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Old 06-04-2010, 04:52 PM   #1
Alhireth-Hotep
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Empty calibre_bookmarks.txt in viewed Epub files

In a thread over here, Kovid said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
When you view an EPUB file using calibre's viewer it will insert that file into the EPUB. Apparently, the good folks at Apple have even less of a clue as to how to validate EPUB files, so they complain about it. If you want to use the calibre viewer to check your EPUB files before submission, I suggest doing it on a copy of the EPUB.
Is it possible for Calibre's viewer to... not do that?

Here's why I ask. I'm on Mac, and I've been looking for a while for an Epub reader that is just a reader -- that is, one that lets me double-click on a book in my filesystem, open it, read it, close it, and not deal with additional content management overhead, not copy the file to its own special little DB, etc etc etc. The closest was FbReader, which I'm not happy with on Mac. So far I've been using BibTeX+BibDesk to manage my files and metadata (for citation purposes), plus Calibre for its Stanza integration (at which it excels, but which I run on a different computer, duplicating a subset of my library), but my best workaround for reading the Epub was to install the Firefox Epubreader plugin and just let it make its own copy of the book.

I have just realized that invoking Calibre's ebook-viewer from the command line is almost exactly what I want. Simple, reads the file in place, doesn't force me to navigate through another library structure. Not what I'd call lightweight (70+ megs of RAM to display a 750K Epub?), but acceptable. Only problem is that it unexpectedly alters the Epub file I opened. Which I really don't want. If a reading program is going to change a static document, I really want to request that behavior, not have it happen for me. As far as the ebook-viewer program is concerned, I'd be totally happy if that request was the act of explicitly clicking on the "add bookmark" button. But if I don't do that, I don't want the program going in and putting a bookmark file into my otherwise clean Epub files.

I discovered this when I tested ebook-viewer earlier today, and noticed it changed the timestamp of the file I viewed. Then I made two copies of another Epub file, viewed one, unzipped them and compared the contents. I checked the FAQ and docs on the website, but didn't see anything. Google revealed only the thread from which I took the above quote, plus another one here where nothing is resolved.

Upon closer examination, I see that the bookmark file stores where I last closed the book. As far as I'm concerned, this is even less desirable behavior, though I see now why it is the default behavior. Is it possible to add a command-line option to disable bookmark writing? Is this a change that might be considered if I raise a ticket? What if I were to contribute a patch? Should I just wrap ebook-viewer in a script that 'chmod 444's the file before and 'chmod 644's after?
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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Adding a bookmark file does not change the static document. The documents actual contents are untouched. And no, I'm not going to change this behavior.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Adding a bookmark file does not change the static document. The documents actual contents are untouched. And no, I'm not going to change this behavior.
For clarification, I'm not asking you to change the default behavior. I'm asking whether there's room in the ebook-viewer command for a "--disable-bookmarks" flag or somesuch. Even if I have to add it myself.

And the document, considered as a file living on my filesystem, certainly does change. Timestamp, checksum, everything. Remember that the purpose of my using ebook-viewer is because it's the only software I've found that does allow me to treat Epub files as files in my filesystem and not as documents in some content management system -- but only almost.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:25 PM   #4
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If you're willing to submit a patch, sure. I have no interest in implementing it myself.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
If you're willing to submit a patch, sure. I have no interest in implementing it myself.
It might be a while, assuming I ever get to it -- but I wanted to make sure that the patch in principle might get accepted first. Am I right in guessing that Linux is probably the easiest place to hack on it?
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:36 PM   #6
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You can run calibre from source trivially on any platform. See the User Manual for instructions.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:36 PM   #7
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Have you tried Lucidor? (lucidor.org). It's lightweight, runs freestanding or as a firefox plugin, and you can configure it to either copy the .epub to its own directory, or to leave the book where it was found. I can't speak for MAC, being windows atm, but it certainly does not update my files.

It has the occasional rough edge - its still in beta - but I like it for its clean simple interface.

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Old 06-04-2010, 05:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowman View Post
Have you tried Lucidor? (lucidor.org). It's lightweight, runs freestanding or as a firefox plugin, and you can configure it to either copy the .epub to its own directory, or to leave the book where it was found. I can't speak for MAC, being windows atm, but it certainly does not update my files.

It has the occasional rough edge - its still in beta - but I like it for its clean simple interface.

Snowman
I've tried downloading Lucidor twice. Both times, wouldn't even run. Might be usable once it's stable, though; I have no experience with using it.

Kovid, thanks. I'll have a look next week when I have some free time.
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