

Depending on the answers, you may or may not be able to get away with different/more complex CSS.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:39 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibu View Post
@Jellby
Well, to be honest I don't want to go to deep into a general discussion on "what is the best markup".

But because two of you asked, of course I answer in short to that.

Sure there are markup situation, where a span/div is appropriate.
I wasn't trying to suggest what is the "best markup" either. Just showing that it's a tough task to automatically recognize when <div> and <span>, for instance, are used properly or not.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:43 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Tex2002ans View Post
Wish there was. I know somewhere in the Wiki there was an EPUB that was designed with lots of tests. You would load that EPUB onto your device and see if it could handle it or not (can't seem to find the link right now, and it could be a dated EPUB).
You mean this?

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/EPub_Reader_Test
(just search "epub test" in the wiki)

That's only the result, the test ePub can be found here. But it does not include a test for "elegant" selectors.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:35 AM   #34
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@Jellby and Tex2002ans

Thanks for the hints for table and the test epub document.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:18 AM   #35
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@PeterT
Thanks for your report of cleaning of "Three Men in a Boat".

I see a new sport in front of my eye

We all make an appointement, there's a dirty ePub as a source, we define, what's a clean epub, we start the challenge.

Who is the fastes cleaner of us all? )
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:00 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
You mean this?

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/EPub_Reader_Test
(just search "epub test" in the wiki)

That's only the result, the test ePub can be found here. But it does not include a test for "elegant" selectors.
Hehe, I wish I'd seen that a few months back before writing one of my own.
Though it does test some different things to your one, and perhaps not
so elegantly.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:40 PM   #37
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To the original poster:

I think you are missing a larger truth here. Your requests remind me a little of a man who would criticize the sartorial choices of U.S. prison inmates. It's not that he's wrong that the inmates are horribly dressed, it's that he's reacting to an almost irrelevant side effect. The inmates didn't choose those ugly orange jumpsuits. The jailers did and they had their reasons.

Likewise, the inelegant HTML and CSS that annoys you isn't due to sloppiness, carelessness, or unprofessionalism. It's there because the jailers, er major ebook vendors, encourage it. No one ever intended for you to see the markup. It exists to achieve a particular outcome on specific devices.

If it gives you joy to needlessly fiddle with ebook markup, by all means, fiddle away. And you probably came to the best place to find help for this endeavor. Don't be offended if you get a few (virtual) funny looks. What you are asking is more than a little strange.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:58 PM   #38
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@William Ockham
I appreciate such a direct criticism, that's first.

Which rational motives do you see for the jailers to use stoneage rendering machines on their devices?
Why do they like it, when it's complicate (instead of easy) to create rich layouts for books with the full possibilities of modern HTML and CSS?

We read answers in this thread of a professionell who suffers because of the lack of standardconformity of the several devices. Which advantages do the producers of devices have by that suffering?
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:48 PM   #39
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I also mentioned keeping in mind coding your book for "long-term formats after EPUB", because that is part of my goals for what I am trying to accomplish at work.

I work for a non-profit economics website. Having code that is:

- Minimalistic
- Clean
- Consistent

I use approximately the same exact CSS file throughout all books (~150 converted so far, some books have unique CSS which I always place at the end of the CSS file).

The code will allow it to be copied/pasted/ported over to whatever (can easily copy/paste into blogs, on the site, on forums for debates, etc. etc.).

In the future, if I come up with an alternate way of displaying the book, because I made sure my code was consistently formatted throughout the EPUB in the first place, it will be easy as pie to change things with simple regex.

For an easy example, take footnotes. Early on I used the superscript format:

Code:
<a href="#fn3" id="ft3"><sup>3</sup></a>

LINKS TO:

<p><a href="#ft3" id="fn3"><sup>3</sup></a> Harriet Martineau’s Hist. of Eng. I. 294.</p>
At a later date, we decided to remove superscripts, and replace with a bracketed number (easier to click on a touchscreen, easier to click on a smartphone, easier to read, ...).

Code:
<a href="#fn3" id="ft3">[3]</a>

LINKS TO:

<p><a href="#ft3" id="fn3">[3]</a> Harriet Martineau’s Hist. of Eng. I. 294.</p>
BUT, it is personal preferences. I might prefer [3], you might prefer <sup>3</sup>, another publisher might prefer having full filenames and a separate Notes chapter:

Code:
<a href="Notes.xhtml#fn2.3" id="ft2.3">[3]</a>

LINKS TO:

<p><a href="Chapter2.xhtml#ft2.3" id="fn2.3">[3]</a> Harriet Martineau’s Hist. of Eng. I. 294.</p>
While another might have a behemoth like this:

Code:
<a class="footnote-link type-footnote" href="../Text/notes.xhtml#lf1231_footnote_nt057" id="lf1231_footnote_nt057_ref">*</a>

LINKS TO:

<div class="type-footnote note" id="lf1231_footnote_nt057">
    <a href="../Text/02.xhtml#lf1231_footnote_nt057_ref" id="lf1231_label_068">*</a>

    <p>Harriet Martineau’s Hist of Eng. I. 294.</p>
  </div>
... but as long as you stay CONSISTENT throughout the works, you can figure it out and change things around. This is where human judgement/insight/manual intervention is needed. A computer can't do this. There are too many ways/preferences/conversion tools out there, and nothing but some nice regex elbow grease can fix it.

