Sausage & Laws; or, Making P+E books with CSS & HTML

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A talk at Books in Browsers 2013, about making print books (& ebooks) with HTML & CSS using PressBooks.

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Sausage & Laws; or, Making P+E books with CSS & HTML

  1. 1. Sausage & Laws
  2. 2. or...
  3. 3. In the trenches building print books & ebooks using HTML + CSS
  4. 4. @hughmguire @pressbooks pressbooks.com
  5. 5. PressBooks is a: content management system & export system for books.
  6. 6. Input your book once, we output: * * * * * PDF (typeset) EPUB (for iBooks, Nook etc) MOBI (for Kindle) Web other XML
  7. 7. For every book, customizable template ebook & PDF output: ibooks kindle print (pdf)
  8. 8. Some things that I think are really interesting about PressBooks:
  9. 9. 1. All PressBooks books have a native web version, out of the box.
  10. 10. (publishers, authors and readers don’t care)
  11. 11. 2. PressBooks is open source.
  12. 12. (publishers, authors and readers don’t care)
  13. 13. 3. With an online system like PressBooks it’s easy to make an API for books.
  14. 14. (publishers, authors and readers don’t care)
  15. 15. except...
  16. 16. 4. PressBooks is a single-source book production system that produces PDF, EPUB & MOBI...
  17. 17. !!interesting!!
  18. 18. publishers, authors want to hear more!! (readers don’t care)
  19. 19. ... using HTML + CSS!!
  20. 20. (publishers, authors and readers don’t care)
  21. 21. Conclusion:
  22. 22. Publishers and authors are interested in ways to: a) save money b) make money
  23. 23. "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made." -- (mis)attributed to Otto van Bismarck
  24. 24. A couple of PDFs built with CSS + HTML
  25. 25. Another one...
  26. 26. The Power of Stylesheets & a CMS
  27. 27. The Catch.
  28. 28. CSS doesn’t handle fine-tuned typography vey well.
  29. 29. ... widows ... orphans ... bottom-balancing(!) ... bad breaks ... flowing text around strange stuff.
  30. 30. ... widows & orphans can be controlled with: p { widows: 2; orphans: 2; }
  31. 31. ... but the penalty is bad bottom-balancing:
  32. 32. .loose { letter-spacing: 0.25px; word-spacing: 0.075em; }
  33. 33. .tight { letter-spacing: -0.25px; word-spacing: -0.075em; }
  34. 34. If the W3C (et al) can figure out how to solve/address bottom-balancing with CSS... CSS will become an obvious choice for typesetting print/pages.
  35. 35. It might happen anyway.
  36. 36. @hughmguire @pressbooks pressbooks.com

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