Author Topic: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?  (Read 1041 times)  

Offline DebDougall

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Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
« on: June 17, 2020, 05:01:48 am »
Hey y'all,

Would you upload your ePub to a site that checks it for formatting issues before uploading it to a retailer site?

This one, specifically:

https://www.ebookit.com/tools/bp/Bo/eBookIt/epub-validator

They say they don't keep the ePub on file but... I wonder if it's just a way to get their hands on your work. Or maybe I'm just paranoid.

The site has been recommended as a way to ensure your ePub goes through the publishing process without any hiccups.

Do any of y'all use anything like this?

TIA. :-)

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    Offline kathrynoh

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #1 on: June 17, 2020, 08:00:35 pm »
    I think you're being paranoid.

    If you are only publishing on Amazon, you should never need to use an epub validator. I don't think there would be any real reason to even upload an epub to Amazon.

    Other retailers, like Google Play, will sometimes reject your epub file and they never tell you what's wrong. If you run your file through a validator, you can pinpoint the exact error causing the rejection.

    That's only been an issue for me when I've played with the coding for an epub file.

    Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #2 on: June 17, 2020, 10:36:01 pm »
    There is an ePub validator tool written in Java you can use to validate your books on your local machine. 

    https://github.com/w3c/epubcheck   

    It should run on any PC with the Java runtime. 

    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #3 on: June 18, 2020, 12:51:16 am »
    If you use Vellum or the D2D EPUB generator, you never never to use a validator. TBH, I think they're outdated.

    Offline kathrynoh

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #4 on: June 18, 2020, 02:27:44 am »
    If you use Vellum or the D2D EPUB generator, you never never to use a validator. TBH, I think they're outdated.

    It depends. The D2D formatting does horrible things to your back matter like stripping out all the blank lines. I often go in and correct that myself rather than have everything squished up with no white space.

    Online Sleeping Cat Books

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #5 on: June 18, 2020, 04:45:05 am »
    I use Sigil to design ePubs and use the validation plug-in there. I used to occasionally use the IDPF validator online, but that page hasn't worked for some time.

    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #6 on: June 18, 2020, 05:30:08 am »
    It depends. The D2D formatting does horrible things to your back matter like stripping out all the blank lines. I often go in and correct that myself rather than have everything squished up with no white space.

    Mwahaha. Shows how long ago I used D2D formatting. Seriously, formatting is like you buy a piece of software and you're done with it.

    Offline Gessert Books

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #7 on: June 18, 2020, 10:18:26 am »
    Validators don't catch stuff like that anyway. Most all of them use epubcheck linked upthread which checks your file's conformance to ePub spec. Useful to do, just bear in mind you can have a pretty hideous file that passes, or a gorgeous one that doesn't, and both are bad.

    Shame the official online one has been in limbo a while. I wouldn't like to upload to the one in the OP either.
    « Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 11:04:34 am by Gessert Books »

    Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #8 on: June 18, 2020, 02:35:22 pm »
    I wrote an automated ePub generator with the UNIX toolset. Since ePub books are essentially HTML and CSS, converting a plain text manuscript to an ePub that validates is relatively simple. Most of the errors are unclosed tags and missing labels anyway. 

    The standalone ePub validator is essential. It can tell, for example, the difference between v2 and v3 books and make sure they work in the readers. ePub 3 is much more advanced than v2. 

    The good news is my tools can convert plain text to a validated ePub 2 or 3 in seconds. If I had to hand-code the thing it would take hours.  :o  You don't realize how many quotes and apostrophes there are in a novel until you have to replace them all with HTML entities. 
    « Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 02:40:52 pm by Shane Lochlann Black »

    Offline notjohn

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #9 on: June 21, 2020, 02:44:05 am »
    The link Shane provided earlier download Epubcheck to your computer, which is certainly the best way to have it on hand if you can happily navigate the Github repository.

    I only ever upload epubs. (Modern Kindle format is really just an epub wearing an Amazon overcoat.) Since Apple and perhaps another one or two etailers require your book to pass Epubcheck, I used to run a final check on each book at the IDPF.org site Shane mentions, but now I just rely on the built-in Flight Crew validator that comes with Sigil. (Well, you have to download it separately, but it installs without a murmur.) That too requires a visit to the Github repository, which is not for the faint of heart.

    (If you allow Draft2Digital to add any of its cute features, it will mess about with your html much as kathrynoh warns. Beware of all automagical conversions! Do the work.)
    Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting: http://viewbook.at/notjohn

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    Offline Loosecannon

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #10 on: June 23, 2020, 12:59:03 pm »
    +1 for the EPUB2 checker plug-in you can get for Sigil, it is called 'FlightCrew'. You can get it here:
    https://github.com/Sigil-Ebook/Sigil/wiki/FlightCrew-Validation-Plugin

    Offline Nicole Simon

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #11 on: June 26, 2020, 11:10:52 am »
    Be it if you build HTML/Css or epubs, it is always good to run it through a validator - but then take a sensible approach to the results.
    Nowadays you can never get a 100% clean validation (just too much work and especially with CSS it would remove some of the wanted effects), but it will usually show you certain problem areas you likely want to address - and ignore the rest.

    Compilers f.e. have different levels of validation: strict or "well show me what you really have as mistakes". So I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the mentioned options here and then choose one you like best / can work with best. Then you go to the level you are comfortable with in validation.

    Offline Gessert Books

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #12 on: June 26, 2020, 11:47:12 am »
    You can definitely achieve 100% valid files and should certainly try to do so. AFAIK vendors like Ingram will kick your file if it doesn't pass epubcheck. I don't know of any validators that modify your CSS, but anywhere epubcheck might ask you to change something about it yourself, you should definitely do so. Validated file should be minimum viability for an ebook.
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 11:52:20 am by Gessert Books »

    Offline Nicole Simon

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #13 on: June 26, 2020, 11:58:51 am »
    Correct. And just to clarify: a validator should never ever change anything - it is there to validate. It can however make suggestions and good tools usually will allow you to do certain things without screwing stuff up. ;)

    Some tools do automatic corrections and you might want to use them. F.e. you might not like working in sigil, but usually it will fix certain things if you just open and close+save the file.

    If you are not familiar with epub and html behind it: if such an automatic fix 'screws' up your result, you have a problem, because HTML is designed to be flexible and always deliver the same result. Excited you achieved certain results by tweaking your personal writing software but the fix 'destroys' it? that just means you had a problem anyhow or better your reader down the line will.  ;)

    Offline DebDougall

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    Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
    « Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 07:56:58 am »
    Sorry for the belated reply on this, everyone - I don't know how I missed the responses.  ::)

    Thanks to everyone for the advice, which helped a lot.

    I'm not in KU, nor do I have a Mac (so no Vellum) but all's well now. I'm using the D2D ePub without any issues.


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