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[tdf-discuss] Question about proposing the creation of a new format


Hello everybody,

I'm new in this list. I'm writing here because I have a doubt. Now I'm a not
(very) experienced programmer, but I have many ideas and I'm not sure if
that ideas are good or not. I've thought that maybe the people in this list
can tell me if it's a disaster or not.

Since many time ago I'm frustrated with ebooks formats, specially when I
have to read technic or scientific books. Then i thought "mm, may be there's
a way to improve the reading experience with new (free, as in freedom)
tools".

The idea: (I'm sorry if I don't write very well, I'm spanish and I usually
make mistakes)

The idea is (basically) to design a new format specification (for ebooks)
that allows many interesting properties (or to improve an existing
specification). Ok, that's not a good explanation of that's in my mind, I'll
try to tell point per point.

The actual ebooks haven't many advantages over traditional books: price and
weight (and maybe a little detail more). But the concept of ebook is more
powerful. We can make use of many simple IA algorithms and introduce
semantic data in books to achieve interesting goals...

· Alternative reading flows ( I tell the "reader" that i want to understand
a paragraph, then the reader constructs for me the minimum text that lets me
to understand what I want... obviously, not with magic and not with an
exceptional IA, we can add metadata that stablish depency relations between
paragraphs... for example).
· Indexes created automaticly from the text structure, on the fly, not in
writer time.
· Special tags for special words (or phrases), such as definitions,
theorems, proofs... -> the possibility of create automaticly (in reading
time) tables of many parts of the content (such as an automatic studying
summary or resume). In technic or scientific books could be very
interesting. This lets to separate the narrative of a book of the capable of
being systematized data: definitions, theorems, proofs, formulas, tables,
graphs, figures...
· The capability of sorting data tables by many parameters (growing or
decreasing order, by column, by row..) (with limitations, if the writter
decides to lock the entire table or parts of it, then without that
capability) -> this lets to looks at the data following the way that helps
us more without having to do the work of rmanually rewriting tables.
· Contextual data without context changes: usually, if we want to remember
what means a word, we have to go back in the text, or click an anchor... if
we are lucky, we have tabs, in other cases we have to deal with many windows
or with the "go back" button. A solution could be modyfing the layout in
reading time (i suppose that the ebooks have liquid layout to suit better in
many different devices): If i want to read about a word, and i have the luck
that the word is defined in the same book, a solution could be that a bubble
apears in above the word with the definition written inside. (moving the
text to avoid hiding the closer text). This lets to read the definition
without losing the context in wich we found it, and helping the reader to
understand it.
· Reading profiles: many times, depending on the device what are we using,
it's preferible to use an image or other (because contrast, size,
colors...). In the PC there are no problems, but if "we" want to expand the
usage of the format, it's important to convice the devices industry.
· The capability of "hyperlinking" books by it's identificator (not URL)...
I'm thinking in something like IABN (it's similar to ISBN, but more
"universal", based on SHA256).
· The capability of distinguish between many types of specialized data, such
as formulas, musical scores, source code, flow diagrams, and many others.
· There other ideas but it's hard to me writting it because i'm losing a lot
of nuances on the way.

About the technologies... I've thought in study the ODF format, the EPUB
format, and RDF....

At one point I plan a project, but I'm not so good programmer to do it
alone, and the people who I conviced now are not conviced because they want
to get rich, not to work to achive an interesting goal (interesting for me,
i don't know what the people will think)... in any case, my original idea
was to program with C++ plus Javascript and reuse a lot of code: (webkit to
program the viewer program, http://www.mathjax.org/ for inserting TeX and
MathML, http://steamdev.com/snippet/ for inserting source code,
http://www.vexflow.com/ and http://jtab.tardate.com/ to insert music
scores... )

In any case, I am aware that these are just dreams... but... ¿what do you
think?

Thanks for your atention, Kind regards ^_^

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