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Archived Message:

Version 5 Alpha Release

EBookCompiler Version 5 of Activ E-Book Compiler is now on the way.

I anticipate being able to make an alpha release available in the *fairly* near future.

Alpha release means:

1. It's NOT fully tested, there almost certainly will be bugs, even possibly serious ones. (although in my limited testing it has been fairly stable).

2. You should NOT ship ebooks made using this version to customers or anybody else (nor share the install program)

3. The documentation is not complete

4. Some features that will be included in the final version 5 may not be present.

Given the above, if you are interested in testing such an Alpha release (including telling me any bugs you might find), please post in this thread, your name and email. I will contact you in due course.  I am particularly interested in people who will test the scripting features.

As everybody will ask, I will start by saying, I am still working on the nested subdirectory support feature which I hope to include in Version 5, but this is not done yet, and may not be in the Alpha (I do hope that it will be in the final Version 5, but no absolute promises)

Here is a summary of some (not all) of the other new features and fixes present in Version 5.

- General miscellaneous code improvements
- General miscellaneous bug fixes
- Updated Help, README, etc

- Better compression of eBook Content (uses 3 different compression algorithms, selecting the best per file automatically)
- Better security of eBook EXE file

- 64bit time support through out (should eliminate any 2038 problems)

- Built-in icon editor

- Can limit number of results (helps with speed on very large eBooks)
- More accurate results
- Faster in general results
- Activ Variables containing the last search done (can be used with JavaScript to highlight hits)
- Can customize search results page ("search templates"

- Parameters can be passed via the GOSUB statement
- Return values can be passed via the RETURN statement
- Local variables can be created using the LOCAL statement
- Optional parameter to ENTERPASSWORD statement
- New statement: SEARCHRESET, resets last search Activ Variables
- .AS script files can be processed entirely in memory (more secure)
- .ASE script files (and program to convert .AS to them) which allows authors to share their scripts with other authors, without having to disclose their script source codes

- Which password to select can be keyed off ESBN/UserID (as at present), User ID, ESBN/VolumeID, or Volume ID. Options not including the ESBN allow you to make a series of eBooks which all require the same password number.
- Bug fix: Perl code generated by Save As in Edit Security, syntax error corrected.
- Expiry, fixed a bug with the partial day with timed expiry

- If disallowed, PrintScreen is better protected against.
- If disallowed, fixed drag'n'drop bug.

- Can password protect some or all rebrandable fields, individually or in groups.
- Some minor changes to the text in the user interface.

- Fixed bug with spaces in path names.

- Support for the forthcoming (separate) "WAW" program

Posted on: 4:24 am on October 23, 2004
Alaska Count me in - I can't wait to see this beauty.

 It's all good news - the recognition of subdirectories is most excellent, as well as the bug fixes and other enhancements.  I'm also excited but a bit confused about the quote -

"Options not including the ESBN allow you to make a series of eBooks which all require the same password number. "

 What about the ESBN, now?  If we don't use an ESBN, we can create ebooks with a common password per user?  I like that 'common password' part, but don't understand the ESBN part...

best -

Posted on: 5:20 am on October 23, 2004
ma2 Hi Sunil, welcome back. Looking forward version 5 and thanks for fixing 2038 problems.


(Edited by ma2 at 6:38 am on Oct. 24, 2004)

Posted on: 6:31 am on October 24, 2004
rtgartman I am very interested!!! I have a product that has some pretty complicated scripts involved. Several arrays, global.js and inc_global.js files. Complicated mathematical scripts. It is a health program and people can create a plan for weight loss and print the form for the day. Includes Weight Training Poundages, Exercises and stuff like that.

