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Old 01-02-2009, 02:53 PM   #1
brewt
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As much as I want to get Indesign to work...

...I really don't like it for making epubs.

One "should" import the text from a word document, but hyperlinks won't work - so if you built in a toc, or comments or footnotes, you can't click around in the resulting epub without rebuilding all the links, one at a time, by hand.

Many of the goodies that make Indesign desirable, like text tricks, drop caps in Indesign styles, just don't translate into the epub.

Lines do not come into the epub.

Graphics still don't embed where I put them. Or the way I put them.

Sure, it will embed fonts ok, and they sometimes work out ok, but I've opened up some that seem to have characters missing, like apostrophes. But only sometimes.

The toc in indesign is hard to work with. And the only option to adjust it after you've placed it (that I can see) is to rebuild it from scratch.

Reflow works somewhat - however, hyphenation isn't there in the readers.

It is still an expensive word-to-epub convertor, in my opinion, that makes me have to restyle everything once it's in indesign. Work work work.

A Book of Books is extra hard to build. The Complete Works of (insert favorite author here) is really out of the question. It is designed to make a flow of 1 book = 1 epub. Not the way I want to do things.

Is anyone from Adobe reading these forums? 'Cause there's miles to go here to get Indesign beyond simple epubs...

Mr. Goyal's efforts are far more powerful and sophisticated.

-bjc
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Old 01-02-2009, 06:21 PM   #2
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I suspect Adobe would have had more luck if they have used Framemaker. It lends itself to ePUB and even now would do the job better but of course Famemaker was purchased and inDesign was built in house. After all these years you would think they could take ownership. This is a grass root effort on ePUB for Framemaker using MIF converters mostly by O'Reilly. I have a little of this in the wiki.

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Old 01-02-2009, 07:28 PM   #3
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Brewt, which version of InDesign are you using? Supposedly things work better in InDesign CS4, which was just released in November. I haven't tried it yet for ePub, but I am in the process of preparing a couple of books for just that purpose.
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:41 PM   #4
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I'd be interested to know which version of InDesign you are using as well. I like InDesign for making print publications and also for producing PDF ebooks. I'm due for an upgrade, but I want to make sure I get something that can make epubs, hopefully without the "work, work, work."
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:10 PM   #5
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CS4.

CS3 is even worse.

-bjc
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:27 AM   #6
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Yep. Epub was not entirely defined when CS3 got released, so the implementation is really shoddy.

A few remarks:
- you can change the TOC after you placed it simply by selecting any text in it (or putting the cursor there). The "update TOC" becomes ungreyed when you do.

- For graphics, make sure you anchor them, not just place them. right click menu should give you the option to do so.

- Drop caps and so on will never work, there's no implementation in ePub for them.

- If you import your work from a Word document, try doing it with inCopy instead. You'll get more control as to how the doc gets imported.

And finally, I agree, Adobe should really do something about this mess. Just having to put each chapter in a different file and then putting them together in a book can be a hassle, and we should not need to do that. Automation, in the digital age, ever heard of that?
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Old 01-03-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfy View Post
- Drop caps and so on will never work, there's no implementation in ePub for them.
There is, with CSS. An example.
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:29 PM   #8
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I haven't seen a good drop cap example in an epub. (the spanish example didn't look right to me - maybe because I don't read spanish?)

DE seems to strip out drop cap code, at least in the ones I've tried to build. The Sony emulator and the Calibre emulator give differing results, too.

Sure, there's lots of great looking examples out there for web browsers, but in an actual epub, on a reading device? Hain't seen it yet.

The other thing I'd be interested in otherwise-engineering is true font embedding into the epub. Without doing it the hard way, if possible. Calibre should do it eventually, but that's a someday.

-bjc
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewt View Post
I haven't seen a good drop cap example in an epub. (the spanish example didn't look right to me - maybe because I don't read spanish?)

DE seems to strip out drop cap code, at least in the ones I've tried to build. The Sony emulator and the Calibre emulator give differing results, too.

Sure, there's lots of great looking examples out there for web browsers, but in an actual epub, on a reading device? Hain't seen it yet.
I don't have a "real" ePUB reader, but it works fine in web browsers, in bookworm, and in the Opera and Firefox plugins. So the code is there and I'd blame Adobe DE or the Sony reader (not the ePUB format) for not properly supporting the CSS properties (as far as I know, all the properties used are requiered by the ePUB specification). This example is not in Spanish.
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:00 AM   #10
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Not bad - how did you build it?