Another example is when we export from InDesign.... I have a list of Regex I specifically made for that sitting in Sigil. I can push a button, and most of the crappy InDesign code is cleaned up/minimized, but that is due to our typesetter using classes CONSISTENTLY in the original InDesign file. A different typesetter/company doing a book might use classes completely differently! Thus requiring a different set of Regex.

There is no one stop shop automated solution to try to bash a mishmash of code into YOUR PERSONAL PREFERENCES (see footnote code above). All that you can hope for is that the original producer has taken some steps initially to make the code clean/understandable/consistent. This will make your job of cleaning much easier!

The only generic thing that I can think of that can work for almost all EPUBs are some extremely basic Regex to do things like changing hyphen between years -> en dashes, searching for missing quotation marks, searching for broken paragraphs.... but even this requires a lot of human assistance, and no way to fully automate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
You mean this?

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/EPub_Reader_Test
(just search "epub test" in the wiki)
That is exactly it!
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:05 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibu View Post
@William Ockham
I appreciate such a direct criticism, that's first.

Which rational motives do you see for the jailers to use stoneage rendering machines on their devices?
Why do they like it, when it's complicate (instead of easy) to create rich layouts for books with the full possibilities of modern HTML and CSS?

We read answers in this thread of a professionell who suffers because of the lack of standardconformity of the several devices. Which advantages do the producers of devices have by that suffering?
You know, I gotta say...

This feels a lot like the golden-olden days, when we all thought that XML-->XSLT was going to rule the world, and we'd use the same nice pseudo-markup language XML coding for elements, and then the happy-happy joy-joy XSLT stylesheets would almost magically convert the XML into a device-specific book...and gosh, wouldn't that have been nice, if it had EVER happened?

But...for whatever reason, it simply never did. It just didn't catch on. Now, you can posit a boatload of reasons as to why, for the masses, it didn't, but I suspect a variety of things happened, in a given sequence, that sort of doomed that idea. (I'm not trying to be date-sequence correct in my regurgitation of what came when, in what follows): Firstly, you had early e-readers, in a very disorganized and über-geeky bunch of devices; then you had the emergence of both Smashwords and pre-Amazon MOBI (for Palm, if memory serves), the latter two of which were, essentially, both HTML-based. Or, more accurately, Word-based. I think that this is likely where the trolley left the tracks; add to that Microsoft's early aborted attempts with .LIT (and let's not forget Sony and LRF)...

And then, at some point (and, yes, I've leapt forward in time), TPTB (The Powers that Be) came to realize that self-publishing wasn't a fad. It wasn't like Pet Rocks, or Troll Dolls, and it wasn't going away. And, more importantly,the vast (VAST!) majority of authors--those self-same self-publishers--were never, never, never...NEVER...gonna figure out XML-->XSLT. Or, for that matter, ePUB. And LIT and LRF and some others simply died on the vine. Amazon acquired MOBIPOCKET, relatively early on, all things considered, and mobipocket facilitated, built on, and fed the idea that, hey! You, too, can be an ebook-formatter with a little GUI program and a Word file.

Meanwhile, Kovid had developed the early Calibre...which became Smashword's "meatgrinder" via the API...and more Word files became ebooks.

Then Amazon made it possible for self-publishers to upload a Word file (which was born by the advent of MBPC actually being the KDP-upload engine, in fact)...and I think that was the end of any hope that eBooks would ever be as "elegant" behind the scenes as they may be upfront, if they are, upfront. The idea of ebooks being the domain and dominion of "coders" or people who at least understood HTML/XML/CSS was just doomed.

I don't say that to disparage DIY'ers, I don't. But let's face it, if we'd had, stuck with, etc., something like XML-->XSLT, yes, indeedy, the backend would be "cleaner," I suppose, but this might all simply be one tired bookmaker's stream-of-consciousness rambling at the latter part of what has been one hellaciously long week. It's possible that the XSLT sheets, for any given book, could be just as "wrong" as the OP, ibu, thinks that the current CSS and its kindred HTML is now. I mean...it's not really any different. It's just a different way of getting to the same place.

In fact, in some ways, it's not dissimilar to what we now do, for Amazon, with media-queries; we transform our HTML into two different books, one for old mobi, one for new K8 mobi, using different CSS, processed with what is effectively an "if/then" sort of statement, based on the device to which the user has chosen to download it.

So...in reality, books are SAUSAGE. They're not, when all the dinner is served, a filet mignon. You can always recognize a filet mignon; it's always the same cut of meat. It's not a different cut of meat.

