[scribus] Add-In Development Documentation

Rob Oakes LyX-Devel at oak-tree.us
Mon Jan 30 01:02:31 UTC 2012

Hi Greg,

On 1/29/2012 10:39 AM, Gregory Pittman wrote:
> In regard to your project, it's worth being aware of PressBooks:
> http://pressbooks.com/about
> which is now open to anyone. It's based on WordPress, but allows for
> the easy creation of ePub and PDFs, and since your work is also
> published a blog-like format, you also get HTML. Once you have ePub,
> you can easily use calibre to convert to Kindle format. I was hoping
> that eventually we might see an ability to interact with Scribus via
> IDXML files, once importing becomes possible into Scribus and the
> export from PressBooks is usable.
> My experience using PressBooks has been that it's easy enough to work
> with, but getting things where you want them on the page (the layout)
> can be challenging. Sometimes getting the PDF to work doesn't for ePub
> and vice versa.
> A recently added feature at PressBooks is an ability to import your
> own CSS files, but so far there hasn't been documentation of the
> structure of those, and the ones used natively by PressBooks are not
> accessible.

Thanks for the pointers and suggestions. I'll take a look at them.

Regarding pressbooks: I'm interested in where they seem to be heading. I
like several things about it:

 1. It's based on a robust content management system, making it
    intriguing as a collaboration platform.
 2. It offers the ability to target print, web, ebooks from the same
    source, which is really important. We're hearing a lot about tools
    that create electronic books, but that's a single audience. I want
    my writing in front of people who read paper too.

A few months ago, I opened an account and spent some time experimenting
with it and eventually concluded that it didn't meet my needs very well.
This was mostly because I like the ability to be more hands on.

My current preparation system involves LyX, LaTeX, and Scribus and I've
been pretty happy with that. (Ecstatic, actually. It also lets you
target print, web, and ebooks and take advantage of the strengths of
each. But I should probably mention that I write my own document classes
for LaTeX and custom layout files for LyX. I also code my own HTML and
Javascript, which means I'm very comfortable getting into the guts. I
appreciate this approach isn't for everyone.)

I'll have to look at what they offer in terms of custom CSS, that might
be the game changer. My interest with this add-in for Scribus is
creating an easy way for people to develop their own CSS in a visual
environment, so that you can design it rather than coding it.

For a while I've been trying to put together a toolkit, which would
involve the following:

  * Scribus templates with style names matching the most common
    ePub/Kindle tags
  * an export plugin capable of taking styles in the document and
    generating CSS from them
  * a tool for producing terse HTML with matching tags (I've been using
    LyX for this purpose)

With the CSS and HTML in hand, you have all the elements needed for the
eBook. (You can also attach JavaScript, which I've been using for
interaction.) It all comes together pretty nicely

While researching out the plugin, though, I've gotten pretty interested
in what might be done natively from within Scribus. Hearing about what
Claudia is working on gets me even more excited. I think there's some
pretty good potential to create something very powerful. Following
Jose's hints, I've already a basic CSS exporter that does everything
that I was hoping for. Going the next step and coding ePub export
doesn't seem nearly as painful as I thought it would be.

But ... one step at a time.


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