99 Problems

  • Sumo

99 ePub rendering problems on the  wall
take one down, pass it around
98 ePub rendering problems on the wall

Easily the most frustrating part of designing and developing ePub projects, the various rendering issues on each and every device or app can create an enormous amount of headaches. Despite the standards set forth by ePub3 we’re still a long way off from consistent rendering on each and every device.

One big reason is that none of these rendering systems are open source (unlike the majority of web browsers). Because of this, there’s no one single place to see if a rendering bug exists, and—if so—how or if it has been fixed (see the WebKit issue tracker to see how web browsers handle this).  Without any of the major e-retailers taking the lead on this, I’ve decided to try to give it a go.

Introducing 99 Problems

I’ve set up an issue tracker on Github called 99 Problems. The point of it is to centralize our knowledge of problems with various device and e-reading rendering systems so that we as a community can get past them. Want to see if you’re the only one facing that “first number in a numbered list in mobi7 is bold” issue? Check out 99 Problems and you’ll find out you aren’t. And if you are, you can add it to the list and see if others have already solved the problem. Issues are tagged by device or reading system for easier discovery, and github also has a built in search tool to try to find that issue a bit quicker.

The best part of 99 Problems is that anyone can add to it.

How to add an issue

If you’ve never used github or their issues tracker, you can learn a little more about it here. Since 99 Problems is only an issue tracker, I won’t go into using github repositories here, but here’s a quick step-by-step rundown on submitting your own issue.

  1. (Make sure you have a github account)
  2. Navigate to the 99 Problems issue tracker page here
  3. Quickly go though the list to make sure your issue doesn’t already exist
  4. Click on the New Issue button (green, at the top)
  5. Add a title that is clear about the issue
  6. Add a description, and try to be as clear as possible
  7. Click “Submit New Issue”

Its that simple. If you can, try to include a file showing the issue (a link to the file is probably easiest). This will allow other people to test the issue and possibly provide a workaround. The more the merrier!

The Workaround Tag

One of the great benefits of 99 Problems is the “Has A Workaround” tag. When an issue is tagged with it, it means one of us has a workaround. Still wondering how to get iBooks to respect your image width—we’ve got a workaround listed there. While I have no problem with just listing the myriad of problems we face, it’s even better when someone from the community can provide a solution.

Feedback, please!

Take a look around on 99 Problems—I’m sure you can add an issue, right? And as always, feedback is very much appreciated.

3 Responses to “99 Problems”

  1. Wow, great resource. I see a couple of my items in there already.

    What happens if you enter a rendering bug but then someone adds a comment to it that you’re doing it wrong ;-D so it’s not a rendering bug, just user error. Does that stay up there (with a tag for User Error or Corrected or something) in case other users have the same error? Or could the OP just delete it once they figured it out.

  2. Derrick Schultz says:

    We can close anything not deemed a real bug and tag it as such. I think leaving it in there is worthwhile, as users can still search for it and find the solution in there.

    There’s already a few in there I would deem enhancements, but I chose to keep them in there because I think its valuable to think of them as “bugs” from a user’s perspective.

  3. Rich Dailey says:

    This will be a great resource… will be watching closely.