Publication Standards Part 2: The Fragmented Present
Nick Disabato continues his exploration of the need for content standards — and big changes — in the publishing industry. Actually, Nick’s advice and guidance isn’t limited to the publishing industry, but rather, his suggestions are relevant to all organizations that publish and deliver information to those who need it, when and where they need it, in the right language, on the device of their choosing. Today, that pretty much includes nearly every organization on the planet.
Nick outlines the problems and makes the case for change. He writes: “Our ebook reading and creation tools are primitive, nascent, born of necessity, and driven by fear. We have one-click ePub to Kindle conversion, but it’s buried in a clumsy, bloated, cross-platform application that screams for improvement. We have page layout software, but it saves natively in a proprietary format, and it exports ePub files almost entirely as a set of
tags, rather than proper, semantic HTML. (Think
.) ePub may be saved as a zip file, but Mac OS X’s default zip archiver doesn’t handle ePub’s mimetype correctly, requiring a separate application. And there is still, as of this writing, no native reader for Mac OS X that’s up to both iBooks’ design standards and ePub’s native spec. (When creating ePub, my workflow involves uploading a new ePub to Dropbox, opening the Dropbox app on my iPad, and sending the ePub to iBooks—every time I want to view a change.) There is so much work yet to be done to make publishing easier. Farming out ePub development—overwhelmingly the current accepted solution—isn’t the answer.”