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Old 01-06-2008, 09:55 AM   #1
acemccloudxx
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Content Management

I'm new to the mobile reader game - but not new to ebooks and quite frankly, I am unhappy with the choices for managing content.

What is the use of being an experienced Java developer if I can't use my skills to solve my own problems?

So I have started a project to "build a better mousetrap". Anyone who is interested in participating, please contact me by email or IM. This will be an open source project using other open source tools and libraries.

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Old 01-06-2008, 10:08 AM   #2
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I don't program in Java, but I can help with giving you ideas for some of the features.
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Old 01-06-2008, 10:14 PM   #3
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Well, it will need user testing. Users have no preconceived notions about how the software is supposed to work, so they try to use it in ways that the programmers never imagined.

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Old 01-06-2008, 11:25 PM   #4
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So what do you plan for your "better mousetrap" to do?

Is your "content management" an indexing/cataloging application? Is it a formatting application? What are the designer parameters?

BTW: While not a JAVA programmer, I did spend many years in application system design.
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:06 AM   #5
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1. I want to be able to import a variety of file formats. At this point, I am planning on storing them in a format neutral database.

2. I want to be able to export the same variety of file formats.

3. I want the usual sorts of catalog functions for listing and finding documents.

4. I want to be able to read the documents.

Extra credit

5. I want to be able to create new documents or update existing documents.

6. I want my content automatically backed up to my second drive.

7. I want to be able to manage the content on my reader.

Bonus extra credit

8. I want to be able to share content over the network with friends or coworkers.
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Old 01-07-2008, 02:39 AM   #6
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When you say "import" and "export", I assume you mean convert to/from? And which of these goals are you aiming for in version 0.1?
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:33 AM   #7
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acemccloudxx:
you might want to look at kovidgoyals libprs500 software to see if it's what you need first, especially since you're using a sony (which it sounds like it caters to). It doesn't currently have a good mass-import feature, which prevented me from really trying it out much.

There's also "My ebook library", ... which seems pretty nice on first glance, but lacks what I consider to be a few critical features, and might be windows only. Mostly what kept me from continuing to use it after a few minutes of playing around, was that there was no way to select multiple books and edit the information for them all at once. I expect to be able to select a group of books and say that they are all some author, etc.

Ideally, I think the software should sort of be a cross between windows photo gallery, and itunes.

I'm also a java programmer (though I'm not opposed to programming in any language), so I might be interested in working on something. I think really good ebook cataloging software will be written eventually though, so I don't want to bother working on something that doesn't seem like it will end up being it.

There is quite a bit of ebook cataloging software out there. It's a big project that should be done well, and it seems like there's a lot of distributed effort in various less-than-ideal projects. Each piece of software I see has one or two of the features I seek implemented, but I feel like none will really be all that useful to me until all features are implemented in one piece of software.

Basically what I'm saying is, spend some time looking around first to make sure there isn't already a project out there that it would be more useful to contribute to, rather than starting another project that does one or two cool things but overall isn't all that useful.

I'm gonna go take a look at "ebook explorer 1.1" and "eKitaab" which I haven't tried yet.

looking at the ekitaab's website now, it might be good actually. it doesn't store a database at all, but just edits the filename to store the author, title, and isbn. Once that info is in the title, other software like "my ebook library" will also recognize all the files for what they are.

oh... and ekitaab is written in Java....... we'll see.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:11 AM   #8
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Kovidgoyal: I want to keep the documents in a format that implements a superset of the features offered by various formats. A simple, mundane example is quotation marks - some programs differentiate between left and right quotation marks. It's easy enough to downgrade the file to plain quotation marks when exporting to a format that does not differentiate (text, LRS/LRF).

I also want a format that is easy to manipulate because I plan on creating my own content. That's why I was thinking of using a database (Derby) with an object relational mapping package (Hibernate). So when I say "import" and "export" - I really do mean that.

As far as my goals for the first implementation - something very minimal, importing at least two formats (LRS and maybe PDF). Export one format (LRF?). A simple GUI that can display the catalog.

nairbv: I agree that there are lots of pieces but no complete solution. I looked at the two items you suggested. I don't like the approach that ekitaab uses, nor does it meet all of my needs. "ebook explorer" is a Windows only product and I am seriously considering making my next computer purchase a Mac.

I have to admit that I would rather contribute to a project than start my own - the synergy of a group effort can be powerful. However, I also want what I want and if nobody else is going in a direction that I like, I'll have to do it myself.

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Old 01-07-2008, 09:13 AM   #9
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I was hoping when you said "managing content" that you meant you would be writing the better cataloging program. That's what most of us need. I for one do nt need this to do format conversion. I just need a better way to keep track of the content I have.
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:05 AM   #10
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Managing content is definitely one of the major features that I need too. I'm a big iTunes fan and something that can do for my books what it does for music is a big MUST for me.

There's more that I want though. I don't just want to be able to create my own content, I also want to be able to fix typos in some of the content that I have. I also want to be able to keep together things that belong together - like the books of a series.

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Old 01-07-2008, 10:19 AM   #11
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There's more that I want though. I don't just want to be able to create my own content, I also want to be able to fix typos in some of the content that I have. I also want to be able to keep together things that belong together - like the books of a series.
Why build that into one application?

I do not think it is a good idea to convert a file to another format and not have the original as the master file. And for DRM:ed files you can probably only edit meta information and not information in the book.
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:40 AM   #12
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For me, DRM files are pretty much irrelevant - perhaps 0.1% of my content is DRM. Perhaps the publishers will get their thumbs out of their ... noses and this will change but, since conventional books aren't the only kind content that I want to manage, I doubt it.

I guess that the motivation for "one tool" is philosophical. Different people have different ways of looking at things. I think that a single, carefully integrated solution can do what I want to do with less hassle than a bunch of individual tools, each with its own peculiarities.

I'm not sure how to answer the "master file" question, other than to say that I wasn't planning on deleting files that the user imports. Again, that may be a philosophical issue - I'm interested in the words, not the file that they're in.

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Old 01-07-2008, 11:57 AM   #13
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Unless you're wedded to Java, I'd highly recommend checking out libprs500. It's under active development and I'm very open to adding more developers :-)
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:55 PM   #14
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I'm not sure how to answer the "master file" question, other than to say that I wasn't planning on deleting files that the user imports. Again, that may be a philosophical issue - I'm interested in the words, not the file that they're in.
But you import will not be perfect and you will want to redo it when you add some enhancement.
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:01 PM   #15
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Managing content is definitely one of the major features that I need too. I'm a big iTunes fan and something that can do for my books what it does for music is a big MUST for me.

There's more that I want though. I don't just want to be able to create my own content, I also want to be able to fix typos in some of the content that I have. I also want to be able to keep together things that belong together - like the books of a series.

Ace
Please DO NOT base your program on iTunes. Lots of people hate iTunes. And I am one of them. So please just do it from the ground up without any format conversion or storing of the source content.
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