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Chris Pye Another post mentions 'skins' in connection with Activ.
I seem to have missed something,  what are we talking about here - anyone?

Posted on: 6:51 pm on January 17, 2003
EBookCompiler Skins = the ability of the author and/or user and/or operating system to customize the look of a software package/ebook.

- You (author) write a book about woodwork.  You make all the buttons look pieces of wood or nails etc.
- You (user) play a sound in the Windows Media application (in Windows XP), and you can change the way the application looks. If you like Heavy Metal it looks like skulls and fire. If you like 60s, it's psychadelic
- You (via operating system) change the settings in XP, and the appearance of applications change

Activ E-Book Compiler doesn't currently have a skins function. Some the version 5 thread includes comments suggesting it might be nice to have one in future. As far as I can tell the emphasis seems to be on the author controlling this rather than the users/operating-system - in these discussions

Posted on: 10:25 am on January 18, 2003
Chris Pye Thanks, Sunil - that's clearer, although the word 'skin' in this context does seem a little strange.
I imagined it to be something like a 'shell' , or the 'wrapper' that some programmes use for updates - rather than tinkering with the interface and adding effects.

If we manipulate the appearance enough - sound, video etc -  it brings into question whether we have a 'book' at all, or something entirely new - personally I think it's the latter.

But, has this to do with the 'Activ' aspect? - although I've read various things about it, I still can't quite grasp the idea.
At the risk off going of topic, could you sum it up in a couple of clear sentences for me please?

Lastly, I'd just like to say, in the light of some other posts - I cannot imagine a better product offer, or price, than yours; nor a better support or backup.
It's really exceptional and you are certainly greatly appreciated by your users!

(Edited by Chris Pye at 1:25 pm on Jan. 19, 2003)

Posted on: 1:20 pm on January 19, 2003
KC "If we manipulate the appearance enough - sound, video etc -  it brings into question whether we have a 'book' at all, or something entirely new - personally I think it's the latter. "

What a bonus, eh? :-) More than just an Ebook compiler, definitely.

Posted on: 3:20 pm on January 19, 2003
EBookCompiler Some people prefer to think of the stuff that comes out of the compiler, as "software".  I guess it depends on your point of view.  

If you get a real book, there is nothing to stop you, say, slashing out all the pages and spreading them on your bedroom floor, if you find it nicer to read that way. Now that might not be possible with an e-book, but I don't see why other manipulations that might suit an author and/or user might not be desirable to be permissible.

With "skins" I think most people are thinking of the author (usually) controlling aspects of appearance of the e-book, like the style of buttons, colors, etc.

Why is it called "skins".... because recent programs that play music (and others too) often have an option for the user interface to be customized (usually by the user not the author of the program) that is called "skins"

Posted on: 4:07 pm on January 19, 2003
Chris Pye Thanks Sunil.
I agree with KC that we are talking 'bonus'. I also think that seeing the result in 'book' terms at all is probably just a necessary step to finding it has become something quite different - unique to the medium - in the future. My bedtime reading certainly doesn't play a lullaby with a troop of sheep to count...
Great to be at the cutting edge, eh?
Best wishes to all.

Posted on: 9:08 am on January 20, 2003
Alaska Hi.

As a help author, I build a lot of 'online information systems'.  That used to mean Winhelp files; now it's HtmlHelp (.chm) files, and web-based info systems.  I use tools for those systems that are very helpful when it comes to designing and building ebooks, and I can swap out skins, or 'themes,' or what have you, in less time than it takes to make toast.

 Whatever you call it, some ebook compilers also have that capability.  I also use a 'skins' style when building the ebook contents, and the two work well together.  

This might be interesting for those wondering about skins - this is proprietary stuff for software from eHelp:




 And, here is an example of an ebook with a skin, interchangeable by the builder (me).  The link:


 Scroll down that page to the E-ditor compiler writeup to download the 'Alice in Wonderland' zipped file.

 If anyone would care to test it, I would appreciate it.  I'm looking for any bugs that might show up on combinations of IE and Windows.

 Thanks for your time -

 best -

(Edited by Alaska at 3:24 pm on Jan. 20, 2003)

Posted on: 12:15 pm on January 20, 2003

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