Archive for October, 2007

Page template (XPGT) file

Bob Russell asked:

What about the .xpgt file? It is possible to deduce most of it, but more complete detail would be good. (like: reducing the top margin on the first page, and interaction of column min-widths and font-size…)

And how will its operation fit with future implementation of the OPS extra CSS properties: display:oeb-page-head; display:oeb-page-foot; and oeb-column-number:[integer]; ?

Better late than never – here are some details.

Named Activation Coming in Digital Editions 1.5

“Named Activation” coming soon to Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe wants your eBook experience to be as easy and seamless as possible. Naturally, this includes protecting your investment in eBooks from being lost or damaged. This is one of the key reasons why the upcoming release of Digital Editions 1.5 will feature “Named Activation.”

Some users have eBooks and other digital publications on their computers that have been licensed with Acrobat, Reader or Digital Editions using “Easy Activation.” These items cannot be moved to a new computer, essentially becoming locked on a particular machine. To solve this problem, Adobe Digital Editions 1.5 will convert items to a “Named Activation” license, enabling them to be backed up, copied and read on other computers. All items subsequently downloaded with Digital Editions 1.5 will be licensed using Named Activation. This change will also enable a new breed of mobile devices designed to be used with Digital Editions. However, note that your content will not be portable if the content distributor has specified a more restrictive setting, in which case you will need to re-acquire the content directly from them.

How will “Named Activation” work?

The first time you run Digital Editions 1.5, you’ll be prompted to activate the application by entering an Adobe ID. If you don’t have an Adobe ID, you’ll be provided with a link to get one. Then, when you purchase an item online or borrow one from the library with Digital Editions 1.5, the item will automatically be “tied” to your Adobe ID, rather than to your computer. This way, you’ll be free to move your items to other machines where Digital Editions has been activated with your Adobe ID.

What about the eBooks I already have?

Once you’ve entered your Adobe ID, Digital Editions 1.5 will look for eBooks already on your computer. It will first back up the items it finds, then convert copies of the items to a new “named activation” license.

IMPORTANT: Digital Editions 1.5 will convert eBooks that have been purchased or borrowed with Acrobat, Reader or earlier versions of Digital Editions. However, items that were licensed using Easy Activation can only be converted on the same computer with which they were originally purchased or borrowed. If you are contemplating buying a new machine, please consider keeping your old machine intact unless you bought all of your books with Acrobat or Reader using Named Activation.

Is Easy Activation still an option?

Adobe introduced the Easy Activation option in Acrobat and Reader 6.01 (and it was the only activation option previously supported in Digital Editions). This option made it easy for users to get started with eBooks, as users did not have to go online and get a Microsoft Passport or Adobe ID. The downside of this convenience is that the books could not be transferred to another machine or device.

Based on feedback from our customers, the Digital Editions team has decided that the benefits of content portability outweigh the inconvenience of the user ID and activation processes. So the next release of Digital Edition will use only Named Activation.

The Digital Editions team understands that some users may be uncomfortable at first with the need to obtain an Adobe ID and activate their machines. But we are convinced that everyone will quickly see the value of safeguarding their investment in eBooks. We’re working hard on this new release and look forward to sharing it with you soon.

For further info on this topic, please also see this post.

Exporting ePubs from InDesign

In the next couple of posts, I hope to give you an idea of what works well with the ePub export, how to get better ePub documents from InDesign, and what sort of documents would work better as a PDF. To that end, I thought I should start with giving you some background on what an ePub is and how the Digital Editions export inside InDesign works to create ePubs.

You may be aware that ePub is really made up of OPS, OPF and OCF, which are standards from the International Digital Publishing Forum (www.idpf.org). They build on other standards, including XML and XHTML. This means that the pages you’re seeing in Digital Editions (when you export an ePub from InDesign) are XHTML. They have xml structures around them to aid navigation and presentation, and a package that wraps it all so that the many files are a single item on disk. Still, they are essentially XHTML and CSS, and that means they have certain strengths and weaknesses.

In building the current version of the Digital Editions export into InDesign, we made the decision to focus on book formats that lend themselves easily to automated layout – that is to say, narrative books where readability is important but the view of a double page spread or of a single page isn’t a priority. Still, the XHTML nature and the focus on narrative books means that certain items won’t be preserved when exporting ePubs from InDesign.

There’s no support for putting text on a path in XHTML. When you put text on a path in InDesign that text would need to either be rendered as a graphic, or it looses the path. For CS3 we decided not to export the text as a graphic, so the ePub export preserves the text, but not the path, so that the text is still text in the XHTML. The same is true for text that is set at an angle. If you create a text frame in InDesign, and then rotate it a few degrees one direction or the other, the text will still be exported as XHTML, rather than choosing some other format. This means that the rotation is not exported, just the text. Of course if you have a document that uses these features, they’re preserved perfectly when you export a PDF and open that in Digital Editions.