Attached is a picture of what it looks like in Calibre, Sony and DE. Not consistent. I can't get onto the Bride's 700 just yet.

I can't get anything to open in opera without calling on DE, fbreader crashes constantly for me, the firefox/openberg one uses firefox 2 (have to downgrade), and most of the other ones I've tried have been dismal at best.

If Epub is to be a "standard", shouldn't we be able to count on what something looks like? Or am I mis-construing something into what I want here?

I purchased a Sony on the promise of what could be done with epub over mobi - haven't seen a lot yet, and it's certainly harder to work with.

-bjc
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
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If Epub is to be a "standard", shouldn't we be able to count on what something looks like? Or am I mis-construing something into what I want here?
ah, here we encounter the same hurdle facing all standard formats (html webstandards comes to mind) : the manner they are interpreted by the viewer. this is why for instance the same website can look dramatically different in firefox, internet explorer, and opera. this is why webdesigners hate ie : it is very capricious about how it interprets the "standard" html / css code defined by the W3C (web standards consortium), and why book creators are pretty soon going to hate DE (i suspect). you are right : yes, we should be able to count on what it looks like. in reality, this is rarely the case...

epub is an excellent format, currently still suffering from a lack of GOOD viewers (sony's and adobe's DE is not frankly very good, from what i've seen).

if you want to see an epub file display really nicely, the best thing is to unzip it (right click the file, open with winzip or winrar, whichever you have), and then inside the "content" folder slide the .html file into a browser window (preferably firefox. ie is the devil). so far, a webbrowser is still the *best* epub viewer around (particularly one with good standards conformity, like firefox), because it has the most refined css support (it can display justified text, for instance ).

epub viewers for devices will eventually catch up ; i hope it is sooner rather than later.
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:39 AM   #12
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Not bad - how did you build it?
With this CSS:

Code:
span.first {
  font-variant: small-caps;
  margin-left: -0.5em;
}
span.drop {
  font-size: 400%;
  font-weight: bold;
  line-height: 0.75;
  float: left;
  margin: 0 0.125em 0 0;
}
and this XHTML:

Code:
<p><span class="first"><span class="drop">I</span>n</span> the ancient city of London...</p>
Quote:
Attached is a picture of what it looks like in Calibre, Sony and DE. Not consistent. I can't get onto the Bride's 700 just yet.
The best is the left one... Calibre? The two others fail to align the top line, I think they interpret "line-height: 0.75" by moving down the drop cap, instead of up; I don't know what the specification says here, but all browsers seem to move things up. Also, they fail to tread the "oeb-page-header" property, they should remove "I - The Birth of the Prince and the Pauper" from the page flow at the very least.

Quote:
I can't get anything to open in opera without calling on DE.
Either do as I said on the post (unzip the .epub and index.zip files and open index.html) or use this widget.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:38 AM   #13
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It is still an expensive word-to-epub convertor, in my opinion, that makes me have to restyle everything once it's in indesign. Work work work.
Are you saying you purchased Indesign just for this?


Care to share how you go about building a book with indesign and then exporting it to ePub?
I use indesign extensively, but creating a book with 20+ pages seems like a lot of work. How do you get all the necessary pages with the textboxes that are linked etc?
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:16 PM   #14
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Care to share how you go about building a book with indesign and then exporting it to ePub?
I use indesign extensively, but creating a book with 20+ pages seems like a lot of work. How do you get all the necessary pages with the textboxes that are linked etc?
InDesign CS4 is relatively easy to use to create long documents such as books. Just last week I completed a 360-page book in ID.

Each chapter is done as its own document. Linking is not a problem, especially with autoflow. When all the chatpers are completed, they are asembled into a master container called a Book (not being facetious here; Adobe calls it Book), within which you create the table of contents and index.

As for exporting to ePub, the File menu has the options to export to Adobe Digital Editions and to XHTML. It's as easy as selecting which one you want.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:08 PM   #15
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I personnally find it much easier to use inDesign to just produce a PDF document that is specifically formatted for the PRS505. Yes, it means the doc might not show properly on other readers (although screen sizes are similar enough on most models), and I can't change the size of the font (I just choose the one I am most comfortable with) but the results are perfect, dropped caps and everything, for a minimal amount of work.

I WOULD produce ePubs instead if only the workflow was as easy. I usually start with text or rtf files, and just breaking down the book in several files, one per chapter, is a real hassle. Not to mention about setting all the styles...
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