Transforming eBook Production by Treating Books as Software

Photo by Jixar
Digital books are bundles of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. How do we efficiently convert and create these pieces of software?
These bundles can be very complicated. For example, Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology has thirty-nine chapters. Now add in interactive quizzes, 3-D models, high-definition video, educational slide lines, and pop tip glossaries/footnotes, and if you're not careful you will need a small army to produce every eBook. If next generation eBooks require FabergĂ© egg levels of care and expense we'll never get the scale and quantity we need to make this new world real.
It turns out over the last fifty years we've developed an incredible set of techniques and tools for dealing with artifacts of incredible complexity: computer software itself. These tools include:
  • Source control systems
  • Issue databases
  • Automated testing
  • Cross compilers
  • Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)