EPUB3 First look

Hyphens! SVG! Embedded fonts! Multiple Column Layouts! EPUB 3 promises some mighty nice new features.

Bill McCoy of IDPF spoke about the new standard the industry group has been working on. Formerly with Adobe, he wrote a blog about Adobe’s development of EPUB as a reflow-centric portable document format “breaking past PDF’s printed document model.”

EPUB 3 will be based on XHTML and CSS, just like EPUB 2. Mr. McCoy sees ePub as continuing to play a role in digital publishing. EPUB is more flexible, more accessible and interoperable than the PDF format, PDFs are “typeset at the factory, EPUB is typeset at the point of reading.”
EPUB 3 will include:
Video and audio support
Audio that can be synchronized with text
Embedded font support
SVG support
Limited JavaScript, with firewalls
Core XHTML
Enhanced language support
Multiple-column layouts
Hyphenation support
Improved metadata capabilities (element level)
Math ml support
Fragment IDs, for smaller bits of a document

EPUB 3 supposed to be backwardly compatible with 2, so we won’t have to go back and update older documents when the reading systems upgrade. He expects that reading devices will be up to EPUB 3 in 2012.

More information on EPUB 3 on the idpf website.

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