So today I attended an eSeminar that was facilitated by RJ Jacquez at Adobe Systems. The eSeminar was focused on ePubs output. Being someone involved with eBooks, I was naturally interested, so I attended.
This is a cool new output ability for some of the Adobe products using my beloved RoboHelp as a conduit for publishing to this new format. And kudos to the team for adding the scripting ability within RoboHelp 8. I seriously wish I understood it.
So let’s talk about possibly the single most confusing point I have when it comes to ePub.
It seems that when discussing the the main advantages of the ePub format, the ability to “reflow” text is often touted.
Speaking as an old hand at working with on-line content, admittedly I am viewing this with a somewhat critical eye and going “huh?”. Seriously, I’m having a major brain fart with understanding why it’s such a big deal.
I’m wondering if many of you out there are also scratching your heads over the same issue.
For anyone that may be reading this and still wondering what I’m rambling on about, here is some background. I began my journeys with on-line content back in 1992. At the time, we edited our documents in Microsoft Word and used this way cool “Word add-in” called “RoboHelp” that had all these Word Macros that caused specific codes to be inserted that the WinHelp compiler would recognize and properly convert to a WinHelp file.
So here is where it gets interesting from the perspective of the ePub and reflowing text hyperbole. And the source of my utter confusion!
The image below shows a WinHelp document displayed in the WinHelp viewer.
And now, I’ll resize the viewer and observe the text.
Notice how the text simply adapted to the size of the window? Ummm, isn’t that “reflowing”? And this was back in 1992!
The same seems to hold true for Compiled HTML Help files (CHM) format, anything Web Based and even Adobe’s new AIR Help format.
So as you can see, it causes those of us with experience in these formats to seriously question why all the hubub about being able to reflow text?
It baffles me nearly as much as Apple’s proclamation that the iPhone can now perform copy/paste! w00t! I mean, really, come on now, you invented something we accept as common on any PC in existence? Why all the crowing about something you forgot to include to begin with!
Until the next whenever… Rick