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Re: Pursuing the wrong goal? (was Re: A followup/writeup on our Monday discussions (was Re: Continuing discussion on Polyfills))

From: Xu, Zheng | KGB <zheng.xu@rakuten.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:18:58 +0000
To: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
CC: Richard Wright <rkwright@geofx.com>, "Ruffilo, Nick" <Nick.Ruffilo@ingramcontent.com>, Dave Cramer <dauwhe@gmail.com>, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>, Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>, W3C Publishing Working Group <public-publ-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <TY1PR0301MB13606F9C032B1CACC8DBA31D9ACC0@TY1PR0301MB1360.apcprd03.prod.outlook.com>
>However, realistically, this will not happen at least for a while


Oh one thing, Microsoft Edge is actually getting pretty close. It pops menu bar for toc and has basic feature for epub already.


Thanks

Zheng

________________________________
From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 10, 2018 12:01:34 PM
To: Xu, Zheng | KGB
Cc: Richard Wright; Ruffilo, Nick; Dave Cramer; Leonard Rosenthol; Daniel Glazman; W3C Publishing Working Group
Subject: Re: Pursuing the wrong goal? (was Re: A followup/writeup on our Monday discussions (was Re: Continuing discussion on Polyfills))



On 10 Feb 2018, at 17:14, Xu, Zheng | KGB <zheng.xu@rakuten.com<mailto:zheng.xu@rakuten.com>> wrote:

Maybe a bit off topic but just throw my two cents.

I pretty like the vision of "I would like to "just" create the content, put it on my web site, and click on it from any web browser to get it displayed, eg, via that readium app. Just as I can do it with a simple HTML file".

Digging into a bit more in detail, I have a question here.
How to choose which web application to load the book? Or who should do that? Content creator? Reader? I think it should be reader.


This is one of the core (if not THE core) aspects of what we are discussing. Ideally nobody should do that in the sense that it would be a browser functionality. However, realistically, this will not happen at least for a while, so we have to decide that. In many respect, it is also a business question.

I image that the future is like user could have options like use readium app, kobo web app, kindle web app and so on.
Reader might try to open a DRM free content through web then user could just choose which app he want to use.
But in case reader wants to open a purchased book (say Kobo), he (or browser) might need a way to let him open that book from Kobo web reader.


Maybe that is the answer, I am not sure. But whatever we do, we should leave the door open for a situation when the underlying user agent knows what to do with the content without any user intervention…

Ivan

So my point is, these are works need to be done by UA instead of polyfills provided by any of reading system vendor since that's the step before reading system vendor can get involved when reader is trying to open a book from internet.


Thanks,
Zheng
________________________________
From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org<mailto:ivan@w3.org>>
Sent: Friday, February 9, 2018 12:10:45 PM
To: Richard Wright
Cc: Ruffilo, Nick; Dave Cramer; Leonard Rosenthol; Daniel Glazman; W3C Publishing Working Group
Subject: Re: Pursuing the wrong goal? (was Re: A followup/writeup on our Monday discussions (was Re: Continuing discussion on Polyfills))

Rick,

thanks for your examples, they are great. But I have a question: how do I get there? Where is the EPUB file? Do I have to start up a separate application, "load" that EPUB file into it before I can see/read it? The same questions if I unzip the content?

Put it another way: I would like to "just" create the content, put it on my web site, and click on it from any web browser to get it displayed, eg, via that readium app. Just as I can do it with a simple HTML file. How do we get there?

Ivan


On 9 Feb 2018, at 17:57, Ric Wright <rkwright@geofx.com<mailto:rkwright@geofx.com>> wrote:

I guess I am very much in agreement with Nick and Dave here – what ARE we trying to do in this WG?  If we look at what the WG is chartered for and is apparently trying to do, one has to wonder… why?  If we were a proposed startup and came up with all this (e.g. FPWD) etc.  and went before a bunch of venture capitalists and said “here’s what we propose spending your money on” they might very well come back with the question:  "What is the value proposition?  What are you proposing spending a lot of time and money on that EPUB and the existing Web don’t provide?”

