Obi 3.5 beta (released on August 7, 2014)
Obi 3.5 beta presents complete support for producing navigable audio only EPUB 3 publications. It introduces the capability to import the structure and/or audio from the existing EPUB 3 publications, as well as enhances the EPUB 3 export making it in sync with the latest revision of navigable audio only EPUB 3 guidelines. Additionally, it enables structure import from a CSV or delimited text file, introduces the ability to perform audio processing (amplification, normalization, etc.), provides support for importing MP4 files, and incorporates other enhancements.
This is the incremental test release for Obi 3.5, and incorporates all the major features planned for the version. The previous test releases introduced EPUB 3 export along with numerous configuration options for different requirements of worldwide membership of DAISY Consortium; such as, enhanced Transport bar giving smart access to various playing and previewing options, new additions to the Recording Options button, audio profiles for one-step configuration of audio preferences based on members’ requirements or skill level of the users, etc.
New features and enhancements in Obi 3.5 beta and alpha releases
Enhanced EPUB 3 production workflowsObi can create navigable audio only EPUB 3 publications, as well as import existing EPUB 3 publications for modification or conversion to the accessible EPUB 3 audio only format. The structure and/or audio can be imported from the existing EPUB 3 publications as follows:
- Structure from EPUB 3 text only publications
- Structure and audio from EPUB 3 media overlays
- Structure and audio from EPUB 3 audio only publications
The EPUB 3 export is also enhanced to bring it in sync with the latest revision of navigable audio only EPUB 3 guidelines. It is augmented with a new option to create dummy text corresponding to the SMIL elements in the content document. This will be very useful for the publications, like text books, where users may demand precision in the reading systems functionality, such as bookmarking.
After exporting, you can take advantage of EPUB 3 Validator to ensure that the exported book is valid as per EPUB 3 specifications. Obi’s EPUB 3 Validator uses IDPF’s EPUB Check Validator in the backend, and can be accessed by clicking Tools->EPUB 3 Validator on the menu.
The publications produced by Obi are in compliance with the navigable audio-only EPUB 3 guidelines being prepared by the TIES (Transition to Inclusive-EPUB 3 Eco System) project.
Ability to import MP4 filesObi can now import MP4 files also. The MP4 file format is gaining popularity in the web content and is frequently used for the audio content in the EPUB 3 publication. With this feature Obi broadens the scope of reusing the existing content.
Creation of structure made easy with the use of spread sheetsObi incorporates structure import from a CSV file or a delimited text file. You can key-in the structure information in any spreadsheet software, like Microsoft Excel, and save it in the CSV or delimited text file format. This file can then be imported in Obi to create the project with the structure of the book in place. The menu item File->New Project from import gives access to this functionality.
Audio processing enabled in ObiObi introduces the framework to integrate audio processing libraries. Just click on the menu item Tools->Audio Processing and specify what audio processing function to execute, and Obi will process the selected operation accordingly. This release enables amplification, normalization, and the ability to vary the speech rate via the native libraries, which will be replaced by the professional libraries in future.
New Japanese language pack added, & existing French language pack updatedNew Obi also comes in Japanese. Thanks to Assistive Technology Development Organization, Japan for translations.
The existing French language pack is also updated, thanks to Association Valentin Haüy - France for consistently updating the French translations.
Restore the position and size of Obi, and keep the Graphical Peak Meter aligned to its right edgeYou can now save the location and size of Obi’s application window by checking the checkbox Save location and size of Obi> in the Project tab of the Preferences dialog. Henceforth, Obi will open in the same position & with same size every time. In addition, you can choose to keep the Graphical Peak Meter aligned to the right edge of Obi window by checking the checkbox Keep the peak meter aligned to right edge of Obi in the project preferences.
One-click configuration of audio preferencesNow you can configure audio preferences to suit your requirements by simply selecting an audio profile. Audio profiles are either based on the proficiency of using Obi (Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced), or based on the specific requirements requested by members (Profile1 and Profile2). When you select a profile from the Profile combo box in the audio preferences, a particular set of checkboxes get selected. You can view the description of the selected profile by clicking on the adjacent question mark (?).
Following is the brief introduction of the profiles:
- Basic: This profile is best suited for new users; it turns on non-destructive recording mode.
- Intermediate: This profile is suitable for advanced users; the Record button starts recording directly, and the Recording Options button gets activated giving access to advanced recording commands.
