[clug] Apple and ePub

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Thu Jun 24 08:01:00 MDT 2010

On 24 Jun 2010, at 23:05, Ivan Lazar Miljenovic wrote:

> Is there anything in the spec stating that Readers must actually render
> the text as given and not delete every second word?

Nope. But that pretty much goes against the grain of being a method of presenting texts.

Note that the emphasis in the three documents presenting the ePub standard are that the publication is about presenting *texts*, not *typographically interesting productions*. So things like justification, kerning, font-face are all things you can aim for, and wait for the existing technology to catch up with your ideal (or ideology, as the case may be).

Just as the HTML 5 spec can't stop people producing sites just as atrocious as the worst of the Geocities phenomenon, the ePub spec can't stop people producing horrid ePub books, nor can it stop people producing horrid ePub readers.

> OK, this example is fatuous, but my impression is that if the file says
> to do something and the device in question has the technical
> capabilities to actually do it, then why doesn't it?

If the file says to render the text in Wingdings, I'd prefer the reader to override it and present the text in (e.g.) Palatino.

It might possibly be the case that Apple is being extremely egocentric and wants to show off the "Retina Display" of the iPhone 4. It may also be the case that Apple is exercising editorial control and insisting on blocks of text (paragraphs) being presented in serif fonts simply because they feel the days of being restricted to sans serif fonts on 72dpi monitors are behind us.

For me, it's a non-issue. I'm not going to take exception to Apple's iBooks deciding to do things one way, when it does so much that other readers don't. If I don't like the font, there's the option of setting the font (though that does set the font for *everything* with no distinction between <p> or <code>).

> And as I said in another reply, my understanding is that this means that
> you can't use different fonts in different parts of the book to denote
> code, etc.

My sample ePub (the one showing XML snippets of how to put together an ePub document) works mostly fine: the pure <code> and <tt> blocks are showing up monospaced, but then the <span> which my syntax-colouring uses to change the colour of things like "<a href=...>" is being rendered in a serif font. Certainly odd (and means I've successfully replicated the problem), but something I'd be submitting a bug report about and waiting for some reply on, before I start writing articles in widely-read magazines about how Apple is taking over the world and forcing us to do things their way.


More information about the linux mailing list