a woman sitting at a table reading at her smartphone

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.

We decided to use typescript (i.e. typed javascript) as development language; Electron.js, a well-known technology which relies on Web technologies for developing multi-platform applications; and React.js as a base for the user interface.

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.

  1. […] EPUB 3のオープンソース実装プロジェクト (Readium 2) のデスクトップ版が3月21日、EDR Labからリリースされた。2012年2月の発表以来、6年の歳月が経過している。Chrome版に続いて、Windows、Linux、macOSでも利用可能となり、実装されていない標準機能などの普及が進むことも期待される。ここまでは長かった。 […]

  2. […] Referenz-Implementierungen von Readium 2 stehen sowohl Desktop-Applikationen als auch Mobile-Apps für iOS und Android zur Verfügung, die kostenlos getestet werden können. […]

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