a beautiful implementation of a book in a browser 11.04.2010, 10:44 AM
posted by bob stein
The Monocle Reader, developed by Inventive Labs in Melbourne, demonstrates the potential of using HTML5 to create beautifully formatted books which display in a browser rather than a standalone app.
Posted by bob stein on November 4, 2010 10:44 AM
H Wessells on November 5, 2010 12:14 PM:
Excellent demonstration, really looks like a well formatted book and its pages, even viewed on a device in a bumpy truck. First steps, first steps.
ianf on November 5, 2010 7:34 PM:
They're onto something and definitely on the right track, but not quite there yet... failed the simplest of tests of usability/ accessibility. Setting it to the biggest available font size in their own "accessible" font (I think at least that's what it was called - could not read the administrative text because it was rendered in –to this reader at least– damn too inaccessible font size), then browsing a few pages soon leads to this "interesting" layout. Well, as many a grandfather used to say, I don't want to live in interesting times.
Also, on a more persnickety level, if they rely on HTML5 for their bread-and-butter products, why do they have to lean on going-nowhere-fast Flash video/Vimeo crutch to promote their output?. It goes without saying, if you can not live the life you preach, don't preach it to the masses.
Finally, perhaps they stated it up front on the website, only this near-sighted individual could not see whether they're primarily a publisher of ebook content that dabbles in developing online/offline HTML5 publishing tools, OR a developer of ultimately publicly-usable tools that merely puts out some books for wide testing purposes. The former is mildly exciting, the latter hotter, hotter. Because, deep down, what good is developing methods to deliver optimal ereader-like capabilities to modern browser, if it ultimately won't be available to every other potential publisher question mark exclamation mark (I stole this ending from playwright Dennis Potter, my bad.)
Joseph on November 8, 2010 3:45 PM:
Thanks Ian, I can respond to a few of those. The broken layout is due to WebKit mis-measuring the width of the assistive font. There's really no option here but to find another font, and lodge the bug with WebKit.
Vimeo does offer HTML5 video for browsers without Flash. Try watching the vid on your iPhone/iPad. That said, I'm not a HTML5 crusader, and I don't have any problem with Flash for video. We just use some good bits from HTML5 because we can.
It does mention on the site — perhaps in too-small text? — that Booki.sh is powered by Monocle, which is open-source and available on the most unrestrictive license possible. I'd love to see someone use Monocle to build a highly-accessible reader.
bowerbird on November 15, 2010 7:12 PM:
> The broken layout is due to WebKit
> mis-measuring the width of the assistive font.
don't you just hate it when your project fails
because of someone else's bugs, because that
means there's no way you can fix the darn thing.
it's sad. like a turtle overturned on his shell...