Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lifting limitations

As you probably know, characters can be formatted as "small caps" in Atlantis. You simply select a text fragment, choose the "Format | Font..." menu command, and check the "Small caps" box.

"Small caps" formatting does not change the document text, it only makes the lowercase letters look like small capital letters:

Even though "small caps" is one of the font formatting attributes allowed in XHTML, and consequently in eBooks in the EPUB format, none of the major eBook readers currently can display "small caps" text correctly.

So what happened when you saved a document as eBook in Atlantis and it contained text formatted in "small caps"? Atlantis did save the corresponding "small caps" formatting to the eBook file. But if you opened that eBook in Adobe Digital Editions or Sony Reader, the "small caps" text looked as ordinary lowercase text.

We obviously could not improve the way existing eBook readers display "small caps". But we have implemented a workaround for this particular limitation of eReaders. From now on Atlantis will simulate "small caps" formatting in the eBooks it creates by applying both the uppercase pattern and a reduced font size to lowercase letters formatted with "small caps". In other words, instead of keeping the "small caps" formatting of the original text, Atlantis will convert it to uppercase with reduced font size. It won't be "small caps" per se but it will look exactly like it in the eReaders.

And there is more. "All caps" formatting as can be found in the "Format | Font..." dialog of Atlantis is also unsupported by the current eBook readers. We needed another workaround here. So from now on Atlantis will simulate "all caps" formatting in the eBooks it creates by applying the uppercase pattern to any "all caps" fragments of text when saving them to an eBook.

When saved to an eBook, the original "small caps" and "all caps" texts will look in eReaders in the same way as they do in Atlantis.

This improvement has already been included in the latest beta version of Atlantis.

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