Waag/Remko Siemerink BY

Booktype workshop at Sandberg Institute

Last week I participated in a workshop on Booktype at the Sandberg Institute. Booktype is an open source 'self-publishing' platform. Here's an introduction to Booktype and a short report on what we tried to achieve and got done. Watching the video you'll get a good idea of what Booktype is and what they're up to: 

Booktype, the open source publishing platform

You should check out the website for more information, but in short Booktype is a CMS for books or other types of publications. It allows multiple users to work together on the same publication, and publish it in all kinds of different formats: Just a PDF, a complete website or a wide range of different e-book types and formats (iPad, iPhone, Kindle, etc.). A cool thing is that it's open source software that you can just download an install on a webserver. And if you're nerd enough: change it and improve it.

The workshop was a combination of using (or abusing?;) the system and improving it. While the Sandberg students were inputting and editing material in Booktype for their yearly publication, my role was kind of researcher / developer. I focused on reverse-engineering the Webkit to HTML utility that is used by Booktype to generate the (preview) PDFs. This was very interesting and challenging: it reveals the gray area that is in between design for print ("traditional", normally InDesign) and web design (HTML + CSS). The languages and tools used for web design became very powerful the last few years, like CSS, Javascript / jQuery and the Webkit .  There's more and more possibilities with CSS for print, but not quite everything, and certainly not in and easy straightforward way. We had fun challenging each other, testing things and trying to get the book to look the way the designers wanted it to.

Above this post you find some pages from a preview PDF generated in the workshop. I'll try to update this post later with the final result (the (e)book). The workshop was lead by Adam Hyde from Booktype (form Nieuw-Zeeland, currently based in Berlin) and Hannes Bernard from Sandberg Institute (from South-Africa, currently based in Amsterdam).