The best workflow is upgrade NOW. CS4’s epub tools were archaic at best.
CS5.5 has been dramatically improved.
BTW, it’s worth pointing out that all CS5.5 upgrades are 20% off right now.
I believe Ariel uses the ME version. Harbs would know if 5.5 is out in ME...
What features are there is CS5.5 that would help me produce an ePub?
Also is Adobe Digitial Publishing Suite (I think that's what it's
called) something that could help me? I recall InDesignSecrets
mentioning that they've come out with individual licensing plans, but
I'm not sure what it does in the first place.
Sorry, yes, that's true, I need the ME version on a Windows 7 64-bit
I forgot about the ME thing but I’m almost positive that 5.5 ME is available.
The map styles to tags feature is alone worth the upgrade.
As for DPS, it’s totally different than EPUB and you must have CS5 or CS5.5 to use it.
I'll look into it.
Nevertheless, in CS4 was there a better workflow than the one I described?
None I know of.
If you plan on making good looking epubs you really need to learn a little bit about html and css. I have found SIGIL to do some wacky things to epubs before so I have been weary of using them.
Another important thing to do is to realize where these epubs intead on being read. Will they be read on the iPad or a Kindle? There is a VERY big difference.
You need to think about hyperlins, too. Will you be hyperlinking cross references? How are you going to handle footnotes? InDesign puts them at the end of the chapter. You might want them at the end of the book or at the end of the paragraph.
CS5.5 will save you some time, but mainly after you know how the html tags and css come together. Also, if these are large books the exporting to epub can take a while with CS4 (it was developed with scripting) in CS5.5 it is really fast.
If there is Hebrew and English intertwined together you will have to watch out for neutral characters. There are quite a few pitfalls with this if you are not careful.
Images is another issue. Vector images can only be SVG (you can create those from Illustrator). Otherwise you are looking at jpegs and often InDesign samples them down too much. You have to replace them in the epub.
I can't think of anything else off hand, but feel free to ask away.
Thank you Fred,
After I create the ePub I use Calibre to convert to .mobi for the Kindle.
Obviously as for the ePub itself, I can't say where it will be read:
There's dozens of tablets out there and it could be read on any one of them.
If you don't use SIGIL, what do you use? What comes out of CS4 (at any
rate) is very primitive in terms of ePub. So I add the chapter breaks
and loads of formatting tweaks in SIGIL.
I do know a thing or two about HTML and CSS, so it's easy enough to edit
the CSS file (again using SIGIL) to get the formatting you want. (By the
way: Dreamweaver CS5 has a great reference feature: all HTML and CSS
(and many other things too) properties are documented locally -- it's
actually the O'Reilly reference to these languages. Very helpful when
you want to find a CSS property.)
Anyway, it seems crucial to use some sort of ePub editor to get
InDesign's output into workable form. If you don't use SIGIL, I'd be
very interested to know what you do use.
As for footnotes, I'll tackle that "sugya" Aramaic: subject when I get
"As for DPS, it’s totally different than EPUB and you must have CS5 or
CS5.5 to use it."
What is DPS? What does it do?
Presumably the people asking you to do the ePub have an idea how they want to sell it, no? Or do they want it availabe everywhere? The reason why it's important is because some devices support some things and others not.
Chapter breaks is a great example. For a long time the only way you could get a page break in iBooks was to have it in a separate xhtml file. InDesign splits xhtml files by documents (each doc = one xhtml file), so I basically split up the InDesign documents. Now, they iBooks does support the
property which makes things much easier. Kindle has it's own tag to break pages. I am not sure how Digital Editions does it.
Another example, Digital Editions doesn't support Hebrew, neither does the Kindle, only iBooks.
Some formatting is also only supported on some devices.
If you are just looking to do a novel that will just basically be straight text and some bold and italics you don't have to worry too much about these issues. As soon as you get into more complicated books all kinds of issues pop up.
My current workflow is to do as much as I can in InDesign using scripting and Grep searches. Then I create the epub and open it in with WinZip. WinZip allows you to open and edit the epub directly and it will automatically update the epub file. I use Notepad++ to edit the xhtml files and the CSS. I don't have a license to DreamWeaver, but I have seen it and it can be very useful. You just have to be careful because not all the properties are supported in epub. I usually do so much in InDesign that only a minimal amount of work is necessary with the xhtml files.
I try to use the same style names so that the CSS doesn't require too much editing either.
Many experts (including our own saintly Anne-Marie Concepcion) do not recommend Sigil for editing ePub, but prefer Oxygen Author http://www.oxygenxml.com/
There is an academic version available for $64.
There is a plug-in available for InDesign CS4, CS5 or CS5.5 for exporting to .mobi (Window and Mac versions): http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000234621
And FWIW I prefer Dreamweaver for EPUB editing.