Mobileread
ePub creation tools : what's missing ? wishlist / dialogue
#11  kovidgoyal 01-23-2009, 03:33 PM
Quote zelda_pinwheel
why are 1 and 2 incompatible, kovid ?
If you accept aribtrary HTML as input and want to output standards compliant HTML the only way to do that is to basically strip the HTML down to a basic internal markup and then re-export it. This is for example what BookDesigner does. There is no way you can accept arbitrary HTML input and losslessly convert it to standards compliant HTML output (and no htmltidy doesn't do this).

So really what the tool will have to do is:

1) Accept html input
2) parse the html input into some simple internal markup
3) Try to auto identify structural components (or ask the user to provide input to help identify them)
4) Provide an editor interface for the internal markup
5) Export the internal markup to EPUB
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#12  mtravellerh 01-23-2009, 03:36 PM
That sounds really good. I would like to have a way for direct source access and editing, though, maybe a search and replace with RegEx (I use regular expressions quite a lot). Otherwise a GUI thing would be great. One free open source wysiwyg editor that springs to mind is NVU, an open source editor I use a lot is Notepad ++. As those are open source, they could be easily integrated as edit tools.
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#13  Valloric 01-23-2009, 03:37 PM
Quote kovidgoyal
So really what the tool will have to do is:

1) Accept html input
2) parse the html input into some simple internal markup
3) Try to auto identify structural components (or ask the user to provide input to help identify them)
4) Provide an editor interface for the internal markup
5) Export the internal markup to EPUB
My understanding exactly. Only I'm thinking of making the "simple" internal markup not so simple. But yes, one has to parse the initial HTML and create a new one.
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#14  mtravellerh 01-23-2009, 03:41 PM
Quote kovidgoyal
If you accept aribtrary HTML as input and want to output standards compliant HTML the only way to do that is to basically strip the HTML down to a basic internal markup and then re-export it. This is for example what BookDesigner does. There is no way you can accept arbitrary HTML input and losslessly convert it to standards compliant HTML output (and no htmltidy doesn't do this).

So really what the tool will have to do is:

1) Accept html input
2) parse the html input into some simple internal markup
3) Try to auto identify structural components (or ask the user to provide input to help identify them)
4) Provide an editor interface for the internal markup
5) Export the internal markup to EPUB
If you do that (5), people like Coolmicro will get up and shout again that the resulting epub is not conform to standard and that the html code is not "clean". (I really do not care about "clean or dirty" code myself, as long as it does what it has to do, like Calibre does for example). So I am all for it.
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#15  zelda_pinwheel 01-23-2009, 03:47 PM
Quote Valloric
This is exactly how I see an epub editor: a tool that facilitates the manual creation of an epub book from pre-existing text. BD for epub... without the suck.
yes, please without the suck.
Quote kovidgoyal
If you accept aribtrary HTML as input and want to output standards compliant HTML the only way to do that is to basically strip the HTML down to a basic internal markup and then re-export it. This is for example what BookDesigner does. There is no way you can accept arbitrary HTML input and losslessly convert it to standards compliant HTML output (and no htmltidy doesn't do this).

So really what the tool will have to do is:

1) Accept html input
2) parse the html input into some simple internal markup
3) Try to auto identify structural components (or ask the user to provide input to help identify them)
4) Provide an editor interface for the internal markup
5) Export the internal markup to EPUB
okay, i see what you mean. you are right of course ; i was making the assumption that the input would be clean and valid code, which cannot necessarily be assumed.

out of curiosity, Valloric, have you seen the feedbooks wysiwyg editor ? i HIGHLY recommend you take a look at it and at how the book creation process is handled ; it is excellent, and it is easily accessible even to people who know nothing at all about html / css, however also gives access to the source code for more knowledgeable users. really, in my mind, the tool i would like would be very close to the feedbooks interface, with just a few modifications. notably i definitely want to be able to insert images, which feedbooks does not yet support.
Quote mtravellerh
If you do that (5), people like Coolmicro will get up and shout again that the resulting epub is not conform to standard and that the html code is not "clean". (I really do not care about "clean or dirty" code myself, as long as it does what it has to do, like Calibre does for example). So I am all for it.
why ? the exported code can easily be clean, that is one of the goals.
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#16  Valloric 01-23-2009, 03:50 PM
Quote mtravellerh
If you do that (5), people like Coolmicro will get up and shout again that the resulting epub is not conform to standard and that the html code is not "clean". (I really do not care about "clean or dirty" code myself, as long as it does what it has to do, like Calibre does for example). So I am all for it.
An epub file either conforms to the standard, or it doesn't. It is not a matter of opinion.

On "clean" vs "dirty" code, this is very much a matter of opinion, so it depends on the person reading the code.
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#17  kovidgoyal 01-23-2009, 03:54 PM
Actually, I've been thinking about this problem on and off and to me it seems like the whole concept of WYSWYG editors is flawed. Instead I've been thinking about a side-by-side editor.

The editor will allow you to edit txt files in a simple lightweight markup language like rest or markdown (it will have GUI controls to make it easy, rather like the editor we use to make posts to mobileread). As you make changes the result will be automatically updated and displayed in a pane to the side of the editor pane.

So editing books will be about as hard as making posts on mobileread.
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#18  tompe 01-23-2009, 03:57 PM
Quote kovidgoyal
Actually, I've been thinking about this problem on and off and to me it seems like the whole concept of WYSWYG editors is flawed. Instead I've been thinking about a side-by-side editor.
Of course it is. Emacs is the ultimate editor and LaTeX the ultimate markup language...

I think the approach you describe is a good approach.
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#19  Jellby 01-23-2009, 03:58 PM
Quote brewt
Font Embedding. The only thing that'll do that off-the-shelf now is Indesign, and well, that's the only thing it does "well".
Font embedding (or at least basic embedding) seems to be quite simple. I guess WISIWYG support is a different thing.

Quote Valloric
My current working idea is this: the editor exports two types of epub files. Both are standards compliant. One follows the standard and nothing else. No size limits, no special margins etc. Pure epub, without any consideration for the reading application or the platform. Let's call this "Standards Epub".

Then there's the second output option. This epub type is also fully compliant, but has the size limitations, special margins and other necessities for an enjoyable read on something like the Sony Reader. Let's call this "Mobile Epub".
I would have different configurable parameters, like maximum file size, maximum nesting level, whether or not to support some optional features... and have the software issue a warning if these limits are exceeded. It shouldn't be so hard to have a "Warn if text files are larger that ____KB" setting.
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#20  mtravellerh 01-23-2009, 04:00 PM
Quote zelda_pinwheel
out of curiosity, Valloric, have you seen the feedbooks wysiwyg editor ? i HIGHLY recommend you take a look at it and at how the book creation process is handled ; it is excellent, and it is easily accessible even to people who know nothing at all about html / css, however also gives access to the source code for more knowledgeable users. really, in my mind, the tool i would like would be very close to the feedbooks interface, with just a few modifications. notably i definitely want to be able to insert images, which feedbooks does not yet support.
Hmm, yes. Actually, like I said elsewhere, if one were able to get Hadrien's codes, one could easily run an internal webserver with those on it and have an "offline" app (with a few addons for image manipulations, for example)
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