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Old 05-01-2024, 05:59 PM   #1
Jaws
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Question Flattening ePubs

Is there a way, inside the editor, to flatten the structure of an ePub? I know one can do an epub-to-epub conversion and check the box to flatten in the conversion parameters, but that introduces some problems of its own in omnibus editions.

I've tried checking all of the menus, all the right-clicks that make any sense to me, and all of the select-by-icon options. Am I missing something, or is this something that is held away from the editor (or, for that matter, the Polish function in the main, non-editor window) for Reasons?
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Old 05-01-2024, 06:06 PM   #2
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Of of curiosity, what is your reason for wanting to flatten the structure of an ePub? I can't see any advantages to doing so.
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Old 05-02-2024, 03:47 AM   #3
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Have you tried tools > Arrange into folders?
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Old 05-02-2024, 05:43 AM   #4
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Of of curiosity, what is your reason for wanting to flatten the structure of an ePub? I can't see any advantages to doing so.
I agree that there is no good reason to flatten an ePub.
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Old 05-02-2024, 01:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
Of of curiosity, what is your reason for wanting to flatten the structure of an ePub? I can't see any advantages to doing so.
Because when adding to an omnibus edition with later-published pieces, if one doesn't flatten the epub one ends up with a bunch of overlapping filenames, inconsistent folder depth, duplicated elements* and random renaming, and so on. Which then gets even more fun when even later volumes get added, especially under another substantive-content editor (example: The Cambridge History of Science was "complete" with six volumes and then added a seventh one that wasn't even contemplated until after the first four volumes had been published; closer to popular concerns, remember that George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series was supposed to be complete in three books…).

I freely admit this is an uncommon preference. But I want it. I want the pony, too, even though I'm not one of the kewl kidz eager to throw away cross-medium structural integrity and labelling consistency because that would be kewl. (And no, you kidz don't get to object that this is meaningless until you've been the series editor for multivolume works released across a decade or more and had to resolve this for reprints/reissues yourself. Get off my lawn!)

So my question stands. I want the option/ability, not a default...

* Admittedly, this is most often the publisher's fault. Very few publishers manage to design, let alone follow, a stylesheet established for "volume 1" several years later in "volume 6," even leaving aside "we've converted from stand-alone InDesign to the cloud version, changed our default house typeface, and brought in a new advertising director who wants all of the back-of-the-book ads to follow her preferences" problems. It's especially annoying when there are tables that need to be compared across volumes, footnotes/endnotes, and other nonlinear-narrative elements. (That is, the stuff that HTML was supposed to make possible for scientists to exchange in the first place.)
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Old 05-02-2024, 01:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jaws View Post
Because when adding to an omnibus edition with later-published pieces, if one doesn't flatten the epub one ends up with a bunch of overlapping filenames, inconsistent folder depth, duplicated elements* and random renaming, and so on. Which then gets even more fun when even later volumes get added, especially under another substantive-content editor (example: The Cambridge History of Science was "complete" with six volumes and then added a seventh one that wasn't even contemplated until after the first four volumes had been published; closer to popular concerns, remember that George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series was supposed to be complete in three books…).

I freely admit this is an uncommon preference. But I want it. I want the pony, too, even though I'm not one of the kewl kidz eager to throw away cross-medium structural integrity and labelling consistency because that would be kewl. (And no, you kidz don't get to object that this is meaningless until you've been the series editor for multivolume works released across a decade or more and had to resolve this for reprints/reissues yourself. Get off my lawn!)

So my question stands. I want the option/ability, not a default...

* Admittedly, this is most often the publisher's fault. Very few publishers manage to design, let alone follow, a stylesheet established for "volume 1" several years later in "volume 6," even leaving aside "we've converted from stand-alone InDesign to the cloud version, changed our default house typeface, and brought in a new advertising director who wants all of the back-of-the-book ads to follow her preferences" problems. It's especially annoying when there are tables that need to be compared across volumes, footnotes/endnotes, and other nonlinear-narrative elements. (That is, the stuff that HTML was supposed to make possible for scientists to exchange in the first place.)
What happens is the CSS gets made. Then new classes are added and so on but the unused classes are still there. So by the time you get to volume 6, the CSS is even larger.

The solution for what you are doing is to make a new directory for each book. Then you don't have to worry about duplicate file names and which files go with which books. I would leave together the CSS as I would only have one file, the graphics I would put together unless these are books with enough graphics to make separate directories for the graphics, and any fonts I would put in one directory if there are fonts you want to keep, chances are there could be the same fonts in multiple books so you'd only need the copy of each font. Just make sure you rename the graphics as needed. But the HTML can be in different directories for each book This way you don't need to flatten and you have an ePub that's easy to find the bits you want.
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Old 05-03-2024, 12:53 AM   #7
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The problem with that is that if one has — after substantial hand-editing — all of the nicely arranged files with nonduplicative filenames in Omnibus{1-6} created by group-merging volumes 1-6, and then volume 7 comes out, merging 7 into Omnibus{1-6} is, umm, nightmarish; and if there's ever volume 8... The editor doesn't show the subfolders, and one ends up with duplicate filenames that differ only by the invisible subfolders. And it's even worse when losing all meaningful filenames (as in a conversion from an azw source file). Conversely, if the filenames were made unique and not dependent upon subfolder references, flattening the epub makes the rest at least manageable (well, except when footnotes/endnotes are involved, but that's a huge gaping hole in epubs and the Kindle formats no matter what).

I suspect that the only way I'm getting that pony is in a bottle of glue.
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Old 05-03-2024, 01:17 AM   #8
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Flattening is not a sufficiently common/useful transform for me to spend time/UI space on it. It's only present in epub output because there used to be some reading software that could not handle sub folders in EPUB
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