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Old 03-13-2016, 11:40 AM   #1
pittendrigh
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Ebook software development forums?

I'm a retired software developer interested in ebook software development issues. This very cool forum seems to be about making and reading ebooks, rather than making the software that makes ebooks. Is there such a forum? I can't find one.

In other words I want to make ebooks--but I also want to make authoring software that makes ebooks. And to work on extending ebook file formats.

Issues I'm interested in are extending public domain formats so they can better support embedded video, wifi hyperlinks to the outside world and how to embed supplementary pages outside the confines of the chapters and pages concept.

Does anybody know the address(es) of discussion forums for ebook software developers?
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:30 PM   #2
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I am confused.
Are you wanting to write the books or just the software to put the books together?
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:37 PM   #3
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MobileRead hosts E-Book Software forums. You might also find what you're seeking (and if not, might find it fruitful to create a forum such as the one you're describing) at XDA-Developers .

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Old 03-13-2016, 03:10 PM   #4
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You could look at Github. A search there using "ereader". Using "ebook" gets you 3683 returns. "ebook authoring" gets you an interesting 16 returns.

Luck;
Ken

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Old 03-13-2016, 03:50 PM   #5
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The big format that is open for ebooks is epub. Epub3 tries to implement such features as you are interested in. http://idpf.org/ is the organization that implements it. Then there is readium, which is an implementation of a reader for epub3, that is open source.

For making epubs, there is sigil and the calibre editor. The developers of both are here on mobileread and both have subforums here. Both support plugins, that can be written by anyone.

Another field is converting documents to ebooks. Here on this site, look for example at toxaris word addin. An all purpose converter is pandoc.

There are software projects like scrivener, for writing software etc.
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:40 PM   #6
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Post in the "Workshop" forum here. I'm sure you'll get some useful responses.
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post
For making epubs, there is sigil and the calibre editor. The developers of both are here on mobileread and both have subforums here. Both support plugins, that can be written by anyone.
In addition to this free software there are also commercial programmes available. Atlantis and Jutoh come to mind. Atlantis only produces epub output, but Jutoh allows a book to be output in many ebook formats.

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Another field is converting documents to ebooks. Here on this site, look for example at toxaris word addin.
Open Office also has a plugin for this - Write2epub and has a forum here at https://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=230
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:27 PM   #8
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Good information. Thank you. Yes I want to both make ebooks and to work with the underlying software and file formats. I'll look more closely at epub3. And at the Workshop sub-forum here.
Thank you! One of my main study techniques is to go to an existing forum and then to read through the last year or so of posts.

When I read ebooks with my Android tablet (with various readers) I find the experience lacking. I'd like to have an option to have the text flow around an always on top TOC. I'd like to see embedded images be expandable when ever possible (tap on the image and then see a large format HiRes version that temporarily overtakes the screen). And embedded video and hyperlinks that work. And have a way to offer supplementary background information in addition to chapters and pages 1...N

I'll have to study epub and epub3 (I should have done that first but I didn't know about epub3) because it's still not clear to me how much of this (lacking features) is due to file format limitations and how much is the result of the author not including available capabilities.

All of what I envision could be supported now by a web server Content Management System that produces pages that look and act like a book. That's a direction I'm currently working on too.

I'm also interested in writing an http://lxml.de/ converter that, with a mouse click, could transform and epub3 into a website and then back again, from website back to epub3

Last edited by pittendrigh; 03-13-2016 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by pittendrigh View Post
Good information. Thank you. Yes I want to both make ebooks and to work with the underlying software and file formats. I'll look more closely at epub3. And at the workshop sub-forum here.
Thank you!

When I read ebooks with my Android tablet (with various readers) I find the experience lacking. I'd like to have an option to have the text flow around an always on top TOC. I'd like to see embedded images be expandable when ever possible (click on the image and then see a large format HiRes version that temporarily overtakes the screen). And embedded video and hyperlinks that work. And have a way to offer supplementary background information in addition to chapters and pages 1...N

