IDPF to Create Epub3 Test Suite

Have you ever wanted to check to see if your ereader or reading app can display an Epub correctly? This is something I do every so often, but my process has always depended on whatever ebook I happen to have at the moment and so the results are usually somewhat incomplete. Yesterday I learned that the IDPF is planning to make checking for Epub3 support a lot easier. As part of a new plan to get developers to fully support the EPub3 standard, they will release a formal test suite and make the test process less haphazard.

If you're a nitpicky reader like me then you probably know that not all current devices and apps support the current Epub standard. While the more popular devices like Nook, Kobo, and Sony can boast excellent support, there are many off-brand devices made by Chinese OEMs which support Epub to varying degrees, including at least one ereader maker (Gajah) which doesn't even support all of the CSS which can be used in an Epub ebook.

The varying and oftentimes unknown degree of Epub support is both frustrating for ebook creators and disappointing for readers, and that's why I am glad to see the new test suite. When it's done any reader should be able to download it, open it on an ereader or app, and then see all the specific ways where it comes up short.

This test suite grew out of the Epub3 archive which the IDPF launched a few months ago, and it is going to distill all of the individual ebooks, each of which demonstrates a single feature, into a smaller set of ebooks. I've never before posted a checklist of which features an app or ereader might be missing, but with the new test suite it should be easy to do.

via DBW


About Nate Hoffelder (11466 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

5 Comments on IDPF to Create Epub3 Test Suite

  1. Speaking of Epub reading apps, I don’t get why many of them only have dictionary lookup features that are dependent on internet access. Are there not public domain dictionaries that they can integrate with their products, so they are available offline?

  2. Excellent news! I would like to use my Sony Reader TS1 as often as possible to avoid long reading sessions on my computer.
    Until now many documents that include Math Formulas were hard to display.
    Do you think there will be Firmware updates for Readers so they can benefit from epub3?

  3. William Ockham // 14 May, 2014 at 9:15 am // Reply

    There are no devices or apps that truly support Epub (2 or 3) and there never will be. Mostly because you would have to be insane to support either one. Epub 2 is old, incomplete, contradictory, and fundamentally broken. You could create a device to support it, but it would be incompatible with the majority of titles on the market. And you would have to write a HTML rendering engine from scratch because all the freely available ones are incompatible.

    Epub 3, on the other hand, is the most bizarre “standard” I have ever seen. I am very suspicious that someone on the standards committee deliberately sabotaged it. It incorporates a bunch of other standards by reference. Most of those standards are in flux and they say they did that on purpose. Which means that you literally can never pin down what Epub 3 really is. There is a reason that it has been around for years without a reference implementation. I will guarantee you that when this “test suite” is published I will be able to point out how it is inconsistent with the Epub 3 “standard”.

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