The Beauty of Web-First Workflows (for Books)
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The Beauty of Web-First Workflows (for Books)

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Book production -- for ebooks AND print -- can be done easily & beautifully if we start on the web, with easy tools that support structured HTML, CSS, and templating.

Book production -- for ebooks AND print -- can be done easily & beautifully if we start on the web, with easy tools that support structured HTML, CSS, and templating.

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  • Absolutely brilliant!

    I hope to use these thoughts as a way to demonstrate that our multimedia (web development, etc.) and publishing (book production, etc.) and information science (’traditional’ library science) students have a lot to learn from each other - and that HTML is the glue that sticks everyone together.
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The Beauty of Web-First Workflows (for Books) The Beauty of Web-First Workflows (for Books) Presentation Transcript

  • the beauty of web-first workflows Hugh McGuire @hughmcguire @pressbookshttp://pressbooks.com
  • (for books)
  • where are we withbook formats?
  • ePub 2
  • ePub 3
  • azw(aka mobi aka kindle)
  • kindle 8
  • ... and don’t forget:
  • HTML(aka “The Internet”)
  • oh, also don’t forget...
  • ...paper.
  • what unites all of the above?
  • they are all based on HTML
  • (except for paper, of course)
  • ebooks are just a special kind ofwebsite, designed to be read in a special kind of browser
  • and given that ebooks are just special websites, it’s ... funny? ironic? unsurprising? really annoying? ...
  • ... that we’ve landed in a similar problem to the web, circa everything prior to 2006:
  • browser wars
  • remember this?
  • <!--[if IE 6]>        <link rel="stylesheet"type="text/css" href="ie6.css" /><![endif]-->
  • But we fixed all that, more or less: with standards based browsers.
  • means:one CSS to rule them all
  • ok: two CSSes ...don’t forget mobile browers(please, don’t forget them)
  • the solution is: standards based structure and relatively consistent (&dynamic if need be) application of CSS ...
  • you build a website once, cross your fingers, and it shows up on all thosebrowsers (safari, chrome, firefox, opera + mobile) more or less the way you expected it to.
  • we’re not there yet (quite) with books. but we’re not far.
  • Kindle 8 introduces new HTML5 tags andnew CSS attributes
  • ... which is suspiciously close to the ePub 3 standard.
  • (did you notice that everything is converging on HTML5 ... web standards?)
  • so now with: -- good structure -- good CSS-- and good templating systems you should be able to get:
  • 1. a beautiful web book thatrenders nicely on computers (from pressbooks:)
  • 2. make a beautiful web book thatrenders on mobile devices (from pressbooks:)
  • 2. make a beautiful book that renders on ...* Kindle (also on iPhone/iPad/Android) * Fire * Kobo (Kobo on etc) * Kobo Vox * iBooks (iPad/iPhone) ... (from PressBooks:)
  • nice. life is looking good.structure + style + templates = easy-peasy bookmaking formultiple formats & multiple devices.
  • wait. shit.
  • did we forget about the mostdominant reading format & browser?
  • ... paper?...bookbooks?
  • is paper the ie6of bookmaking in 2011?
  • not necessarily.
  • question:
  • why have we made great and ubiquitous systems to make iteasy for any dummy (like me) to make a beautiful website...
  • ...but we haven’t made anything like that for bookbooks?
  • is it too hard?
  • no, actually the tools are outthere ... they’re just really ugly to use (right now).someone’s got to make something that does this easily & well.
  • it turns out that if we start with structured HTML...we can get to a nicely structured,typeset book (from PressBooks):
  • so in theory, we can start with tool that is aseasy to use as the easiest blogging engine...
  • ... and pump lovely, templated books in all formats: -- epub -- kindle 8 -- HTML (of course!) ... AND -- paper
  • which means:
  • we can stop spending lots of time& money on designing, producing lots of different formats of one book...
  • and instead, spend our time andenergy on more important things like:
  • 1. writing, finding, and editing great books
  • 2. finding new, and better ways to connect books to the people who love them
  • SO:
  • the beauty of web-first book production is that we can spend more timeon the things that really matter.
  • I am: Hugh McGuire hughmcguire@gmail.com @hughmcguireYou too (!) can easily make nice books here: http://PressBooks.com