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Old 05-19-2014, 11:04 AM   #1
DigitEditLab
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Tool for Fixed Layout

I wonder...

What is currently the best Fixed-Layout tool to fetch and use in production? Still ePubCrawler?
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:39 AM   #2
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What's wrong with Calibre?
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:50 AM   #3
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Fixed-Layout + Calibre ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by odedta View Post
What's wrong with Calibre?
That's a good question... Does CALIBRE perform it? I have still to find the way in CALIBRE to produce a FLE without handcoding every aspect of it (page after page in XHTML and CSS, a.s.o.).
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:58 AM   #4
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Basically you just add the viewport meta tag to every file, it's really simple to do, few clicks using regex.
A few definitions in content.opf and you're done, Calibre will show you the fixed layout book in Edit Mode.
Use this: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...78&postcount=4
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odedta View Post
Basically you just add the viewport meta tag to every file, it's really simple to do, few clicks using regex.
A few definitions in content.opf and you're done, Calibre will show you the fixed layout book in Edit Mode.
Use this: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...78&postcount=4
Thanks for your tips, which bring me some food for thoughts...

- My view was to export a fixed layout from InDesign, which is useful for very complex design.
- Is your view the following? To "freeze" the layout of an EPUB? It is as useful, but I wonder whether this is the same goal.

Well, what's your mind (or your understanding)?
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:26 PM   #6
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I'm not sure i'm following the two views you're trying to portray.
Basically, a fixed layout ePub is not just nice-to-have but absolutely necessary for some books! not long ago I encountered an educational book about electronics, it had hundreds of tables, formulas, lists etc... the kind of book you'd call a nightmare to convert.
The problem with having this book as a regular ePub is that when you have a huge table with lots of rows it will not fit to one page on an electronic reader, also it will change size depending on the font-size the user picks.

So in this case for example, a fixed layout would be ideal, because the entire table would fit in one page just like it does on the printed version and the user has the ability to zoom in.

As for conversion from ADOBE InDesign (use CS6), the options for conversion are pretty straight forward and should be pretty much the same for any ePub you're creating. The difference is, like I said before, is simply a few tags to add if you wish a book to be viewed as a fixed layout book.

Another great example for using fixed layout is this: (watch the video)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.htm...d_i=1000729511

The lighting of different sections, the zooming etc changes the reading experience for the better, so fixed layout is really the only way to go in some cases in my opinion.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:30 AM   #7
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First, many thanks for your comments and your tips.

- I share your view on the interest of a FLE in some cases.
- I've just discovered your "exemple2.epub" with much interest, which provided me with some valuable insights.
- Anyway, the difficulty is not so much the addition of few tags but the design on a page after page basis instead of a flow. A common publishing use case is exactly that: make me an FLE from this (Print) book (ie. designed with InDesign).
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitEditLab View Post
First, many thanks for your comments and your tips.

- I share your view on the interest of a FLE in some cases.
- I've just discovered your "exemple2.epub" with much interest, which provided me with some valuable insights.
- Anyway, the difficulty is not so much the addition of few tags but the design on a page after page basis instead of a flow. A common publishing use case is exactly that: make me an FLE from this (Print) book (ie. designed with InDesign).
Fixed layout is NOT a solution for a "complex" book. That's a completely, almost inexorably wrong way of thinking about it. (I'm excepting the "iAuthor" proprietary text-book-like books that are created with that app, exclusively for use on iPads, generally for academic/interactive Q&A type texts.) Fixed-layout is, rather, a way of generating SIMPLE, graphic-heavy files, with small or smallish pages, without MUCH text, because otherwise, if you have a full page of material, with, say, 3/4 of the 93.5 square inches of the (original, typing-paper sized 8.5" x 11") manuscript using text, and 1/4 using a table (or graphic, chart, whatever), then the resulting FF pages will be unreadable,for all intents and purposes, on normal readers (everything BUT the fullsize iPad itself) without ridiculously user-unfriendly amounts of squinching and zooming and pushing about in order to read the content.

The usual 8.5" x 11" page has 93.5 square inches of usable space. A typical Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo screen has, averaging, 16.62 square inches of space. That's 17.78% of the space that the manuscript (or 8.5" x 11" PDF--we get a TON of those) had. How do you think that will look crammed into those 16.62 inches? What type of reader experience do you think those users will have? Would you like to try to read through hundreds of pages of material like that on an HTC One, for example?

AND, if the book is being made for a future mobi file, the page cannot be zoomed--AT ALL. All that can be made accessible for that is the RM (Region Magnification) text, and that's a mere 150-200%.

Given the vast number of academic books, etc., that are now being read on smartphones, really, folks: please, stop giving into clients who do NOT understand what the hell they are really asking for, when they come up with ideas like, "make me an FLE from this (Print) book (ie. designed with InDesign)" coupled with "the design on a page after page basis instead of a flow." If that's what your client wants, tell them to stick with print or PDF, or limit themselves to iBooks--and only on iPads, because the material is the dog's breakfast on smartphones like the iPhone, too.

There's no reason on earth, really, NOT to make a "complex book" reflowable. The tables won't work a whole crapload better (and won't fit one IOTA better) on a FF than they will on a reflowable; ditto charts, graphs, and the like. All of those have the same issues on FF that they do on reflowable: Lack. Of. Space. Outline format? Isn't solved by FF over reflowable. What IS solved by FF over reflowable are a) art books, aka "coffee table books," (and even that's debatable), b) comic books and c) illustrated kids' "picture books." All commercial/professional ebook formatters should, by now, know that FF is rarely--very rarely--the answer to a "complex book problem." And if it's so complex that you just feel that you can't get there from here, in a reflowable, then the reality is, it's probably best intended for an APP...not an ebook.

My $.02, FWIW.

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