Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fallback fonts in EPUBs

When you save a document as eBook in Atlantis, information about the fonts used to format the document text is saved to the eBook file. Accordingly, and for example, an eBook saved from a document formatted with "Times New Roman" will include a similar indication in its file. This is how eBook readers know which fonts they should use for the display of each eBook.

That sounds fine in theory, but in real life eBook readers will rarely display your eBooks with the fonts used in the original documents. This is because the required fonts are not always available on the eBook readers. So for example if "Calibri" was specified as the font to be used for the display of one of your eBooks, and the eBook reader does not have this font, it will have no choice but to display the eBook text with one of its default fonts. In such cases, your eBook might display quite differently from what your original intention was.

The first solution that comes to mind is to include all the required fonts in the eBook files, i.e. embed the fonts in the eBooks. Atlantis can easily embed fonts in eBooks – there is a dedicated option in the Atlantis "Save as eBook" window:

Unfortunately, embedding fonts not only makes the eBook files much bigger but also does not guarantee that the eBooks will display in the intended way in all eBook readers. This is because a few eBook readers (including the iPad) do not support font embedding. No matter how many fonts you embed in your eBook files, they will not be used by these eBook readers.

There is no perfect solution to this problem. But a partial solution is still possible. It will make your eBooks display closer to the original look on the various eBook readers: the next maintenance release of Atlantis – – will not only save the original font names to the eBook files but it will also include information about the corresponding generic font families. In practical terms, the following keywords will be associated with the font names, depending on which family they belong to: serif, sans-serif, cursive, fantasy, or monospace. In this way, the eBook readers will be able to choose the closest substitutes from the available fonts.

This change has already been included in the latest beta version of Atlantis Word Processor.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Release of Atlantis (beta)

Atlantis Word Processor is now available for betatesting.

Atlantis is a maintenance release with minor changes and fixes.

You can find details on this new version of Atlantis on the Betatesting page.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New EPUB logo

The EPUB format in which Atlantis Word Processor creates eBooks, is steadily becoming the eBook industry de facto standard. The position of the EPUB format recently strengthened even further with the release of the bestselling tablet computer iPad which also supports this eBook format.

But even then, and as surprising as it might sound, the EPUB format had no official logo until now.

So, IDPF, the creators of the EPUB format, recently announced an EPUB logo contest. Anyone could enter the competition, and suggest a logo.

The contest is now closed, and the winner is Ralph Burkhardt from Germany. Here is his suggested logo, now adopted as the official logo of the EPUB format. We find it quite nice. What do you think?

Friday, June 4, 2010

iPads and breaking pages for sure

If you read our recent blog post about page breaks in eBooks, you know how to make sure that your eBooks have page breaks at the desired locations. All you need to do is to add manual page breaks at the appropriate locations in your source documents in Atlantis before saving them as EPUB files.

Now whenever you save a document as eBook in Atlantis, the manual page breaks in that document are saved to the corresponding eBook file using the "page-break-before: always" CSS attribute.

Until recently, this CSS attribute was supported and correctly rendered by all major eBook readers. In this way, all eBooks created in Atlantis displayed correctly in eBook readers: the page breaks present in the original documents were also present in the corresponding eBooks when viewed in the current eBook readers.

But as you know, a new tablet computer from Apple – the iPad – has recently hit the markets. iPads can be used as eBook readers. Now it so happens that iPads do not create page breaks in the text flow when they encounter a "page-break-before: always" CSS attribute. So as things stand, your eBooks will most likely display as a continuous flow of text on the iPads even if you designed them to have page breaks between their "chapters", for example.

To solve this conundrum, the next release of Atlantis Word Processor will save page breaks to eBooks differently, i.e. in a way supported by all major eBook readers, including the iPad. Atlantis will create a new XHTML file within the eBook package whenever it finds a page break in the original document. This is because all eBook readers automatically display a page break between neighboring XHTML files found in EPUB packages. There will be more XHTML files within the EPUB packages created by Atlantis, but the page breaks saved to EPUBs in this way will be displayed as such by all eBook readers, irrespective of whether they support or don't support the "page-break-before: always" CSS attribute.

To sum up, all you'll have to do in order to have page breaks saved in this new way in your eBooks, will be to save or resave your original documents as eBooks in any next version of Atlantis.