I would like to see how the software would handle using version 5

Posted on: 8:11 pm on October 24, 2004
EBookCompiler Roger, simple answer:

Say you set up a series of Different eBook (each with different ESBNs) with lots of passwords (let's say 1000 passwords each)

Book 1 - uses ESBN and User ID
Book 2 - uses ESBN and User ID
Book 3 - uses ESBN and Volume ID
Book 4 - uses ESBN and Volume ID
Book 5 - uses User ID
Book 6 - uses User ID
Book 7 - uses Volume ID
Book 8 - uses Volume iD

Alice downloads these eBooks to her computer.
- Book 1 + Book 2, are unlikely (0.1% chance) to use same passwords, because the password selection is keyed off ESBN in part
- Book 3 + Book 4, are unlikely (0.1% chance) to use same passwords, because the password selection is keyed off ESBN in part
- Book 5 + Book 6, will require the same password number on Alice's computer, e.g. they both might require password 932, because both have same User ID on Alice's computer
- Book 7 + Book 8, will require the same password number on Alice's computer, e.g. they both might require password 156, because both have same Volume ID on Alice's computer

Bob now downloads to his computer
- Book 1 + Book 2, are unlikely (0.1% chance) to use same passwords, because the password selection is keyed off ESBN in part
- Book 3 + Book 4, are unlikely (0.1% chance) to use same passwords, because the password selection is keyed off ESBN in part
- Book 5 + Book 6, will require the same password number on Bob's computer (but not the same as Alice's computer, because Bob's user ID is different), e.g. they both might require password 291, because both have same User ID on Bob's computer
- Book 7 + Book 8, will require the same password number on Bob's computer (but not the same as Alice's computer, because Bob's volume ID is different), e.g. they both might require password 661, because both have same Volume ID on Bob's computer

Why is this useful?

Say you are giving a series of related eBooks to your customer.

Some authors would surely consider it a time saver, to have password protection, but to ensure any particular customer, uses the same passwords for all of the eBooks in the series. Hence they use the approach given in books 5/6 or 7/8.

Posted on: 4:34 am on October 25, 2004
Storyman Sunil,

Great to hear about version 5 and look forward to the final release.

I do have one question (read that as a suggestion). I have an e-book planned for release, which will have the first three chapters unlocked.

What I'd like the user to be able to search the entire text with the results showing the hits for the unlocked chapters, then show the number of hits in the remainder of the ebook. The idea is to give them more of an incentive to purchase the ebook.

Posted on: 8:03 am on October 27, 2004
EBookCompiler Sorry we don't have that in 4.x or 5. I don't anticipate having it anytime soon.

The problem is to calculate the hits, the ebook viewer needs  to "see" the text of the pages.

In version 4 and earlier, this was theoretically possible (but not implemented of course) as the viewer could theoretically (internally) "see" the text of all pages, if it had wanted to (but it didn't actually do it)

In version 5, the new security system, means the viewer can not "see" the text of any password protected page unless the password is correctly entered. Knowing the correct password is a prerequisite to deciphering the locked pages, even to our own software.  In other words, in order for the viewer to "see" the locked pages, it must first have the password, otherwise the locked pages are undecipherable to it.

Posted on: 7:05 pm on October 27, 2004
Storyman Sunil,

Thanks for the reply.

Since the search feature will require access to the full book is there a way to turn off that feature until after the ebook has been purchased?

In fact is there a way to generally toggle features on/off in relation to if the book has been purchased?

Posted on: 5:00 am on October 29, 2004
EBookCompiler We don't have that at the moment

I guess what you could do is remove the Search button from the toolbar, and put a search button in the page

[A HREF="##SEARCH()"]Click here to search[/A]  - use greater-than less-than signs instead of [ ]

Now with some trickery (see example in our Help of how to show which pages are password protected), you could maybe show or hide this link depending on if the password is entered.

Not precisely what you want, but fairly close.

Posted on: 1:42 am on October 30, 2004
Storyman Sunil,

If you haven't already, please add the feature to toggle features on/off depending on if the ebook has been purchased.


Posted on: 2:41 am on October 30, 2004
Alaska StoryMan - if you notice where Sunil says:

Knowing the correct password is a prerequisite to deciphering the locked pages, even to our own software.

So, toggling this security measure off would be removing your ebook security. You can do that already...

 Here's a simple solution: Use redirect pages that contain your keywords.  They redirect to the real content pages.  When your reader does a search, the redirect pages come up in the list, because they have the keywords.  But when they click on one of those search links, the user is redirected and gets the 'Pages Locked' message.

Further, within that framework, you can always use the Activ variable {iscorrectpassword} to control the functionality of individual pages.

...and now, for something completely different....

