Thursday, May 13, 2010

Testing ePubs on iPad - quickly

I already wrote how it's necessary to update the title of an ePub when you're testing on the iPad. A helpful reader (the same one that was working on the CSS Test Suite), responded to my complaints about the long time it takes to sync the iPad with new books by offering this tip:
There's no need to use sync to transfer epubs to the iPad. You can drag them into the iPad's book list and they get transferred over in a couple of seconds.
The only thing is that it didn't work for me. This morning I once again attempted to recreate his steps, and I dragged over the ebook to iTunes, but it wouldn't accept it. The list was all grayed out. And I was just about to write just that, when I thought about why it was grayed out. And I realized it was because I have iTunes set up to automatically sync

All I have to do to get more granular control is select the iPad in the Devices list and then in the Summary tab, check the Manually manage music and videos option.
Manually manage in iTunes 
Now I can drag individual files—like ebooks—to the iPad and they are synced almost immediately. This will save me a lot of time.


  1. I'm working on an even better solution — a fully automated script that changes the title, recompiles the epub, and puts it on the iPad with no typing and no dragging.

  2. I have documented my new high-speed testing process here:

  3. Interesting! I create a new folder (1, 2, 3) inside a general test folder for every test I do, so I can perform incremental changes and go back when they break. Could that be part of it?

    And are you on Twitter? Other people should be seeing this too!

  4. Sure, this would be easy to adapt for that approach. I'd be happy to customize it for you but I'd need to know a bit more about your environment. Personally, I use git for my configuration management, so I don't need to embed the version number in the file name.

    I'm not a Twitter user, but I sense myself gravitating in that direction thanks to your blog.

  5. I've been noodling around with creating an epub largely by hand, then sending it to my iPad via iTunes.

    Every now and then, I'll open the new version of the epub in iBooks and it'll be exactly the same as the old one. iBooks *appears* to cache its files, and sometimes it seems to use them rather than update to the new version, if they're close enough. If you see this, you can force the iPad to display the correct version by actually rebooting the iPad.

    No doubt there's a simpler way. I wish I knew what it was.

  6. @Ronald: I don't claim to completely understand what's going on, but what I observe is that if you get a new title into the metadata, iBooks will treat it as a new document. The way I achieve that is to add a timestamp to the title in the HTML. When I run it through Calibre, that timestamp gets propagated into the metadata. You can also edit the metadata in Sigil, or, as Liz observes elsewhere in this blog, edit the content.opf file. It all depends on your workflow, but rebooting is a pretty drastic way of achieving the desired result.

  7. Yes, Ronald, much easier way: change the title of the ePub in the content.opf file. Details here: (I think I need to highlight my links on my blog better!)


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