New achievement for EDRLab: the public release of Readium Desktop alpha1, for MacOS, Windows and Linux
One year ago, the European Digital Reading Lab started working on an important missing piece in the set of reading systems developed by Readium: a desktop application. Students use intensively their PC or Mac to access textbooks; visually impaired people commonly use a PC with a “screen reader” application to access any type of publication; and more generically, many ebook readers in public libraries, at work or at home, would like to access EPUB files on there desktop computer. But there was no good open-source EPUB reading application for them.
With the financial help of EDRLab founding members, and especially the help of the French CNL (Centre National du Livre), we started prototyping around a new kind of reading app, which could be deployed on the three main desktop operating systems, i.e Windows 10, MacOS and Linux.
The source-code of this application would be given to the Readium Foundation with a liberal license, so that everybody can customize the application for its specific usages.
And the application would be made Readium LCP compliant, so that everybody can benefit from this new and user-friendly way to access protected ebooks, obtained via an e-lending public library or via a compliant digital bookseller.
Having now developed a clean architecture for the software, it’s time for us to release the first alpha version of the software, as a ready-to-use application for Windows, OSX and Linux (Debian).
You’ll find the released installer tools in the EDRLab repository of released versions, and you can freely use the application for reading un-protected EPUB 2 or EPUB 3 files, with the following caveats:
- fixed layout publications are displayed on a single page.
- user settings are minimal
- page numbers are not displayed
- there are no bookmarks, search …
All these features and many more, including Readium LCP support, a better design and features expected by visual impaired people, will be developed during the coming months … by the EDRLab team and – we hope – with the help of a fresh community of developers interested in this super-exciting open-source development.
Our main task in the coming days will be to move the source-code of this application (and internal SDK) to the Readium Github repository, so that the whole Readium community of developers can use and enhance it.
If you find issues (bugs, not missing features) with the current application, please open a Github issue on the EDRLab Github repository for this alpha1, and on the Readium repository for the upcoming versions.
Special thanks to the Centre National du Livre for its help financing the alpha version of Readium Desktop.