Personally, I would have a hard time answering that question, but that may just reflect my limitations (which are legend).  But I come from a  long line of “show me the bits” type of engineering and product development.  For example, consider two examples, both based on a fully deployed, production version of the Readium CloudReader:

https://readium.firebaseapp.com/?epub=epub_content%2FHales-Motivic-Measure&goto=epubcfi(/6/8!/0)<https://readium.firebaseapp.com/?epub=epub_content/Hales-Motivic-Measure&goto=epubcfi(/6/8!/0)>

https://readium.firebaseapp.com/?epub=epub_content%2FNeHe-EPUB-17-32&goto=epubcfi(/6/2!/4/2/2)

The first is an EPUB with a LOT of math in it (which is why it is a bit slow).  The second has a lot of WebGL in it (ditto).  Note that the CloudReader also supports shared annotations via the Hypothes.is<http://hypothes.is/> plugin.  So one has a full EPUB 3 compliant reading experience (including media-overlays), annotations, even WebGL.  These same publications can be unzipped onto a server as-is and would work.  As Hadrien pointed out, the work on Readium 2 has developed a “better OPF” (Web Pub Manifest) but is that what we’re trying to achieve? If so, are we done?

I’m probably way over-simplifying this but it seems like we’re making this far more complicated than it needs to be, but I am probably just misunderstanding what it IS we are trying to achieve.  But if so, then to echo Baldur, I don’t think I am alone.

Thanks
Ric




From: "Ruffilo, Nick" <Nick.Ruffilo@ingramcontent.com<mailto:Nick.Ruffilo@ingramcontent.com>>
Date: Friday, February 9, 2018 at 8:56 AM
To: Dave Cramer <dauwhe@gmail.com<mailto:dauwhe@gmail.com>>, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com<mailto:lrosenth@adobe.com>>
Cc: "daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com<mailto:daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>" <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com<mailto:daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>>, "public-publ-wg@w3.org<mailto:public-publ-wg@w3.org>" <public-publ-wg@w3.org<mailto:public-publ-wg@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: Pursuing the wrong goal? (was Re: A followup/writeup on our Monday discussions (was Re: Continuing discussion on Polyfills))
Resent-From: <public-publ-wg@w3.org<mailto:public-publ-wg@w3.org>>
Resent-Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2018 14:57:14 +0000

Dave,

This was beautifully put.  Along with Baldur’s amazing comments earlier – this sums up how I feel as well.  My perspective coming into this is as an entrepreneur, and an author.  I worked at Vook putting audio/video into ebooks, and worked on experimental features that only worked in ibooks.  I worked with Aerbook, creating award winning book-apps as well as javascript-powered ebooks that – again – only worked in iBooks.  I built an interactive ebook creation tool that would output apps, epubs and interactive webpages.

After 5 years of developing bleeding-edge things and hacking the ibooks platform to create content (only to later have ibooks ‘patch’ out and prevent the use of that) I checked the #eprdctn hashtag only to see people still complaining that dropcaps still don’t display correctly…

That’s why I joined this group – because I feel like the web is a really good solution to publisher’s needs, but it just needs a bit extra.  Beyond the display issue, having run an ebook retail website, the amount of customer service I’ve had to deal with to try to help people read an epub file is insane.  Some people are just not tech savvy, some refuse to install apps, some are on work PCs and don’t have admin rights, so they can’t install apps.  There is a business solution around this – to provide a web-based reading platform like Readium JS, so I guess there is a solution.

I think about the basic use-case of people who are buying ebooks from my service.  (We sell e-textbooks, trade, and pretty much anything else).  At it’s core, they want to read the content.  Literally, they want to just open the book, and read it’s content in the order it would be presented in a printed book while being able to jump around easily from chapter-to-chapter.  If the web were able to deliver those basics – and I was able to offer some sort of reading app solution that provided all the bells-and-whistles – my customer service requests would fall by nearly 80%!

But I struggle (now more than every) with where the line draws.  I currently unzip epubs that are distributed to my system, then sort the files into directories (for security reasons) and serve them up with a custom UI that provides basic user needs for the purpose of sampling.  There’s only time stopping me from being able to make that a reading experience and solving my own problems without needing standards or expecting browsers to change.  What if epub is good enough – because it is HTML/CSS inside, and any service like mine can simply do what it needs fairly easily to make the ebook a web-based citizen…

Part of the exercise I’m going through with my code right now is to create something I can share (sadly code I do for work must remain private) and provide as an example to help me answer that question – what is the real problem we’re needing to solve?  Maybe all we need to do is push for better display of math, better support for accessibility within a multi-document structure, and better handling of annotations.  Maybe all the rest is up to the industry to solve…

-Nick

From: Dave Cramer <dauwhe@gmail.com<mailto:dauwhe@gmail.com>>
Date: Friday, February 9, 2018 at 9:06 AM
To: Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com<mailto:lrosenth@adobe.com>>
Cc: "daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com<mailto:daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>" <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com<mailto:daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>>, "public-publ-wg@w3.org<mailto:public-publ-wg@w3.org>" <public-publ-wg@w3.org<mailto:public-publ-wg@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: Pursuing the wrong goal? (was Re: A followup/writeup on our Monday discussions (was Re: Continuing discussion on Polyfills))
Resent-From: <public-publ-wg@w3.org<mailto:public-publ-wg@w3.org>>
Resent-Date: Friday, February 9, 2018 at 9:07 AM

(Note: written for a different email chain, but this rant describes some of my concerns with WP)

At least this is the conversation we should have been having for the last four years!

