Create an eBook Version of the Manual

I made this suggestion years ago, but I’d like to bring it up again (with my jump to Mac, I need to learn new things).

Many new users will want to sit down and read through the manual (RTFM). It would be great if they could do that on their ereaders.

I’m sure your manual was written in Scrivener (yes??), so it should be easy for you to compile to ePub or MOBI format. It could also be a good example of the capabilities of Scrivener.

Yup, the manual is of course written using Scrivener. It is a little more complicated than you might expect though, since I use the MultiMarkdown integration in Scrivener to produce the PDF (via LaTeX). A good 99% of that is done in the compile Format itself, meaning a different Format designed for ePub could take the output in an entirely different direction fairly easily. But it is still a non-trivial job getting the ePub itself designed (to a level I would be consider equal in quality to the PDF), as well as proofing all of the potential issues throughout that might clash with a different output method.

I’d most likely have to use Pandoc to generate it, which if you aren’t familiar with either that or MMD, would be a bit like porting a coding project to a different compiler. Even if both support the same programming language, there are very likely going to be small differences between the two interpreters, especially if one has gone deep into the other system and uses system-specific mechanisms that don’t exist in the other system, or that would require reworking, and all without compromising the original intended output in the other compiler.

It is possible to have Scrivener convert an MMD project into rich text with a checkbox in the compiler, and thus gain access to the native ePub generation tool. I didn’t rule that out, but the last time I tried it I found the results unsatisfactory in that I don’t have enough control over the initial conversion process to get a result I’m satisfied with at the ePub source file level. Main point being, while I would agree with you that it will all be a good example of the capabilities of Scrivener, it will be one that does so in a way that is probably outside of what most people would be doing. Scrivener has Pandoc→ePub integration built-in, it is technically part of Scrivener to do that, but it is completely separate from the capabilities of the native ePub generator, just as the PDF itself is not indicative of what the native PDF generator can accomplish, in the slightest—but yet since it is generated from Scrivener, is technically a showcase for what Scrivener can do in a technical workflow.

Digressions aside: in the working project I have an ePub compile Format in the making, and it is progressing, but might continue to lag behind other efforts (like the Windows revision of the manual). ePub has always been one of those things that I’d like to do, but it stays at a lower priority because (a) I have yet to find an eBook reader that works as well as a PDF reader for technical referencing, and (b) that is how most people will be interfacing with it, rather than kicking back in an easy chair with a book reader and no computer around.

Thanks for the RTFM though!

Support that ePub low priority.