Proposal for multi-format ebook authoring tool; Vex open source XML editor
- [cc: John Krasnay, lead developer of Vex]
In a nutshell, as part of the OpenReader Consortium effort, we are
interested in preferably an open source application (or plug-in for a
word processor) for authoring simpler types of publications, which
allows (almost) pushbutton conversion of the master XML produced into
a variety of the common ebook formats in use today, as well as into
the new OpenReader format: http://www.openreader.org/spec
This authoring tool would be focused towards the smaller, independent
ebook publishers who, by and large, are not that savvy with publishing
tools nor with XML (e.g., the full DocBook vocabulary would scare the
bejesus out of most of them, as do pointy brackets.) Most of these
"indie" publishers primarily publish books having fairly simple
document structures and layouts, such as "traditional" fiction. This
tool would not, and cannot, be a 100% solution for all small indie
publishers, but hopefully can be an 80% or 90% solution, thereby
saving many indies a whole lot of time and effort.
I have outlined my thoughts and initial requirements for this tool in
a series of three articles posted to The eBook Community:
For Publishers: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ebook-community/message/26924
For Developers: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ebook-community/message/26925
On a related topic, as I have been looking around for both open source
and commercial XML editors that might be used for this proposal, I ran
across an open source XML editor called "Vex":
Although it is a little rough around the edges and needs some feature
additions such as easy non-Latin character input (I tried out the
Windows version), it is very intriguing and shows a LOT of potential.
Is anyone here familiar with Vex? And if so, are there any other open
source and commercial XML editors that are similar to Vex that we
should look at?
Of course, if anyone here is interested in helping us make this
proposal a reality, let me know in private. I can be reached at my
usual email address of jon@..., by Skype (sometimes) at
'jon_noring', and by phone at 801-253-4037.
And feel free to share comments on this group, too, but if you do plan
to do so, I request you read the three articles above first.
- Nobody here will be surprised to hear me say I think you're
definitely on the right track. While I think most of us here on
xml-doc are interested primarily in technical publishing,
which may necessitate more complex markup than what would
suffice for eBooks, I also think you have to start *somewhere*.
It's definitely easier to start with something simple and work
your way up than to jump straight into something like DocBook.
I've brought up this point before, but it's definitely possible
to use nothing more than HTML+CSS to lay out (at least some)
books. Here's an example:
IMO, if you start with something at this level, you're going to
get a lot more people trying it out, and you may well get that
80% you're looking for.
Larry Kollar, Senior Technical Writer, ARRIS CPE Products
"Content creators are the engine that drives
value in the information life cycle."
-- Barry Schaeffer, on XML-Doc
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Larry wrote:
> Nobody here will be surprised to hear me say I think you'reDefinitely! Prince is cool, and I see Prince being a part of the
> definitely on the right track. While I think most of us here on
> xml-doc are interested primarily in technical publishing,
> which may necessitate more complex markup than what would
> suffice for eBooks, I also think you have to start *somewhere*.
> It's definitely easier to start with something simple and work
> your way up than to jump straight into something like DocBook.
> I've brought up this point before, but it's definitely possible
> to use nothing more than HTML+CSS to lay out (at least some)
> books. Here's an example:
document conversion system to produce PDF from the master.
Note that the founder of Prince, Michael Day, is also a co-founder of
the OpenReader Consortium. He's been advising us on matters related to
> IMO, if you start with something at this level, you're going toI hope so. Remember that, by and large, small publishers are not
> get a lot more people trying it out, and you may well get that
> 80% you're looking for.
tech-savvy at all -- and they never will be. They don't have the
resources to hire anyone to do their document work for them. So they
get by as they can. And they use *Word* for just about everything, so
that is the type of environment we have to provide them. And they
also misuse Word (only a small percentage even use Styles!) Thus
the interest in Vex, and a constrained set of choices so they can't
create garbage XML. As soon as you add something that can be misused,
it will be.