Considerations and approach when designing an ePub3 reader. Updated: 2012-11-16
As we design, build, maintain and extend the AZARDI ePub2/3 Reading System there are a number of issues that have to be considered. One of the biggest is which ePub3 features should be supported with the why, how and when issues handled.
The next few articles explain the approach and decisions we made on what ePub3 (and other) features are in or out, the user interface and more.
If any other "independents" are out there planning or trying to implement and ePub3 reader feel free to use this information anyway you like. The more quality reading systems available, the better it is for digital content.
It is easy to get a case of "featuritis" and go charging ahead, but festina lente (Hasten slowly) seems to be the evolving approach. We put a lot of code in the rubbish. The reason for AZARDI to exist is to provide an ePub2/3 compliant reader that can deliver content securely to all platforms, all devices and all standards compliant browsers.
The big problem that emerges is how to handle all those monitor sizes and aspect ratios, especially for fixed layout books. A digital content reading system is a relatively subjective piece of software that is attempting to create a transparent reading or content engagement experience.
There are three main dimensions that must be considered when putting into place a reader development plan:
At present the dominant readers are characterized by significant missing features, limitations on features, or custom use of features. This set of problems is further compounded by proprietary (or competitive) tools and tricks.
AZARDI is squarely targeted at interactive learning and education content with emphasis on accessibility to the extent possible more than general reading.
We are very fortunate that Apple have patented the skeuomorphic imitation paper page flip. AZARDI has never had and never will implement paper metaphors.
Now when asked why we don't have cheesy paper metaphors we can point straight to the Apple evil empire, their clunky '90s reader interface and determination to patent yesterday.