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.

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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)

    1. 1. the beauty of web-first workflows Hugh McGuire @hughmcguire @pressbookshttp://pressbooks.com
    2. 2. (for books)
    3. 3. where are we withbook formats?
    4. 4. ePub 2
    5. 5. ePub 3
    6. 6. azw(aka mobi aka kindle)
    7. 7. kindle 8
    8. 8. ... and don’t forget:
    9. 9. HTML(aka “The Internet”)
    10. 10. oh, also don’t forget...
    11. 11. ...paper.
    12. 12. what unites all of the above?
    13. 13. they are all based on HTML
    14. 14. (except for paper, of course)
    15. 15. ebooks are just a special kind ofwebsite, designed to be read in a special kind of browser
    16. 16. and given that ebooks are just special websites, it’s ... funny? ironic? unsurprising? really annoying? ...
    17. 17. ... that we’ve landed in a similar problem to the web, circa everything prior to 2006:
    18. 18. browser wars
    19. 19. remember this?
    20. 20. <!--[if IE 6]>        <link rel="stylesheet"type="text/css" href="ie6.css" /><![endif]-->
    21. 21. But we fixed all that, more or less: with standards based browsers.
    22. 22. means:one CSS to rule them all
    23. 23. ok: two CSSes ...don’t forget mobile browers(please, don’t forget them)
    24. 24. the solution is: standards based structure and relatively consistent (&dynamic if need be) application of CSS ...
    25. 25. 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.
    26. 26. we’re not there yet (quite) with books. but we’re not far.
    27. 27. Kindle 8 introduces new HTML5 tags andnew CSS attributes
    28. 28. ... which is suspiciously close to the ePub 3 standard.
    29. 29. (did you notice that everything is converging on HTML5 ... web standards?)
    30. 30. so now with: -- good structure -- good CSS-- and good templating systems you should be able to get:
    31. 31. 1. a beautiful web book thatrenders nicely on computers (from pressbooks:)
    32. 32. 2. make a beautiful web book thatrenders on mobile devices (from pressbooks:)
    33. 33. 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:)
    34. 34. nice. life is looking good.structure + style + templates = easy-peasy bookmaking formultiple formats & multiple devices.
    35. 35. wait. shit.
    36. 36. did we forget about the mostdominant reading format & browser?
    37. 37. ... paper?...bookbooks?
    38. 38. is paper the ie6of bookmaking in 2011?
    39. 39. not necessarily.
    40. 40. question:
    41. 41. why have we made great and ubiquitous systems to make iteasy for any dummy (like me) to make a beautiful website...
    42. 42. ...but we haven’t made anything like that for bookbooks?
    43. 43. is it too hard?
    44. 44. 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.
    45. 45. it turns out that if we start with structured HTML...we can get to a nicely structured,typeset book (from PressBooks):
    46. 46. so in theory, we can start with tool that is aseasy to use as the easiest blogging engine...
    47. 47. ... and pump lovely, templated books in all formats: -- epub -- kindle 8 -- HTML (of course!) ... AND -- paper
    48. 48. which means:
    49. 49. we can stop spending lots of time& money on designing, producing lots of different formats of one book...
    50. 50. and instead, spend our time andenergy on more important things like:
    51. 51. 1. writing, finding, and editing great books
    52. 52. 2. finding new, and better ways to connect books to the people who love them
    53. 53. SO:
    54. 54. the beauty of web-first book production is that we can spend more timeon the things that really matter.
    55. 55. I am: Hugh McGuire hughmcguire@gmail.com @hughmcguireYou too (!) can easily make nice books here: http://PressBooks.com

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