I'll have to study epub and epub3 (I should have done that first but I didn't know about epub3) because it's still not clear to me how much of this (lacking features) is due to file format limitations and how much is the result of the author not including available capabilities.
It might also be the device or app limitations.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:49 PM   #10
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I don't know what epub3 allows and what not, but all that you want to do is possible with html, css and javascript. But not everyone is comfortable with javascript in a document format. And how to implement that on eReaders etc. I sometimes wonder, why there isn't a one file format for "websites" that is sellable. For now something like that has to be wrapped in an app. But epub3 should at least make some of the things you want available. But making webapps out of books would even allows things such as quizzes, interactive coding etc. available.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:53 PM   #11
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...it's still not clear to me how much of this (lacking features) is due to file format limitations and how much is the result of the author not including available capabilities.
...
It's neither. Those things you describe are all things that would need to be features added to the reader software/firmware. The existing formats, ePub3 and Amazon's own advanced flavors of it's Kindle format, don't prevent a reader from performing those feats.
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Old 03-13-2016, 07:35 PM   #12
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Yes. OK. Epub3 is spot on. Looks like only the readers have to enhanced.

EPUB 3.1 supports audio and video embedded in HTML Content Documents via the new [HTML5] audio and video elements, inheriting all the functionality and features these elements provide. (For information on supported audio formats, please refer to Core Media Types [EPUB31]. For recommendations on embedding video, refer to Reading System Conformance [EPUB31].)

Considering most tablets maintain wifi connectivity to the wwweb I'm beginning to wonder what good the file formats are. Why not connect to a website that looks and acts like a book? Browsers already support all of the above.

An Apache web server plugin that could read an epub file and display it like a website is an interesting idea. Epub is just XML and PHP has a full-featured XPath library. So reading such a file would just be a small matter of programming.

If you're running the Grand Canyon in a white water dory or bonefishing in the Bahamas you might not have wifi connectivity. But most of the time....

Last edited by pittendrigh; 03-13-2016 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittendrigh View Post
Yes. OK. Epub3 is spot on. Looks like only the readers have to enhanced.

EPUB 3.1 supports audio and video embedded in HTML Content Documents via the new [HTML5] audio and video elements, inheriting all the functionality and features these elements provide. (For information on supported audio formats, please refer to Core Media Types [EPUB31]. For recommendations on embedding video, refer to Reading System Conformance [EPUB31].)

Considering most tablets maintain wifi connectivity to the wwweb I'm beginning to wonder what good the file formats are. Why not connect to a website that looks and acts like a book? Browsers already support all of the above.

An Apache web server plugin that could read an epub file and display it like a website is an interesting idea. Epub is just XML and PHP has a full-featured XPath library. So reading such a file would just be a small matter of programming.

If you're running the Grand Canyon in a white water dory or bonefishing in the Bahamas you might not have wifi connectivity. But most of the time....
Most people I know leave the wifi off on their ereaders.
And as for your assumption that wifi is everywhere, I invite you to come to Texas. Wifi and or cell service is not guaranteed. It is not ubiquitous.
So no an internet-based ereader would not be extremely useful.

What exactly are you wanting to do that is unique and different?
What kinds of e-books are you thinking?
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:04 PM   #14
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Yes. OK. Epub3 is spot on.
If you're interested in ePub3, you should definitely check out Sigil. Unlike Calibre, which doesn't support ePub3, Sigil 0.9.4 is pretty much ePub3 feature complete and thanks to a simple Python plugin framework, you could easily add whatever functionality you need.

Quote:
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Looks like only the readers have to enhanced.
Actually, there are already a couple of very decent free ePub3 reading apps out there.

iOS/Android:
Gitden Reader, Namo PubtreeViewer, Adobe Digital Editions, Menestrello
PC/OSX: Azardi, Adobe Digital Editions 4.5.x
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:15 PM   #15
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RE> "What exactly are you wanting to do that is unique and different?"


I live in Montana where connectivity is spotty too. I think this discussion has already told me what I need. I could have doped this all out on my own but here it happened much faster. Thank you all.

I want to be able to transform an epub file into a website with a utility. http://lxml.de/ could be used to do that. Then I want to have another as yet not existing utility that could transform said website (perhaps after some manual HTML/CSS editing) back into an epub file.

That in a nutshell is what I want to do. I already have the CMS (content management system) that looks and acts like a book. I want to be able to use it to display any epub file. So I need the epub to html fragments utility.

Plus I want to be able to edit said HTML manually, on the server with a ssh connection a terminal window and vi, and then run another utility to transform that website back into epub. When ever needed. At the click of a mouse.

I hadn't realized epub3 even existed. I looked at epub, which does not support multi-media, and thought I was a long way off. Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Last edited by pittendrigh; 03-13-2016 at 08:17 PM.
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