CNET Editors' review
WYSIWYG stands for "what you see is what you get," and it's been a computer term since it made the jump from TV catchphrase in the 1970s. A WYSIWYG editor lets you edit e-books in something as close as possible to their final form, which greatly improves not only editing accuracy but also the appearance and presentation of the text. It's critical for readability in both traditional and electronic publishing formats. We looked at Sigil, a free, open-source, multiplatform e-book editor that is designed to edit ePub documents such as e-books. Sigil offers full Unicode support and full EPUB specification support. An extensive users' manual and blog provide help and tips.
Sigil's installer let us associate the program with EPUB, TXT, and HTML files. The program's user interface is nicely designed and rendered, with attractive and colorful icons on a browserlike toolbar that offers a nice break from the hieroglyphics of typical editing toolbars.
The main view is divided vertically between three resizable panels: a Book Browser on the left, a tabbed document view in the middle, and a Table of Contents panel on the right -- a logical layout that we could augment with an optional Validation Results panel along the window's bottom edge. But we could also drag views out of Sigil's interface and place them independently, as well as rearrange the program's panels simply by dragging and dropping them into place.
We were able to start typing right away in the blank XHTML document in Sigil's main Book View. The toolbar handles formatting and also offers Undo and Redo. The Book Browser's tree view showed not only our document in the Text folder but also other folders such as for Styles, Images, and Fonts. The Chapter Break and Insert Image tools save time while typing.
Sigil's many extras include the Cleaning with HTML Tidy, Check for Well-Formed Errors, and Validate ePub tools as well as the Split View, which splits the main window horizontally, displaying a file's Book View above and its Code View below. With Sigil, what you get is what you need.
From Strahinja Markovic:
Sigil is a multi-platform WYSIWYG ebook editor. It is designed to edit books in ePub format. It is free and open source software under GPLv3, It provide full Unicode support: everything you see in Sigil is in UTF-16 and full EPUB spec support, WYSIWYG editing, support Multiple Views: Book View, Code View and Split View, include Metadata editor with full support for all possible metadata entries (more than 200) with full descriptions for each, table Of Contents editor, perform advanced automatic conversion of all imported documents to Unicode.
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All versions:3.2 stars
out of 9 votes
Current version:2.7 stars
out of 3 votes
My rating:Write review
Results 1-3 of 3
"5x version is not as good as 3x version"
Version: Sigil 0.5.3
The older version (3.4)of this worked well, 'tweaking' ePubs which I had converted from PDF. Using custom stylesheets, etc was painless. The interface was intuitive, and everything "just worked."
The software used to work properly and be intuitive, but since its version updates, does nothing but crash. The new code view doesn't work properly, for instance, and the authors say there is no fix with the current code they're using. The new code also isn't fixable, whereas the old code worked fine.
since removing some of the old code and adding code that doesn't work properly, this has turned into a horrible program that doesn't work. Please use version 3.4 instead!
Version: Sigil 0.5.3
=> Before I stumbled upon Sigil, I was coding EPUB files by hand. I especially appreciated how it instantaneously added new pages to my "Content" and "Table of Contents" files without my having to do anything.
=> Sigil's WYSIWYG formatting makes creation of EPUB books easy. Though I do a lot of hand-coding, being forced to open and close paragraph or heading tags can get a little tedious.
=> Does not force the creator to complete the Dublin Core, and omits important info--like language and author. This causes errors when using KindleGen to convert a book for Kindle.
I added it by hand to my "Content" metadata, and later found that there was a GUI for this. It might be nice if Sigil prompted you for this information during the save.
=> The spell checker only works in the code view, and not the WYSIWYG. It seems to me that it should be supported by both. Typos run rampant for sausage-fingered hunt-and-******* like myself...
=> HTML/ CSS editors do not check for proper formatting. But this is a wine from a person used to an IDE--and yet, remembers life before IDE's and other labor-saving innovations...
I really enjoy this product. Great price, and drawbacks aside, well thought out. If they could clear up the Dublin Core issue--which showed up repeatedly in forums--and add spell-check to the WYSIWYG, it gets 5-stars easily.
"Instructions are overly simplistic"
Version: Sigil 0.5.3
Easy process to bring in basic documents and make them look fairly processional.
ePub and similar are basically HTML structures. However, the help files for Sigil assume you know all about HTML, and do not mention at all the unique features that an eBook requires. For example, any book needs chapter breaks, and HTML assumes that chapters would be in specific pages, not a break in the middle of a single document.
The documentation of Sigil should (a) mention that this is not an HTML tutorial (and point the user at one) and then talk about the uniqueness of an eBook variation, e.g. Chapters, covers, TOC.
For any type of complex (e.g. Normal) book, the import from other forms, e.g. RTF, leaves a muddle very difficult to work with, and that, at least in my experience, incorrect rendering of objects.
Great idea, insufficient documentation. It may be another example of "you get what you pay for" (and note, Sigil is free.
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