I think the approach described in the course works the same way both in CS5.5 and 6. (I studied it in CS6). But there’s a faster way: ePubCrawler. After using it I had to make only minor adjustments to CSS styles in Dreamweaver.
Yes, when I recorded my Fixed Layout EPUB course for lynda.com — one chapter of which was for InDesign users — CS5.5 was current. The best thing about CS6 as far as fixed layout is concerned is that you can set any paragraph style to break up the pages, which makes life easier to create the separate XHTML files required by fixed layout epubs. But it's not an earth-shattering thing, or any reason to upgrade to CS6 just for your fixed layout epubs.
However, one thing I showed in the video that HAS been vastly improved, as far as InDesign is concerned, is the CSSGeometry.jsx script that Kris at Rorohiko wrote for me and that course. After further discussion with Kris (and with other ebook developers working with him), the script is now known as ePubCrawler (as Kasyan mentions above.) It works with CS3 to CS6 and is currently donation-ware, as it's in beta. But I would suggest a donation of $50 or more because it is that good! And we want Kris to keep making it great.
It basically automates just about everything. There are many options you can set before the export (e.g., do you want pixels or ems). It even comes with its own drag-and-drop epub compressor and extractor (to create an epub from a folder and to crack an epub open into a folder). When we create fixed layout epubs for clients in my studio, if they give us an InDesign file, that's the script I use. It is a NO-BRAINER if InDesign is the source file.
I reviewed Rorohiko's ePubCrawler.jsx script and showed how it worked on a client's supplied InDesign layout (a children's book she wrote and illustrated) in issue #50 (October 2012) of InDesign Magazine.
You can download the review (5-page PDF) here:
Two other solutions to look at for InDesign > FXL epubs are Flipick (http://flipick.com) which I'm testing at the moment, and CircularFlo (http://www.circularsoftware.com) which gets better with every version.
For what its worth, I've been looking at various options also, and would like to give a shout out to Aquafadas tools.
For my inDesign document, out of CircularFLO, ePubCrawler, and Aqufadas, Aqufadas has handled the conversion the best so far. Given ePub Crawler customization, it may be that it could do better in terms of conversion, but part of my definition of 'better' includes the amount of effort involved.
The good news is, all of the tools are definitely advancing since I first starting looking at solutions over a year ago.
And I'm waiting to see what, if anything, inDesign 7 CC brings to the table. I doubt it will be as good as any of the 3rd party tools, but one can always hope.
Love that feedback! I heard some great customer feedback about them at PEPCON (pepconference.com), and they were one of our sponsors too. But that was mainly for their tablet publishing solution.
Can I ask what they're charging for the software for you to make the fixed layout epubs? No pricing info on their page. And why do you think it's so much better?
The pricing is very reasonable, but I hesitate to provide it, just in case they don't want/allow that since they don't make it readily available.
However, the prices are available if you register for free at their site, and then can go to their store to see their prices.
Their tool got the most right. Some other tools didn't get some vector graphics, some didn't place the text precisely, some missed certain kinds of text framing. I can't quantify it, all I did was visual inspection of the output of each of the converters, and they were clearly better than the others for my document.
I have a completely different experience with Aqua...it is just one of the most unintritive plugins out there for this. They pack so much "features" into two panels for epub and interactive apps...it takes multiple click and order to add a simple popup. There isn't a solution out there that is completely easy and flawless for your average user. Converting layouts created for print is simply a nightmare to clean out things for this process. The more complicate the layout is and sloppy to begin with the worst this process gets.
Hmm, yeah, I definitely found all of the interfaces awkward to use to some degree.
My comments about which tool worked best are mostly focused on which one most accurately created my inDesign document in the ePub fixed layout format for iBooks reader.
And definitely the success of the conversion may have depended on how well I understood their product and was using it.
My background is a computer programmer, I have little knowledge/skill with inDesign or html5/css, so that may be impacting my success too with some of the tools, since some of the tools work better if the inDesign document is formatted in a certain way to assist in their conversion.