Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sigil 0.7.0 Released

I'm pleased to announce the immediate availability of Sigil 0.7.0. The underlying theme for this release is finishing features. If you look back though previous releases you will see features such as spell check and preview that were added and in subsequent releases further enhanced. The goal all along was to intorduce these features, get feedback then enchance them. We wanted to get the features out there in a useable form and slowly evolve them around people's needs. We also didn't want to hold useful features simply because they didn't do everything we wanted. In this release many of these incremental features are now finished. Please see the changelog for a full listing. This release comprises a number of new features and plenty of bug fixes. Some of the biggest changes are:


Features


Live Preview


When split view was first removed this is what was intended. It's taken small steps though a few different releases but this is what was always intended. The new live preview is a dockable view that can be removed from Sigi's main window for placement on a second monitor. As you edit your changes will automatically be displayed in the preview area. This way you can see how your changes will look without having to toggle or click around. In addition the preview will continue to show the content from the last HTML tab you had open when you switch to CSS, for example. This way you can see the changes auxiliary files will have on your actual content.


Spellcheck


A lot of changes here which round out the functionality. You'll notice the spellcheck button is no longer next word, but opens a dialog. All of your misspelled words are shown (and even all correctly spelled words, with a tooltip in the header showing the count of unique words). You can now click a word to show that word in your HTML file (doubleclick for the next occurrence), and choose to Ignore it, add it to a dictionary, or change every occurrence of the word to something you type or one of the suggestions. And you can enable multiple dictionaries at once - so you can have a standard list of names, places, alongside one for the specific book.


Edit TOC


This has been a long time coming but it's finally here. If you have an existing TOC in a book and want to make a simple change without having to setup headers everywhere, you can now just edit the TOC.


Clips


This has become a very powerful tool and it is now more accessible. The Clips features have been modified to make them a bit more accessible. So you can enable a Clips Bar toolbar showing you your first 20 clips (and they can have keyboard shortcuts too). In addition to defining Clips for html code, you can also make a button for a special character you use often (e.g. create a curly apostrophe button and ctrl-apostrophe to use it). A Clips window is like the clip editor but you just need a single click to select an entry. Basically you can define your own buttons now (well, for simple items). Oh, and there's an Autofill in Clips that will scan your CSS files and create entries for them, perhaps to save some typing or just for amusement.


Reports


New reports have been added! The All Files report is included to cover Audio and Video files but is useful to see what is in Misc, how large your font files are, etc. The Links report will tell you every anchor link used in the book and whether or not it points to a valid destination. And if you use anchors for footnotes/endnotes it will tell you if your reverse links match. And a small Characters Used in the Book report to see if anything odd made it into the files, and possibly to help with font subsetting (although its probably not ideal for that although it was the original reason for it).


Saving and non-well-formed content


In previous version of Sigil you could not save your work if it was not well formed. Meaning it was not validly constructed XML. This limitation has been removed. The well formed dialog that would popup has also been removed. A new well formed column has been added to the Reports for HTML files. The preferred method for determining the validity of the EPUB is to use FlightCrew. Combined with Reports these two should be used to determine the quality of the structure.


Audio/Video


You can play audio and video files in Sigil, and all the related functions for inserting images, deleting unused images, editing externally have been updated to handle Audio and Video files as well.


Qt 5


Sigil is now using Qt 5. This brings an update to the underlying HTML rendering engine. This means embedded font's should now display correctly. It also provides support for Audio and Video preview. Due to the change to Qt 5 a number of core, internal pieces were rewritten to take advantage of Qt 5. Qt 5 is still a big rough around the edges (this is especially prevalent on OS X) but the new features far out weight any issues.


One change due to Qt 5 is Qt is now much harder to compile from scratch. It takes a long time to build Qt on Windows and the Qt Project only provides pre-built binaries for 32 bit Windows. As such this release does not have a 64 bit Windows build. This shouldn't be an issue because even 64 bit Windows can run 32 bit Windows applications. Also, (as far as my testing has shown) there is no decernable performance difference between running a 32 bit vs a 64 bit build of Sigil. Sigil doesn't do anything that would really take advantage of being a 64 bit application.


Misc


You can search with wrap on or off now, embedded fonts display correctly and random highlighting issues are gone (finally), the Index and HTML TOC now use separate stylesheets for their formatting, and you can bookmark your location to return to later.


EPUB 3 (Not Yet)


Sigil is still an EPUB 2 editor. While some EPUB 3 features (Audio and Video) have been incorporated Sigil is not an EPUB 3 editor. It's best to think of this release as EPUB 2+ where the plus is the ability (not requirement) to use some EPUB 3 features.


This leads to the inevitable question of when will Sigil support EPUB 3. Eventually. There are a number of issues and questions that need to be sorted out. That said, EPUB 3 is a focus and with this release incorporating Audio and Video EPUB 3 is not being ignored.

5 comments:

  1. Keep up the good work. Sigil has become my default EPUB editor. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cool, John.

    I will update my Slackware 14.0 packages (http://slackware.com/~alien/slackbuilds/sigil/) to the new 0.7.0 release and write something nice about it on http://alien.slackbook.org/blog/

    Cheers, Eric

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah, shame... I noticed the Qt5 dependency too late.
    That means, no packages for Slackware until we move to Qt5 (which will not be this year).

    Eric

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hope this is running stable, because all the new features are very promising and could speed up my EPUB workflow very much! Thank you for doing such a great job. I've been testing Sigil like a year ago and it didn't seem to work so well, but now I'm fortunate with this new release and looking forward to EPUB3 features! (which I'd highly appreciate since I've completely updated to EPUB3)
    I'll report any bugs as soon as I recognize.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sigil is definitely the best EPUB editing tool that I have been able to find online. Calibre is a nice tool and fine for conversion, but when you need to pop the file open and go through the guts, tweak things, etc., Sigil absolutely shines. I read the manifesto on the "groups" of users out there and I definitely fall into the Power User category, so I appreciate that I have been targeted. I especially like the full RegEx find & replace function complete with the ability to replace with backreferences--sheer bliss! I absolutely appreciate all the work that has gone into this software. One additional thing that would be useful is a way to automate hyperlinking, such as for footnotes, references, glossary definitions, or other back matter. Not a rigid system like InDesign, but something as flexible as Sigil itself. I would even appreciate a scripting interface, so that I don't have to unzip the file and process the HTML files separately. Anyway, Sigil is definitely my #1 tool for ebook creation and thank you again!

    ReplyDelete