Repeating the Same Mistakes

At the moment I am spending a lot of time looking at tools for making ebooks. Because ebook files are mainly XHTML these are very similar to the tools people were coming up with 10 years ago for building websites. No one has learned anything. I’m not sure that any amount of lessons from the past would make automatic converters do a better job; they’ll always be crap. But people who make proper design tools should learn. Here’s a quick reminder.

If you are building a tool for writing code — any sort of code — that tool should not modify the user’s code without telling her. And while automated helpers can be very useful, there should always be a way of turning them off.

That was a public service announcement on behalf of coders everywhere.

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3 Responses to Repeating the Same Mistakes

  1. Bob says:

    I agree. Even pdf converters can be problematic.

    I’m trying to look into converting things to iPad. I’ve only found “for pay” tools so far. If you (or any of your readers) run in to good info on how to do it, I’d appreciate hearing about it.

    Of course I don’t and won’t have an iPad anytime soon, so testing will be an issue once I do figure it out. Sigh. But I have lots of friends with them 🙂

  2. Cheryl says:

    The best tool I have been able to find thus far is Calibre. However, its PDF to EPUB conversion is woeful. If you have PDFs you are better off reading them on the iPad as is via GoodReader.

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