Eng:FictionBook 2.0 - short comments

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FictionBook is a set of strict rules for creation of electronic versions of fiction books for reading on various devices and easily manageable in libraries.

Who supports the standard?

Some six developers of book related software are engaged in the development of this standard and about ten competent fans of book design. Currently, the standard is actively developed by me (GribUser, fictionbook.lib, Any2FB) and Haali (Haali Reader, FBTools). There is also a community of concerned developers, users, owners of libraries and enthusiasts. We?ve got no Microsoft behind us. The fingers on two hands will suffice to count active participants (as of 12.01.2004:). The standard is the leader among Russians reading under WinCE.

What is the standard?s essense?

The standard is done in the form of the XML Schema. If you do not know what is XML or XML Schema, we recommend to look up The XML Basics, meanwhile to make it short ? the standard represents a set of strict rules describing the structure of documents - what <tag> should be where and what it should/should not contain (text/name of author/quotation/etc.). The standard also includes recommendations on its optimal usage.

Why such complexities?

There is already a huge amount of electronic texts on the Web, but they all are stored in diverse, often incompatible standards. It is difficult to find the text equally ready to reading on a desktop, pocket PC and e-book. The standard is to provide compatibility for any devices and formats.

The XML allows to easily create documents ready for direct use and processing (converting, storage, management) in any environment.

Is all this too complicated?

One of the objectives in development of the standard is its maximum ease both for book makers and developers of applications. Unlike such standards as the XHTML or OEB, the FictionBook has a necessary and sufficient minimum of tags for creation of electronic books. To make quality books it is enough to familiarize with The XML Basics and to find a suitable program from the Programs list. And if you read the FictionBook 2.0 Schema - comments to the scheme, you will get complete information on the format.

What all this will be within a few years?

FictionBook will survive in any case. Even if this standard is replaced or totally rejected, the books made under its guidelines can be converted into any format (XHTML, OEB, DOCBOOK...) in just one click. FictionBook will be always more convenient in use and compatible than any of contemporary formats (TXT, DOC, HTML, LIT...).

All this is too good...

This medal has a backside though. The making of a book to this standard will demand more effort than preparing a plain text file. But a book once created will be accessible and useful to a much greater number of users. Such a model of network libraries as a supplement to the existing ones, seems quite relevant.