Archive for May, 2009

EPUB generation library open sourced by Adobe

Adobe has just released, under BSD license, EPUBGen, a Java library that generates EPUB.
To quote from our digital publishing developer blog:

EPUBGen is a Java library that demonstrates EPUB generation from a variety of document formats, and which may be a useful starting point or reference code for other EPUB generation needs. That is to say, it’s an effort to promote the development of a variety of tools and workflows.
EPUBGen has both a set of back-end code generation modules and front end format importer modules. The back-end modules generate EPUB and illustrate more advanced functionality, including font subset embedding with obfuscation

The code itself can be found on the epub-tools Google Code site, which includes other sub-projects witg Python/XSLT scripts for generating EPUB from DocBook and TEI XML. For more of the gory details on font embedding with obfuscation (aka “mangling”), which illustrates the recently published IDPF Tech Noteabout same, see this related blog post.

NY Times Reader 2.0 – now built on AIR

NY Times today launched the Times Reader 2.0, built on Adobe AIR, with significant involvement from folks here at Adobe. A “killer app”? Well, newspapers face fundamental business model challenges that arguably transcend the reading experience, so I’m not sure I’d go that far. But as a beta tester I found I definitely preferred it to just viewing articles on the web, and it shows the power of Flash for enabling rich media, interactivity, and a more engaging overall experience.
A side note: the Times Reader 2.0 utilizes new text capabilities in Flash Player 10 (and the latest AIR release) as well as an Adobe enabling component, somewhat uncreatively named the Text Layout Framework (TLF). While the Times Reader 2.0 runs as a standalone app via AIR, at the recent Tools of Change I showed for the first time a sneak peak of a browser-based renderer for native EPUB using FP10 & TLF. Stay tuned for more on this.

Amazon, Others License Adobe Reader Mobile SDK

I’m excited to be able to announce four new licensees of the Adobe Reader Mobile 9 SDK: Neolux Corporation (Nuutbook), Netronix, Tianjin Jinke Electronics, and last but not least Amazon.
Amazon today announced their new large-screen Kindle DX, including that they have integrated PDF via Adobe’s Reader Mobile technology, giving users instant access to millions of business and personal documents. The integration of PDF technology allows users to simply email PDF files to their Kindle email address or quickly move them to the device using a USB connection. The Adobe SDK also supports PDF reflow, so that text can automatically adapt to the screen size, allowing users to consume PDF documents with an enhanced reading experience.
The Adobe Reader Mobile SDK has previously been licensed by leading device makers worldwide including Bookeen, iRex Technologies, Lexcycle, Plastic Logic, Polymer Vision Ltd, SONY Electronics, Spring Design and others.
Adobe Reader Mobile SDK supports reflowable PDF technology and the EPUB file format, an open eBook standard with broad support from the publishing industry. The Adobe software engine also offers support for Adobe Content Server 4, Adobe’s popular content protection technology that allows publishers to securely distribute eBooks and other digital publications..
I do want to clarify that Amazon’s integration of the Adobe Reader Mobile SDK into the Amazon Kindle DX only includes PDF support, and not support for EPUB or Adobe Content Server 4 protected content. I’m encouraged that this is a first step by Amazon toward open file formats and interoperability, but it is just that: a first step. I find the new large-screen form factor attractive, but as a consumer, I don’t like products that lock me in to a closed architecture. On that basis, I’m afraid I can’t yet recommend the Kindle family, since the commercial eBook support is limited to Amazon’s proprietary format and DRM, for which content can only be acquired from their online store. And, this content is not interoperable with any other reading systems. By contrast the Sony Reader product line offers complete compatibility with both PDF and EPUB, including unprotected and ACS4-protected publications that can be acquired from many different online retailers and libraries. And, this content can be transferred and used on PCs, with Adobe Digital Editions and Sony EBL software, as well as to other compatible devices that will be released soon by other Adobe partners. That’s the open, interoperable ecosystem that Adobe and its partners are working to foster.