An ebook, however, is a sausage. It can be made of innumerable different parts; a standard paragraph may have innumerable different names in 100 different bookmakers' individual stylesheets; and of those 100 different bookmakers, each of them may have a different way of achieving the same visual result--for example, one of my Crew Chiefs prefers to use a bottom-margin for a given paragraph style; the other prefers to create visual separation with a top-margin. If I look at the ePUBs in my Nook or iBooks app, can I tell which is which? NO, I can't.

Can I tell you if one used ems, and the other percentages (for those keeping track, we're now up to 4 variations). NO, I can't.

On the Kindle devices, one bookmaker likes to use percentages (100%, 200%) and the other likes ems; a third likes to use Kindle's own naming conventions (small, large, x-large, etc.). Can you, looking at the book on a K2 or a Fire, tell the difference? NO, you cannot.

So...it's simply not that black-and-white. Yes, there's truly "wrong" html, and truly "wrong" CSS...but generally speaking, most of what you see in ebooks isn't either. A bookmaker may be less skilled than another; or perhaps more skilled, in a way you don't recognize, because he knows that if he does X, it won't work in Nook or Kindle or some reading application on an iPad.

Asking why ebook retailers don't all have one set of standards, and make the lives of bookmakers and producers easier is like asking why the elephant doesn't stay in the water less time to make it easier for his fleas. Quite simply, because the elephant doesn't have to. Whatever the elephant does, the fleas will just go along, because they have to.

Sure, they can jump off...but then they have to find someone else to latch a ride on, and a way to eat. Right now, that elephant is Amazon, and they didn't choose to go the way of ePUB. (For that matter, none of the alleged "epub-way" retailers, did, either; neither Nook nor Kobo nor Apple; all of their "standards" require ebook makers to twist ePUBs somehow, someway, to work on their "epub" reading devices, BTW). No bookmaker will survive, today, that doesn't make books that can go to Amazon, one way or the other. I don't think any commercial bookmaker can keep their head above water "only" making epubs.

And thus, because the elephant goes where it wants, and the flea just hitches a ride (sorry, couldn't resist), the flea doesn't get to have a say in the elephant's destination; it just eats what it can in its life as the elephant's passenger; and when the elephants decide to make the flea's life a little more miserable, the flea decides that this elephant is just as good as the next elephant, and adjusts.

Here endeth the lesson. I've been drivellicious on this topic long enough, I think. There is, quite frankly, no great answer to any of your questions, other than, this is just the way it is. And, really, the question I'd ask is, does knowing whether someone used an <em> instead of <i> in his story make you like his STORY any better? Really? I don't care if a great author hand-wrote his manuscript, typed it, word-processed it or dictated it into an old-fashioned reel-to-reel...nor do I really care about what's behind the curtain when I buy it. If it works on my device, and I can read it, that's it. It's a BOOK. If form follows function, and you can read it, that bookmaker, whomever s/he is, however it got there, did their job. Flea or no flea.

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Old 08-08-2013, 10:00 PM   #41
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This feels a lot like the golden-olden days, when we all thought that XML-->XSLT was going to rule the world, and we'd use the same nice pseudo-markup language XML coding for elements, and then the happy-happy joy-joy XSLT stylesheets would almost magically convert the XML into a device-specific book...and gosh, wouldn't that have been nice, if it had EVER happened?
The only place I really see this happening is going from Website -> ebook. Although even here, you would need to customize the XSLT per site in the first place. Usually a website as a whole has consistent (for the most part) CSS throughout itself.

Or you can have each website try to use a tool like this: http://dotepub.com/
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:53 PM   #42
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:07 AM   #43
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I remember the days of DCF and SGML on IBM Mainframes; fantastic for writing user manuals that you could print or display on a range of devices.
Ah! The green glow of a 3270 (and a Keyboard that weight a ton)
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:37 AM   #44
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I remember the days of DCF and SGML on IBM Mainframes; fantastic for writing user manuals that you could print or display on a range of devices.
Ahh yes yes, I forgot about technical documents too. Someone recently brought up DocBook:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=218946

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/DocBook

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docbook
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:11 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibu View Post
You ask: Why isn't that extra class OK?

I ask: Why do you need an extra class?

About "plain text":
That does not fit my needs.
I need and want markup in books.
Headers.
Emphasized text.
Ordered lists.
Footnotes (Links).
Blockquotes.
Images.
Data tables.
...

Your post-conversion plugin:
I'm not sure, if I could use it, when the source isn't a markdown format.

Do you have please a complex example of "before" and "after" (the conversion).
I'm interested in what your plugin does
I explained why the class="number" may not be an extra class but you have not answered this point; you have simply re-asserted that it is an extra class.

My plugin does almost exactly what PeterT did in post #30 of this thread, (stripping tag ids and calibre classes), but additionally applies Markdown extentions to support <span> and to allow css named styles to be applied to elements. (Standard markdown does not allow this.) It also tidies the OPF, (removing calibre specific meta data), allows additional dc: tags in the OPF, (ones not implemented by calibre), and tidies the toc.ncx. It works on ePubs after calibre conversion.
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