AZARDI 11 has been released. This is a major feature upgrade. It can be downloaded from azardi.infogridpacific.com.
AZARDI 11 has significant changes in the reading interface and now matches AZARDI Cloud Reader (aka AZARDI Online). It supports SMIL Audio overlays in ePub3. There is a demonstration SMIL audio ePub3 on the resources page. This is the full A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, with some interesting highlighting patterns including single word, phrase, sentence and paragraph.
The AZARDI SMIL support covers simple paragraph sequencing. It does not yet handle skipping and navigation. It was "interesting" enough just to get a book to talk!
When we developed AZARDI Cloud Reader, and had to overtly address any device, every screen size, anywhere, anytime; there was a penny-drop moment about the control of reading experiences for screens of any size.
AZARDI Desktop previously had an "old-school" presentation interface with a single page "book like" window and sensible, reasonable presentation controls. It was OK. But the digital content continuum is moving very fast.
We had a live project to work against - highly illustrated (incredibly highly illustrated) technical reference material. It looked brilliant on AZARDI Cloud Reader because we worked for the device/screen flexibility. It looked sad and pathetic on AZARDI Desktop.
We bit the bullet and made the changes; radical as they are. Full reader control of everything. What transpired is how it is controlled rather than what is controlled. Give control of everything.
Reader presentation control. This is essential. The reading device or application does not know what content the user is reading on what screen size. It is essential the reader can be adjusted for the best experience given for any particular combination of screen and content. Two pages just doesn't cut it for real reading, real content engagement on anything much larger than 1024px.
Chromeless. No paper metaphors, no branding bars, no page size controls, no dirty gray backgrounds. Just the user and the content. The reader has control. If they have windows they can change the size of the reader, and the layout and content.
Multiple pages/columns. On a large monitor, when reading some types of content it is nice to be able to fill the screen, set up the optimum number of columns, adjust the font0size, margins and get reading. It's magazine layout on the fly if you will. It's also nice to be able to have a smaller single page viewport, scrolling or paging for other types of content. It's also nice to be able to have fixed layout blocks interspersed with flow content, and not have to make a binary choice. AZARDI lets anyone have it all.
Infinite adjust. Yes infinite is a big number. Rather than font size control using controlled steps, we opened the options. You can now go from speckle small, to once character per screen large. The same with margins and line-height. We are assuming people using AZARDI actually want to read, and the infinite settings may be useful sometime, for some content. If you blow up your computer carrying outrageous tests to crash the reader. Go for it. Just don't irritate us with it. We also apologize that hyphenation and justification are boolean choices. We didn't decide you can't have 42% hyphenation and 71% justification. Blame Gutenberg! Blame paper. Don't blame us!
Save on exit. The presentation layout choices and changes you make are saved book by book, as is the last reading position. We also put in an addition opening interaction in the library table view so you can open a book on the default spine page rather than the last reading position if you want.
Making full book SMIL files is non-trivial. It can be automated to an extent, but attention to detail is always required. Coming shortly: our production method when pulling a few thousand interactive links together here on the Digital Content Production Wing of the APEX@IGP site. This will be updated soon.
Packaging an ePub3 with SMIL overlays is a lot less stressful than making the actual SMIL files. There is an article here on ePub3 SMIL packaging (browser warning - IE nothing, standards-compliant browsers only) for those interested in the tedious mechanical details.
AZARDI can be configured for remarkable personal content-engagement experiences on all devices and platforms with a few clicks. The users choices are maintained. Self-help, trade, academic, business content, training material, technical reference content, training manuals, text-b0oks, audio, video, interactivity, fixed layout: unbelievable flow control on any device. This is digital content.
It's not exactly "typesetting" your own book for the content you are reading, but it certainly is "layout control" of the content on the device you are using, for reading now, for the best content engagement experience. There isn't a designer in the world who can do it better other than facilitate fantastic flow content.