You are totally correct. InDesign is not meant as, designed to be, or intended to act as an EPUB editor. To edit e-pubs, you need an e-pub editor.
This observation is similar to another often-heard complaint: "InDesign falls short as a PDF editor", for very much the same reasons.
I appreciate you reply Jongware. I am glad you agree with my assessment, you are not the only one. EPUB capability in InDesign is a good thing, but it should come with an asterisk.
*Export the EPUB at your own risk.
but it does not make the grade when it comes to crafting EPUBs
What if the document has to be repurposed for both ePub and press and you don't want separate documents. How well will Sigil do when you need to typeset or color manage a print document?
I didn’t mean to suggest that Sigil would be a walk in the park. Having said that, I haven’t had any issues with color management because I find CSS gradients very useful. You can apply them to frames, windows, sections, anything. (The code, admittedly, is a bit intimidating). Regarding typesetting… any class you apply in InDesign is ultimately a CSS class. The difference is the access you get to that particular class. In other words: you can fix your car with laser beams, without having to open the hood (hit or miss). Or you can open the hood and get your hands dirty. It’s empowering... believe me. I respect your point of view, but I rather float my images left or right as I please and break my chapters with a simple line of code (and see it work, always – no more inexplicable surprises from Adobe Digital Editions). Again, I am not bashing InDesign, it is a great publishing tool, probably one of the best. I am simply sharing my experiences and calling for a standalone EPUB tool. Don’t saddle InDesign with more EPUB complexity.
I understand that exporting an existing ID document is problematic, but if the task is to design a workflow that produces both high quality print and ePub from one master document you would use Sigil?
Probably not… In that case, as you say, InDesign would be a good solution. There’s not debate about this. Having said that, you would still need an EPUB editor to clean up the exported EPUB. So it depends on what you want to achieve. If your priority is print, use InDesign by all means and dedicate extra resources to EPUB clean up. If your priority is digital, then take another route. But don’t torture yourself (or an employee) creating EPUBS with InDesign. At the end of the day, you still need two programs to get the job done. And that was the point of my original query: let’s not pretend you can do EPUBS in InDesign, without the help of Sigil or a similar (paid) application. Some of the resources out there seem to suggest this…
I've always felt that Dreamweaver is a much more obvious candidate to
become an ePub editor than InDesign. But as far as I can tell Adobe has
not made any effort in that direction (I'd be happy to hear otherwise).
In other words, instead of the huge effort they're making trying to
graft ePub export facilities onto InDesign, Adobe should have made a
reverse effort -- add a great import filter in Dreamweaver that can
accept InDesign files, and take it from there, with all the built-in
power that Dreamweaver already has for editing HTML, CSS and suchlike.
After all, an ePub is is close relation of a CSS-website really.
An EPUB is a webiste... but don't quote me on that...
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If the goal is to repurpose efficiently then the content can't be in two places—I've never met an editor who doesn't have a last minute correction.
Producing a decent print document from an HTML editor is more problematic than producing HTML from a print document. I think that's why we are seeing ePub in the layout appliction and not print in the web application.
I agree about the print part Rob, but I am with Ariel on this one: epubs are closer to websites than books. For good or bad. Cheers and take care.