[scribus] epub from sla? or Scribus versus Lyx

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Thu Jun 23 16:00:51 UTC 2011

On Thursday, June 23, 2011 10:24:25 am Rob Oakes wrote:
> 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.
> Cheers,
> Rob
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There are several excellent open source  html/css editors 
such as Amaya, Bluefish and Quanta++. But that is not 
Scribus' role. And if Lyx exports Xhtml that is still a 
long way from an Epub or Kindle ready file. Those tables 
etc. just won't transfer. That is the big problem with Epub 
and Kindle. They won't even handle the full array of html 
page capabilities. 

I would not favor resources being diverted from the main 
mission of Scribus, print documents, to attacking another 
market entirely. And if I were editing text for e.g., 
eventual use in a Kindle or Epub file I certainly would not 
use Scribus but would use Gvim instead. It offers syntax 
highlighting for a variety of formats including html.

For long documents I type in something else and flow text 
into Scribus. As a text editor it is not the most handy 
program. Maybe 1.5.0 will be better but the current version
is not as capable as older versions, as has been pointed 
out multiple times by yours truly and others. 

I do keep a Slackware 12.2 partition alive just so I can 
use Quanta++ which unfortunately fell off the KDE distro  
when KDE switched to the Qt4 libraries. It is IMO the best 
html/xhtml editor. It also has css facilities. 

There are horses for courses, as my father used to say. 
John Culleton

"Death Wore Black" Police procedural: 

"Create Book Covers with Scribus"
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