What problems are we trying to solve?

EPUB works, more or less. My company has sold a billion dollars' worth of ebooks. Our industry gets people to pay for digital content—we make HTML without advertisements. It's a miracle. At the most basic level, EPUB does what it needs to do—it gets (some kinds of) books to the people, and they can read them without worrying too much about technology.

Books are not apps. Books are not websites. Oh, we can do both of those things. We have done both of those things, and it didn't work—nobody cared. Web Application Manifest solves a particular problem—being able to save a web site to the home screen of your mobile device. WAM is for making web apps more like native apps. But our problem is not that web books are lacking capabilities of native book apps.

I think the fundamental issue is that books are a separate category of media, their own thing. Our expectations of user interface and affordances is very specific to books, not generally shared with other web stuff, and much closer to how we think about other specialized media, like music and movies. I don't have five thousand separate album apps on my computer or my phone. I have one app, which accepts a certain kind of content and provides an identical interface for each discrete creative work. That's what reading systems are, too. That's how people think about books.

What problems are we trying to solve?

We want a web publications spec. Are web publications actually a thing we need? What do we actually mean by web publications? I share Garth and Benjamin's concern about providing the interface along with the content. The strength of the web stack is separation of concerns, although the script kiddies seem to be forgetting that. Content is HTML. Design is CSS. Interaction is JS. And what we forget is that browser itself provides much of the user experience, handling links, bookmarks, history, search, personalization, and so on.

What are some real problems? Nothing works everywhere—some things work nowhere. We mostly can't make books with scripting. We can't link from book to book. We don't know what the heck to do with math. ebooks still look like crap compared to print, or most websites. Making and editing EPUBs is a bitch. Everybody complains about walled gardens, but the gardens are more like vacant lots with broken glass and burned-out cars. The ebook ecosystem is more like gang territories—don't try to bring your Kindle books to Google Play or you might get beat up. What we need more than anything else is interoperability. Does the road we're going down in PWG get us closer to that, or further? I don't know.

I think the very nature of how we relate to books means that packaging is our key concept. Maybe we need PWP without WP. Maybe the trouble we're having with WP is not accidental, but intrinsic. Books are more permanent than web sites, we feel more ownership of them, they are more a "thing". We don't travel through the intertubes to visit the one copy of a book on a server somewhere. We each have our own copy, so the book has to travel, has to be a thing, has to be packaged. Maybe the packaging itself can provide the structure we're struggling with.

Dave

On Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 7:41 AM, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com<mailto:lrosenth@adobe.com>> wrote:

Daniel - I think you hit the nail on the head there, but perhaps not in the way that you meant.

I believe that this group - for obvious reasons - is too focused about finding a replacement for EPUB and *not* focused on building the future of publications for the web.  And yes, I very strongly believe those are two completely different things.  As you have said so well in other threads - let's go ahead and fix EPUB and address the concerns of *that* industry...but do that completely separately from solving what is needed to enhance the web for publications (of all types).

I believe that it can be accomplished - even with our current charter - but it will require everyone to *want* to work in this fashion....

Leonard

On 2/9/18, 1:05 AM, "Daniel Glazman" <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com<mailto:daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>> wrote:

    Le 08/02/2018 à 22:15, Romain Deltour a écrit :

    > +1000. Can't agree more.

    I wish I had Baldur's eloquence (I'm serious) but I'm only a frog.
    I could not have written this better, and I am in full agreement
    with everything Baldur said. With all my tech background, I wonder
    where this WG is heading at and, worse, why... And the WG is voting
    on that.

    We're still in the "Deep concerns about the future of EPUB" that were,
    after all the denials, apparently spot-on.

    </Daniel>


----
Ivan Herman, W3C
Publishing@W3C Technical Lead
Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
mobile: +31-641044153
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704


----
Ivan Herman, W3C
Publishing@W3C Technical Lead
Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
mobile: +31-641044153
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704
Received on Friday, 23 February 2018 16:20:19 UTC

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