Sunil, I've reread your breakdown on the book types, but I would like a tiny bit of clarification:

Assuming the ABC ebookstore uses the book schemes either 5-6 or 7-8; each customer still have their personal password number (1 - 1000). When they order an ebook today or next year, Bob's (on his machine) is password number 621, Alice's (on her machine) is 419, no matter what ABC ebook they order.  Right, so far?

So, they still have to pay to get the password for each ebook, because password number 621 for "Call of the Wild" is different from the password 621 for "War and Peace".

But, now we know in advance what password to provide, and can send it as soon as the payment is made, not when the user opens the ebook, gives the password number, the user contacts the publisher, the publisher sends back the right password, blah blah blah.

I'm hoping I described the scenario well enough - the idea being that it would allow a purchaser to buy multiple unrelated books at different times, without the extra steps for each book.

That would make the security measures almost invisible to the user, without the inconvenience of the multiple steps to buy and open a new ebook.

best -

Posted on: 6:34 pm on October 30, 2004
EBookCompiler Roger:

1. I didn't understand the first half of your post!  

I've re-read it about half a dozen times, and still don't get what you are getting at.

In case it is different (and I'm not sure whether it is or isn't) the point I was getting at with the bit of me you quoted.

(a) To display a non-password protected page (or to know whether it matches a search):

EBook Data (stuff inside the EXE) --STEP A--> HTML

(b) To display a password protected page (or to know whether it matches a search):

EBook Data --STEP B--> HTML

Now in version 4 and in version 5, STEP A is always do-able

In version 4, STEP B is theoretically do-able by our software (although not implemented) even if the user hasn't entered the password. (so in theory we could tell if a password protected page matched a search)

In version 5, STEP B is *not* do-able by our software (and is mathematically hard, although I won't go as far as impossible) unless we have the password entered by the user.

2. The stuff from "Sunil, I've reread your breakdown on the book types"... sounds right

Caveat, is if the user reformats their disk (Volume ID options + User ID options) or reinstall Windows etc., (User ID options), then Bob or Alice is going to need a whole new set of passwords.

The thing to make sure that the same password number is required for a series of ebooks, is to (a) choose the right option, (b) make sure all the ebooks in the series have the same total number of passwords.

Another possible use for this feature is if you say have a free trial of 1 ebook, the user pays, gets the password for that ebook, plus say a whole bunch more.


3. Your request is a good idea, but we don't have it at the moment.

Posted on: 1:46 am on October 31, 2004
Alaska Sunil -

Sorry, I'll try to do better.

Part A: that was pretty much my point; that it sounded like in the next version 5, your 'step B', or de-encryption of those pages (as I read it), must occur or there is no way to search that content.

 It just seemed to me that the ebook would have to turn off this security feature to enable that search.

That brought me to Part B, the workaround for StoryMan...  

 If he has chapters 3-10 that he wants to keep locked up until paid for, but show up in searches, he can build redirect pages for each of locked pages.

 Chapter_3.htm and the others will be locked up, but Chapter_3_redir.htm (and Chapter_4_redir.htm , etc.) will contain all the keywords that are important to that chapter, and won't be locked.

  Chapter_3_redir.htm can be searched, but it won't display, because it will jump immediately to the real Chapter_3_.htm - and get the 'Locked Page' message.  Same for Chapter_4_redir.htm, and so on.

 Did that cover it?

 best -

Posted on: 7:13 am on October 31, 2004
Peter East Hi Sunil.
Great, thanks for fixing the 2038 problem, I would like to have a go with the alpha.
How long do you estimate for full V5?
Well Done,

Posted on: 5:57 pm on October 31, 2004
Hope it's not too late to jump on the Beta Bandwagon. I do alot of scripting - usually HTML, JavaScript and ASP.

Some of the scripting options you're offering seem to be solutions to previous problems I've encountered when working with Activ E-Book and had to work around.

Let me know if I can Beta test for you.

Posted on: 6:34 pm on December 11, 2004
Carlos Sunil,

Are you going to include any new "Activ Script File Statements" on version 5? I didn't see any reference to this on your post.

I would like to see the ones I suggested on the "Version 5 suggestions" thread, as I think they would be greatly appreciated by your customers that also uses your product to create "software".

You could even create a different version for people that need these "advanced" activ scripting features.

BTW, is there any estimated time for the beta version?

Posted on: 1:47 am on February 5, 2005


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