Monday, March 16, 2009

Buzzword features ePUB export

More about collaboration and Adobe. A Twitter alert from Paul Norton links to an Adobe blog. It turns out that Buzzword can now export ePUB, the format for Adobe Digital Editions, the Sony Reader and Stanza for the iPhone.

So first thing to say is that this is fantastic. The eBook is now getting real. "Desktop Publishing" had a limitation that the professionals had design tools quite a bit better than highstreet software. The display in a Sony Reader is not much better than a 1930s paperback, really just a galley of text. Some graphics are possible but they are not the point. So Buzzword seems a good way to create for this environment. It is all some form of html at every stage, as far as I can tell.

Infogrid Pacific have a method for creating ePUB from Open Office. You have to start with their template. I have not compared both yet but I guess the Open Office approach would cope with headings that created a contents for the ePUB. Buzzword is just a section at a time as far as I can discover. But things change and at least there is now a choice of desktop or cloud methods. No ePUB export in Google docs yet that I have found.

Another thing to say is that Adobe seems increasingly strange. The Acrobat dialogue through official websites has almost no discussion on the XML future of PDF as in Mars or XMLPDF. The ePUB format has a lot more publicity, mostly from other companies and small blogs, interested in XML and open standards. A cloud publishing solution for ePUB is worth a bit of promotion, you might think. There seems to be the PDF products that presumably still bring in some income but are not being developed, the Flash future that is heavily promoted, and ePUB that gets a small mention in a blog.

By the way, the Mars Inspector works fine with ePUB as well as XMLPDF. I tried it again to look at the ePUB exported from Buzzword. However it failed to load as apparently it required a previous version of AIR. So I downloaded it again. Same file. What I needed to do was to uninstall it, download a later version of AIR, reinstall the XML zipfile inspector, then it was ok. So Adobe has forced me to download another copy of AIR although what I wanted was working earlier anyway. Most of the time what I want is flat pages of text. Could it be more complicated?


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