E0 Test Set 1 is Ready

17 July 2013

E0 eBook Zero, Specification, Production, Reading Systems

After the talk and opinions on something as exciting as a new eBook format a specification has started to emerge. To help the development effort of E0 Infogrid Pacific has implemented an E0 format infrastructure to allow real evaluation and testing of the various ideas and potential of E0

Ebook Zero E 0 Logo Test Framework Is Ready


A Little Background

EPub Zero, eBook Zero or E0 was a solution proposed by Dave Cramer (@dauwhe) to bring a simplified package to the ebook format and reading system world. It has been discussed vigorously and some levels of consensus have emerged.

If you are interested in the back-story you can read about E0 on the E0-blog and on the EPUB-NG Google Groups discussion forum here.

After considerable discussions and opinions on the E0 eBook format a strawman specification has started to emerge. The concepts and ideas in any specification need to be tested and evaluated in the real world.

Ebook Zero E 0 Logo

To help this effort Infogrid Pacific has implemented an E0 format development infrastructure to allow real evaluation and testing of the various ideas for and potential of E0. (Infogrid Pacific is not part of the discussion. We are "on the side" observers and practioners. )

  • We have included Step 1 E0 format support into AZARDI Desktop release 21 which is now available from the AZARDI download site.
  • We have updated IGP:Digital Publisher Formats On Demand to output E0 book packages so we can produce test cases and examples with minimal effort. (It will be available shortly on IGP:Digital Publisher Portals).
  • There is a set of basic simple test cases available demonstrating the capabilities of core navigation packaging for anyone to look at and view. These are code samples for anyone wanting to try their own package. 
  • There is a small suite of sample books in both E0 and ePub3 to allow them to be evaluated side-by-side.
  • WE also created a very quick and light online reading site created from the E0 packages and a little Javascript (it's easy) to demonstrate the insta-flexibility of E0. You can access the test books here at e0.azardi.com.
  • We created a getting started E0 logo for a little fun and to provide an identity to the project.

All of this is subject to change.

The Ebook Zero E 0 Logo "Specification"

The E0 specification is still in "strawman" state and is available on the E0-blog.

If you validate the package index.html page in the samples you will receive errors for the role attribute values which have not been registered with the HTML5 project at this time. Everything else should be valid HTML5. 

Note carefully that the E0 specification is not final and will be extended, changed or even just dropped. However assuming the basic index.html packaging remains the same, adapting and updating to any new recommendations and changes is relatively trivial.

Ebook Zero E 0 Logo


For those wanting to dive in without wading through more rhetoric here are the links. 

E0 Reading System. AZARDI 21 has now been released. If you are on Windows or Linux and have AZARDI installed it will update automatically next time you use it. Mac users will have to download and install AZARDI 21. Once installed you can drag and drop files with the *.E0 extension directly into the book upload window.

E0 Test Books. There are five simple E0 Index-html navigation test books to prove the different patterns of linear spine inclusion or exclusion and TOC inclusion or exclusion. The introduction page on each book explains what it does and the HTML code is available. 

E0 Packaging Tutorial. A simple index.html packaging article page to explain the E0 format in it's current state.

E0/EPub3 Comparison Books. There are eight Gutenberg books that have been converted into both formats and are available. 

E0 Simple Online Reader. There is a simple examle online reading system with five test books and Moby Dick to show the instant flexibility of the E0 format.

Why Ebook Zero E 0 Logo Exists

E0 should be seen as a compliment rather than competitor to ePub (any number). For those who don't have the time to ready the extensive discussions, it is a forward looking HTML5 package that does not try and support legacy ePub2 reading systems, etc.

E0 should be seen as a compliment rather than competitor to ePub

The primary value of E0 for the majority of books is the simple, cost-effective and flexible package that does everything any existing reading system and package can do for standard linear books. Plus a bit more. It uses HTML5 exclusively with no external XML references or other non-HTML5 methods.

Most books do not need the complexity of ePub2 and ePub3 packaging. You will see in the AZARDI E0-Resources page that the ePub3 and E0 formats of books deliver exactly the same reading experience.

It was relatively trivial to incorporate E0 into AZARDI (AZARDI current supports ePub2 and ePub3) because the "spine" reading order and Table of Contents (TOC) navigation structures can be easily processed to match internal ePub navigation structures. From there it is just a matter of loading the sections into the reading viewport.

Putting retrospective format complexity into the reading system is more useful for the publishing industry than trying to capture complexity in the package. E0 demonstrates that simple is sophisticated.

About Ebook Zero E 0 Logo The Format

  • E0 is easy and much lower in cost to produce while delivering sophisticated reading experiences.
  • E0 is not backwardly compatible with ePub2 or ePub3 reading systems but can easily use the same reading systems.
  • E0 does not have any ambiguities in the specification. It assumes the reading system is state-of-the-art HTML5 compliant.
  • E0 is easy to remix and reuse at the section and content block level.
  • E0 is comfortable with both HTML5 and XHTML5 as long as the content is valid. It can be created either way depending on the use-cases that need to be applied to the content.
  • E0 content can be used in any appropriate distribution repository. It is the package delivery format not necessarily the storage and content ownership format.
  • E0 supports accessibility requirements natively for any level of content complexity
  • E0 packaging is ready for instant creation of static sites AND WebApps as well as being a reading system format.
  • E0 is far more useful for textbooks and educational materials and the delivery and use of that material.

About Ebook Zero E 0 Logo Reading Systems

  • E0 basic reading systems are relatively straight-forward to create. This includes basic reading systems with strong accessibility features. It also becomes easier to create reading systems in Languages Other Than English.
  • E0 reading system diaspora will not and should not change. Whether a reading system allows complex pagination, scrolling or  fixed layout is entirely the decisions of reading system creators. Wise developers will see the content viewport more as an empty container rather than something special.
  • E0 at a minimum can do any presentation that current ePub3 reading systems can do.
  • E0 has the potential to let the content control and/or adapt to the reading system viewport.
  • E0 Fixed layout is a lot easier because it can be specified on a section by section basis rather than on (ignored) spine properties.
  • E0 reading systems will be able to develop away from paper book metaphors to new content engagement systems especially for non-linear content and content that needs to be highly interactive.
  • E0 does not impose a baseline list of reading system musts and must nots that have to be interpreted from a complex and untested specification.
  • E0 has no unnecessary specification noise. Everyone can understand it.
  • E0 will allow the development of more reading systems with dramatically different sets of features optimized to the content being delivered rather than clones of major systems.
  • E0 DRM implementation has similar complexity to DRM in ePub3.

Get Ebook Zero E 0 Logo !

AZARDI supports ePub2, ePub3 and E0 in its current spec state.

E0 is simple. Reader implementation is simple.

If anyone creates any test books or demonstration books and would like them made publicly available please send them along to azardi [at] infogridpacific [dot] com.

Posted by Richard Pipe


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