Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Day: March 29, 2008

ePublishing Best Practices

As part of the review I was doing of the eBookWise-1150, I played some with their publishing tools. The device maker, eBook Technologies, Inc. (ETI), has some tools for publishers, and I tried both a batch processing tool and an interactive one. I say “played” with them because I only tried a few things, and there were many features, especially to the interactive tool. The tools looked very solid. I have also played around some with the Kindle Digital Text Platform. I do this to learn the tools, but also to keep myself honest. We advise clients on these devices and also the workflow surrounding eBook creation. Our clients don’t expect us to know every bell and whistle, but they do expect us to understand what is possible and not possible.

The more eBooks become attractive options for publishers, the more issues of publishing to multiple formats and platforms become important for publishers. Our experience so far has been that the most typical requirement for publishers is the need to produce eBooks in many different formats and not just one (this despite sensible solutions like IDPF’s EPUB format). And they need to do this efficiently. This is a practical reality of the marketplace today as no one eBook format has won the format war, no one channel is dominating sales, and indeed no one channel is typically worth doing on its own. The revenues simply are not there yet. (Indeed, even if you decide that you will only do, say, PDF-based eBooks, the similarities from one channel to the next end with the PDF extension, necessitating technologies like codeMantra’s Universal PDF).

Adobe is one of the vendors supporting EPUB, and their Digital Editions developer site has some good resources. They just added an EPUB Best Practices Guide (in, not surprisingly, EPUB format, so you can download Digital Editions if you want to get right to reading it).

First Public Working Draft of Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Requirements Version 2.0

Some news from the W3C:

The XSL Working Group has published the First Public Working Draft of Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Requirements Version 2.0. This document enumerates the collected requirements for a 2.0 version of XSL Formatting Objects (XSL-FO), not for XSLT. XSL-FO is widely deployed in industry and academia where multiple output forms (typically print and online) are needed from single source XML. It is used in many diverse applications and countries on a large number of implementations to create technical documentation, reports and contracts, terms and conditions, invoices and other forms processing, such as driver’s licenses and postal forms. The XSL Working Group invites people to help prioritize the feature set of XSL 2.0 by completing a survey until the end of September 2008.

I talk to developers who have ideas about improving XLST. Now is your chance.