Posted on by & filed under html5, ibisreader, ipad.

About 15 minutes of minor changes and Ibis Reader is the first ereader on the iPad. App developers have to wait for approval, and even Apple has to to wait for the release of the actual hardware. If you have access to the iPad simulator, you can use it right now.

If you access the site on an iPad today, you get a different block of content on the home page:

The link provided is the same one that we direct all HTML5 devices at. Here are some screenshots from the experience:

List page

Book table of contents

Reading page

Obviously there are some stylistic changes we’ll want to make:

  • Making the margins in reading pages wider
  • Enlarging the size of cover images
  • Making better use of space on list pages

Tech notes

Here are a few things we had to change to get it working:

Event handling

On Android and the iPhone, touchstart and touchend events are fired when the user touches the application, followed by onclick. We preferentially use the touch events when reading a book because of some quirks in Android.

The iPad doesn’t seem to automatically fire the onclick event after a touch, so I had to make it manually trigger that for anchor links.

Orientation changes

The iPad simulator doesn’t fire the orientationchange event when the simulator is rotated. We don’t know yet whether that will be true of the device, so at this time Ibis Reader won’t correctly re-paginate after an orientation change.

Viewport width/height

The iPhone doesn’t report its height/width correctly, and doesn’t report it differently when rotated. We have these values hard-coded in the app.

Happily, the iPad does seem to report the correct value, both when the URL bar is visible and when it’s not (because the app has added to the home screen). We don’t yet know about rotation since we’re unable to detect that.

HTML5 database size

There’s a bug in the current iPhone OS (3.1) in which the user won’t be prompted to increase an HTML5 database after the webapp has been added to the home screen. This means that Ibis Reader users on the iPhone can’t ever add more than the default 50MB worth of books. This bug appears to have been fixed in the iPad OS.

(Android does not prompt the user to increase a DB, but does increase it automatically if there is space available on the device.)


20 Responses to “First ereader on the iPad”

  1. Kaveh

    Good work Liza. Question: do you know if Apple will allow books in their iBook library to be accessed by 3rd party Apps?

  2. Joseph

    Nice work! How are you thinking of adjusting the display for the landscape orientation? I know that iBooks goes to the facing-page format, and in my experiments, single-page landscape view on the iPad is a dreadful user experience.

    Ideally one would lock the orientation (to solve the reading-in-bed problem), but alas, that’s not available to mere share-cropping web app developers.

  3. Joseph

    Oh wait, I see there’s a hardware screen orientation lock switch now. This is what happens when you ignore your feeds for five days at SxSW.

  4. Liza Daly

    Uri: Bookworm does have full text in the core code but it wasn’t scaling on the O’Reilly deployment, so we disabled it. We’d need to revisit doing it differently (probably with an external search engine rather than using MySQL’s fulltext feature.

    We do plan on adding fulltext search to Ibis Reader, but I don’t have a timeframe for that yet.

    Joseph: Yeah, I was really happy to see the hardware switch added. I wish there were one on my iPhone.

  5. Liza Daly

    kristen: We’re going to be releasing an early version of a more visual display of your books pretty soon.


  1.  First ereader on the iPad : Threepress Consulting blog | iPad News and Reviews
  2.  Ibis Reader: eerst eReader op de iPad » Best eReader / over eReaders en eBooks
  3.  iPad Links: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 « Mike Cane's iPad Test
  4.  Первая читалка для iPad at Электронные книги
  5.  How can writers prepare for the iPad? | Best Buy iPad
  6.  Планета е-книг » Blog Archive » Первая (?) программа чтения е-книг на iPad
  7.  “Pierwszy” czytnik ebooków na iPada – ibis Reader | Audiobook Fan (by
  8.  Will Apple Refund “Defective” eBooks? « Mike Cane's iPad Test
  9.  How Do You Solve a Problem Like the eBook? | The Book of MPub