[scribus] epub from sla? or Scribus versus Lyx

Rob Oakes lyx-devel at oak-tree.us
Thu Jun 23 14:24:25 UTC 2011

If you want to create both ePub and PDF from a single source document, you should probably be using LyX. It gives you the ability to create both PDF and XHTML (including Math export), which is the basis of ePub. (We are also at work for formal support for ePub, which will hopefully be complete for the next version.)

While the XHTML export right now is pretty good. It supports figures, the index, tables, captions, and most of the other goodies associated with a complex technical book. (Even math, which can be exported as MathML or as images, depending on which platform you're targeting.) It isn't perfect, though, and you will need to do some manual cleanup before submitting it to the Kindle, Nook, or iBooks stores.

Case in point: handling of footnotes is poor.  (No program currently handles these well.) The ePub specification calls for footnotes to be converted to EndNotes and then be connected via hyperlinks. Unfortunately most writing program try to deal with them as footnotes, which generally causes a mess.

But while XHTML is a step closer, it still isn't ePub. After you've exported your XHTML, you still have to use Sigil or another ePub editing program to format, validate, and fine-tune the final document. Even so, LyX is still very capable for creating electronic books (or at least XHTML). The biggest weakness -- which also applies to Sigil -- is that you have to create your own CSS sheet for styling.

I know that there has been some talk about supporting eBooks in Scribus (which would be very nice) but I think there is another role that is needed more urgently: that of a visual CSS editor. LyX already meets most of my demands for generating XHTML/XML.  If I could make use of Scribus to visually generate a CSS stylesheet, that would plug a serious hole in my workflow. It would also provide open source publishers alternative to InDesign.



More information about the scribus mailing list