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2023 bug: ePUB export lang="en-US" added to paragraph and span tags

New Here ,
Nov 18, 2022 Nov 18, 2022

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I have noticed since upgrading to inDesign 2023, that when I export an ePUB file, it's adding— lang="en-US" to ALL paragraph and span tags. The file will no longer validate, it comes up with thousands of errors. For example, all instances of paragraphs, headings, etc. have the language attribute applied: <p class="Content_initial-para" lang="en-US"> and when validating the file, the error comes up that that is not a valid attribute.

 

Anyone else had this issue? How do we fix it? There are no settings in the ePUB output to cause this, and it wasn't happening before I upgraded to 2023.

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New Here ,
Nov 18, 2022 Nov 18, 2022

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Validation error says: Error while parsing file: value of attribute "lang" is invalid; must be an RFC 3066 language identifier

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Community Expert ,
Nov 18, 2022 Nov 18, 2022

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I can vouch for the added tag (which I can't say whether I've seen before or not it's not in earlier exports I have on hand), but epubcheck shows no validation errors for it. As this is both the gold standard for validation and the core of many validators, I'm not sure why you're seeing an error.

 

ETA: Kindle Previewer, the other touchstone for real-world validation, doesn't mind or note the added tag.

 

Generally, superfluous tags in the code don't generate validation issues. EPUB code could be tripled in length by adding default, assumed or null tags and it shouldn't bother any validation process.

 


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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New Here ,
Nov 18, 2022 Nov 18, 2022

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Thank you. I cannot get epubcheck to run on my computer. I use an online validator: https://www.ebookit.com/tools/bp/Bo/eBookIt/epub-validator

I've included a screenshot from epubcheck from W3c. It will not open.  😞

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Community Expert ,
Nov 18, 2022 Nov 18, 2022

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Yes, fun with MacOS's careful protections. 🙂

 

There are many validators out there and they vary as much as EPUB readers, all too often taking a core tool like epubcheck and adding features that put it in a UI wrapper, make it "easier to use" or interpret results in plain(er) English, or even add validation points not fully conforming to the EPUB standard. (I am in a state of perpetual face-palmed aghastness at the general state of the online ebook world, so this does not surprise me.) It's likely that that site is running an older/modified validator of some kind — especially as said ebook world never, ever updates anything or takes down obsolete material.

 

I'd "validate" your EPUB using another process — take that heads up that the one you are using may not be up to snuff — or figure out how to tell your Mac that epubcheck.jar comes in peace and means no harm. 🙂

 

That said, I don't know why Adobe decided to add this export detail. It may be ongoing effort to make the exports compliant with (updated) standards; I just got a notice that a long-standing flaw with end note exports has been fixed in the current pre-release version, so EPUB export seems to be getting some overdue attention.

 


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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New Here ,
Nov 18, 2022 Nov 18, 2022

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Don't even get me started on endnotes! Up until now, I've had to convert all endnotes to cross-references in inDesign, in order for the link-backs to work in the ebook. I. haven't tested that since the 2023 update, so hopefully (fingers crossed), they've fixed that now.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 18, 2022 Nov 18, 2022

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Yeah, they either work perfectly or drive you crazy. Note that the change isn't in the 2023 release right now; it's in the next, present pre-release version.

 


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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New Here ,
Nov 23, 2022 Nov 23, 2022

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Teaberrycr - I wish I could take you out for a beer or glass of wine for this. I had the same error on a client's book and had no idea how to fix it. Yours is the first comment I found online that clarified what the issue truly was. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I downloaded the earlier version of Indesign 17, opened my file, created the ebook and WOW! No errors. You made my week a thousand times easier. Thank you again!

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Community Expert ,
Nov 23, 2022 Nov 23, 2022

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Over-reliance on EPUB validators is the source of more headaches in the EPUB workflow than they are worth, IMVHO. Much of what they check is arbitrary and has little to do with the "validity" of an ebook file.

 

If you insist on validating rigorously, it can be helpful to understand the technical structure well enough to be able to interpret and judge any reported errors. Otherwise, you can't tell a genuine problem (that will interfere with reading, accessibility, navigation, etc.) from a completely trivial (and IMHO, pointless and possibly wrong — there is nothing wrong with that language tag or its coding) "error" like this one.

 


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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New Here ,
Nov 23, 2022 Nov 23, 2022

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Many of my clients use Smashwords, and they are VERY particular about the ePUB files. They will send the file back for very minor errors, so I always validate to avoid that. Even Amazon KDP and IngramSpark lately, are getting more finicky about error-free ePUBs.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 23, 2022 Nov 23, 2022

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Well, yes. Don't get me started. The EPUB world, supposedly driven by/to a single standard, is a swamp of players doggedly championing their own interpretation of what "standard" means. Let's not even go into how almost no two readers present a book (with or without flaws) the same way. Smashwords' choice is to be pointlessly rigorous about validation, using a particular tool and validation set, and rejecting completely normal variations. (As with all markup documents, there is no single, perfect code implementation; a single book could have several builds indistinguishable to reader apps and readers and all completely "validated.")

 

Things like this added lang tag are completely valid elements, but whoever wrote any one validator may have failed to accommodate them in the parsing functions.

 

ID rarely writes bad EPUB unless the document file has evident flaws, which can come from poor construction or sloppy work by the designer or from doc corruption. My touchstone is simple: If an EPUB displays and navigates correctly in Thorium, it's good. If an EPUB converts to Kindle without problems, it's good. And if a Kindle-from-EPUB displays and navigates correctly in Previewer, it's good... regardless of what any random "validator" shows. I haven't had a book rejected in a very long time by any service.

 

Which is why I don't bother with the seller sites that have their own arbitrary standards, just to reach a minor segment of the market.

 

And yeah, that's the short version. Sorry.

 


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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