Proposed Design and layout for technically oriented eBook
Tools for implementation: I’m using FrontPage 2003. To create the html for my eBook, I plan to use simple layout tables, and CSS for print-friendly pages. I plan to use dynamic web templates for the design of browser friendly pages.
Main structure: TOC – links to all chapters, and links to important subchapters.
For each chapter: Make it about 3-4 pages deep. Include links back to TOP of chapter at bottom of each page. At the TOP of each chapter, include bookmarks in a chapter sidebar for quick access to chapter content, and a link to main TOC. These bookmarks and links to be put in a layout table next to a main table for bulk text content.
Entire text document in optimized print friendly format. This means without bookmarks/chapter sidebars/ links to TOP of chapter.
To provide such print friendly pages – do I have to create different html-pages without the bookmarks etc, or can that easily be done using CSS somehow? And will I need to create different print friendly pages for A4/Letter paper formats? (BTW, is there any simple way to include page-numbers that will not differ between formats? Say, if Letter can contain more text per page than A4, I still want page 37 to be the same!)
Any suggestions for improved clarity etc gratefully appreciated!
The way CSS works for screen/print is that you first create your layout for the screen with all of the design elements that you need--like the navigation bar, etc.
In the print stylesheet (BTW use external CSS stylesheets) hide the navigation, chapter titles, etc. and change the previously hidden page numbers to show (show=print). It is the same HTML page. The only thing that changes is which external CSS stylesheet is used (screen/print).
Most layouts can be accomplished without tables, which means that the page file sizes are reduced. If you have more than just a few pages the reduced file sizes really starts to add up.
If I understand you correctly your main navigation (that appears on on every page) will link to the first page of every chapter as well as to the index page, which is the TOC.
Have you considered using fly-out panels? That is when a user hovers their mouse over a chapter link on the main navigation a panel flies out with all of the sub pages associated with that chapter. It makes for a compact navigation system that also allows the user to quickly navigate from one page to another throughout the book.
Using fly-outs will also eliminate the need to have additional navigation at the foot of every page that leads to the first page of the chapter. It is also worth mentioning that the fly-outs can be done entirely with CSS.
On Activ's site there is a script for bookmarking pages. It allows the user to close the book and when re-opened will automatically return to the last page visited. Or were you thinking in terms of book marking like Favorites in a browser? If that is the case you're going to have to create a script that writes a file with the links so the information will be available from session to session. That is something I haven't done.
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