Monday, April 6, 2009

The Native Beauty Of LIT

So of course Moriah Jovan couldn't let me rest.

No.

She told me to run my Abyss files through ReaderWorks Standard and see what happened.

I've never done a LIT file before.

Downloaded the software, installed it, and when it came time to choose the files, I just selected all of my source files and told it to use them.

What resulted wasn't an eBook so much as a melange of one. Last chapter was first, followed by all of the photos -- each on a separate page! -- then the cover, introduction, and then the chapters in order (except the last, which was Biblically first).

This isn't even alpha. This is pre-alpha!

Still, I drooled.

Here are some snapshots (click on each for big).



Right off: it looks like a book!



Yes, the spacing is all off, but still book-like!



Proper indented blockquote with centered italic subhead.



The Yes!es are flowing down the side as they should (although I'd open the line spacing more in the final).



I knew those dammed hyphens would cause trouble! Here too!



Again, spacing is incorrect, but it's soooo much like a book.



Smaller type experimented with in extract.



One of those tables. I'd fix that font and spacing, of course.



Proper blockquote.



Another Table. Spacing incorrect top and bottom. I'd see if I could get a thinner border too.

Seeing Abyss in Adobe Digital Editions, in the Sony eLibrary software, and even on my LifeDrive in MobiPocket format, none of them felt like a proper book.

Only the defunct LIT format has given me that experience.

I'm beginning to wonder if Microsoft exited the eBook field too soon.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

A bit late to the LIT party aren't we? ;-)
Readerworks is a decent way to create MS Reader files, especially very complex documents, but there is a second, much easier way to get there: the MS Reader add-in for Word.
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=199BE874-1F5E-4FB7-8FE0-6BCA50C7D356&displaylang=EN

Just load up your document in MS word, format it to taste, make sure the properties are filled-in, and let it run.

It has a fair amount of options for covers, handling of TOCs and indices, in-line graphics, and embedded links. And all display beautifully. Also, LITS created with Word seem to be more compatible with the Hanlin family of ebook Readers than the ones coming from Reader works. Not sure why, but...

MS also provides a Dictionary authoring Kit:
http://www.microsoft.com/reader/developers/downloads/dak.aspx

And an SDK and add-in dll for developers to program LIT-creation tools with.

Finally, the file format is very similar to ePub as they are both derived from the Open eBook spec.

I have yet to find another combination of format and Reader app that beats MS Reader typography which, alas, is why MS hasn't bothered to update it in 3-plus years.

Have fun playing in LIT-land...

FJT

MoJo said...

Reader add-in for Word.

Does it strip out all that bloat Word puts in once you save as HTML file?

Bev(QB) said...

"I'm beginning to wonder if Microsoft exited the eBook field too soon."

Mike, I've always thought that MSReader is the single best way to read an ebook. The display and navigation are just superior to anything else I've seen. Add in the bookmarks, search and annotation features and nothing else that I've seen even comes close in features.

However, my impression has always been that Microsoft hasn't given up on ebooks so much as they, in their arrogance, have made LIT irrelevent because of the hoops they would require eReader producers to jump through in order to use the format (whether with or without MSReader).

Nonetheless, I STILL buy my ebooks only in LIT format. I started because it was a Microsoft product. I continue to do so because I prefer MSReader and also because there are so many conversion programs available for the LIT format that I should still be able to access the books in the future if/when I find an eReader that I feel is worth buying, no matter what its native format.

Marshall said...

Calibre also does LIT generation, BTW. Free-as-in-freedom and and all that. LIT is just XML-ized HTML (OEBPS 1.0, not XHTML) and simplified OEBPS 1.0 CSS, so pretty much everything about how the output looks is due to Microsoft doing a pretty good job on the renderer.

However, the format itself is ubercomplicated vs EPUB. The LIT extraction code is definitely the most complicated format-reading code in Calibre, and it doesn't even bother with the renderer-aiding indices a LIT-optimized viewer would parse in order to speed up rendering.

Anonymous said...

The word addon can be messy, but it works.

Readerworks requires you to have all the htm,l ready and waiting.

XML2lit, if you can find it now, works by converting xml to the html and then to .lit.

The linespacing in .lit can be a bit of a pain if there is no breaks in the line. But if you are generating it yourself, then it is not insurmountable.

I might see if I can resupply the xml2lit program somewhere, but will have to give 2 versions. One with the original xsl, and one with my highly modified version. :D

shaun.v ~at~ ntlworld ~fullstop~ com