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Old 03-30-2010, 03:37 PM   #1
pedz
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pop up windows

Does epub have the concept of a pop up window?

For example, it would be great if I had a book, and using the navigation tools, be able to select a part of the book (much like how a link is represented when an HTML file is converted to epub format), and then hit "open" but instead of going to a new location, it would simply pop up a window with some text. When the reader is done, he could dismiss the window and be back where he originally started.
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:05 PM   #2
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That's up to the Reading System, not the epub format.
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:27 PM   #3
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yea. I found some references about footnotes but I didn't totally understand when they would work. I got that it was reader specific but they did not have specifics as to how to format the input to get a particular reader to do a pop up.

Do you happen to have an example of an epub book where on some reader, some part is viewed as a pop up?

Thanks.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pedz View Post
Do you happen to have an example of an epub book where on some reader, some part is viewed as a pop up?
I don't think any reader system implements a multi-window environment for epubs. The references to footnotes were just talk. ePub's only linking mechanism is the simple anchor tag and href attribute, so there's nothing built-in to allow it to display certain links in a different way, and there's no support for embedded scripts.

It would certainly be possible to bolt on a set of extensions to allow this, but that basically means a rewrite of the specification.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by charleski View Post
I don't think any reader system implements a multi-window environment for epubs. The references to footnotes were just talk. ePub's only linking mechanism is the simple anchor tag and href attribute, so there's nothing built-in to allow it to display certain links in a different way, and there's no support for embedded scripts.

It would certainly be possible to bolt on a set of extensions to allow this, but that basically means a rewrite of the specification.
There's not need for any sort of extension. A Reading System is perfectly within its right to provide a pop-up preview of the content at the end of a link, or to display a footnote in a separate window etc.

The display of the book is up to the RS. It needs to display the epub according to the standard, but it can add its own display features above and beyond that. Things like being able to change the margin size, the currently used font etc (iPad's iBooks works this way, if the Apple videos are any indication).

Sure, the epub book says what it wants the content to look like, but the RS is free to override that if the user so chooses or the RS is technically limited (or some other reason). The specs talk about this, and that's why you see them use the words "may" and "free to ignore" all the time.

It's the same thing when you use the text zoom features of your browser: some browsers will then enlarge the text and reflow the whole page, and now it looks differently. That doesn't mean the browser is not standards-compliant.

The RS needs to be able to display an epub according to the standard by default, but allowing the user to change the display semantics is certainly a good idea. Some commercial epub books come with damn stupid margins, and I want my RS to let me change them on the fly.

Last edited by Valloric; 03-31-2010 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:23 PM   #6
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There's not need for any sort of extension. A Reading System is perfectly within its right to provide a pop-up preview of the content at the end of a link, or to display a footnote in a separate window etc.
As I said, there's no current mechanism to discriminate between different types of links. If you click on a link in a table of contents you want that material to appear in the main window rather than as a pop-up.

I suppose it might be possible to build a complex multi-stage rendering system in which you click once to get a link in a pop-up, press a button to dismiss the pop-up or press a different button to render the material in the main window, and then press another button to get back where you came from when you realise you previously pressed the wrong button, and then press yet another button to send an angry email to whoever designed such a cumbersome system.

Far better just to wait for the spec to be revised.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:38 PM   #7
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I don't think the epub specification would have to add anything particularly exotic to support pop-ups: just expand the amount of CSS covered to include :hover and related stuff. You can Google how to use pseudo-classes to produce pop-up footnotes in a web page, but I don't know of any reader that supports this.

And, if I can bang my favorite drum just a little more, epub will have to include support for footnotes and other things if it is ever going to be suitable for textbooks and scholarly publications--a big market just waiting to be addressed.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by b.tarde View Post
I don't think the epub specification would have to add anything particularly exotic to support pop-ups: just expand the amount of CSS covered to include :hover and related stuff. You can Google how to use pseudo-classes to produce pop-up footnotes in a web page, but I don't know of any reader that supports this.

And, if I can bang my favorite drum just a little more, epub will have to include support for footnotes and other things if it is ever going to be suitable for textbooks and scholarly publications--a big market just waiting to be addressed.
Hover and its ilk are not good solutions for eBooks on devices without a touch screen. I do not think CSS is the way to solve the problem. However a solution does not have to be complicated. A simple thing like a new tag, for example <ref> would be adequate. This is the way wikis do it. This way the application could identify this as something different from a href and do an appropriate thing.

I agree that a solution is needed for text books and scholarly publications. I would have a type option to the <ref> tag that could identify bibliography references from simple notes. This way the reading application would have the option to display them differently.

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