- Advanced: This is also for advanced users who have powerful computers. It turns on the features like live waveform creation, merge first two phrases detected by post-recording phrase detection, etc., in addition to the features of Intermediate profile.
- Profile 1: This profile is tailored for specific requirements, where the Record button is configured to record over subsequent phrases of the section along with some other configurations.
- Profile 2: This is also a tailored profile, where the Record button previews before recording and overwrites the subsequent phrases of the section along with some other configurations.
Playback made more flexible and handyYou can access the variants of Play and Preview commands by simply clicking on the Playing Options button of the Transport bar or pressing Ctrl+F7. This new button is placed next to the Play button and offers the following options:
- Play All: Plays the entire audio content of the project.
- Play Section: Plays the audio content of the current section.
- Play Section Heading: Plays the contents of the heading phrase of the section.
- Preview From: Plays a small portion of audio starting from the position of the audio cursor.
- Preview Upto: Plays a small portion of audio up to the audio cursor.
Recording becomes even more powerful by readily available advanced recording optionsThe Recording Options button (Ctrl+F8) of Transport bar has two more commands:
- Monitor Continuously: Continually monitors the audio input when not recording.
- Preview Before Recording: Plays a small portion of audio before recording.
Introduction of Step forward and Step back commandsObi introduces two new commands, Step Back and Step Forward, to move the audio cursor back and forth by a small amount of time in the section. These commands are listed in the Navigation submenu under the Transport menu. The single key shortcuts for executing these commands are:
- Step Back: E
- Step Forward: Y
Locate empty sections by just looking at TOC viewObi can now display empty sections in a different background color in TOC view, enabling users to locate them by just looking at them. To turn on this feature, check the checkbox Highlight empty sections in TOC view in project preferences.
Avoid confusion by enforcing single cursorYou can instruct Obi to use a single cursor instead of two. In this case, whenever you click on any location, the red audio cursor will automatically be mapped to it. To activate this feature, check the checkbox Enforce single audio cursor in the audio preferences.
Capability of updating language packNow you can update the latest language pack in Obi. The new menu item Update Language Pack under the Tools menu gives access to this functionality.
Choice of restricting the behavior of pressing Stop twiceThe default behavior of executing the Stop command twice was to invoke the Select Nothing command. This used to result in deselecting the selection, which may confuse new users. Obi gives you an option to change this behavior by checking the checkbox Do not deselect on pressing Stop twice in the audio preferences.
You can find help on the functionality of these features in the “What’s New?” page of Obi Help, which can be viewed by clicking on the Help contents menu item under Help menu of Obi.
List of some major bugs fixed & behaviour changes made in this release:
- In the Zoomed Waveform View, expanding and contracting the audio selection with keyboard did not work at the right edge of the selection.
- In DAISY 2.02 import, empty pages moved to the beginning of each section leaving their actual position.
- If the Transport Bar's Next Phrase button was used when the empty phrase was selected, the selection moved ahead by 2 phrases instead of 1.
- It was not possible to change the Empty section color from the color preferences.
- When an empty phrase was selected, the Play Section command was not able to start the playback.
List of some major bugs fixed & behaviour changes made in Obi 3.5 alpha releases:
- If the user activated the Monitor Continuously option from the Recording Options button, and then clicked Select Nothing on the Edit menu, the Recording Options button used to get disabled leaving the user with no option to deactivate it.
- If the DAISY book being imported had newline characters in the section names, they were not rectified at the time of import and imported as is.
- When phrase detection was automatically applied after recording, Obi used to select the first detected phrase instead of the last.
- Structure import from XHTML file used to fail, if there was no anchor element (a) inside the heading element.
- Structure import from XHTML file used to fail, if the ID attribute was missing from heading or span elements.
- Audio cursor used to get stuck, when the user used to pause the Play All command and give the Play Section command.
- The navigation buttons of the Transport bar, such as Next Phrase, previous Section, Next Page, etc., can now be used to navigate in the entire project when Transport bar is in the stopped state. Earlier the navigation was restricted to the play-list only.
- Preview Before Recording provides the tape-like behavior of recording by deleting the subsequent audio content in the section.
- The phrase being recorded is shown more distinctively for easy visual identification.
For complete list of fixed bugs please visit fixed issues page
To download Obi 3.5 beta please visit download page and scroll to the test releases table.
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