May 23, 2014
Firebrand is excited to announce the launch of FlightDeck, a new EPUB quality assurance tool from Firebrand's eBook Architects team.


Quality Assurance (QA) is an important step in any eBook creation process, and is invariably the step that ends up being the most frustrating. FlightDeck aims to make this QA process easier and less discouraging. It helps you quickly isolate bugs and potential problems in your EPUB files, and gives you clear instructions on how to fix them.



FlightDeck starts off by running EPUBCheck and providing you with the output messages, but more importantly helps you understand what those messages actually mean. FlightDeck is smart about what is going on behind the scenes, and it only shows you messages you need to see. 


Best Practices

Having a file that passes EPUBCheck is only the first step in a solid QA process. There are many areas that may not be required according to the specs, but are still important when creating well-formed EPUB files. FlightDeck's Best Practices process gives you a complete report on these areas, including suggestions for improving your file structure, fixing potential style problems, and more. Be aware, we set a very high standard in the Best Practices testing!

Retailer Grid

Perhaps the most helpful feature in FlightDeck is the Retailer Acceptance Grid. We collaborated with major eBook retailers to define their rules for acceptance and ingestion, and have implemented tests for those rules in this report. FlightDeck even has Apple's Transporter tool built in behind the scenes, so you can catch potential problems before you send the file to your distribution channels.

Metadata Editor

FlightDeck includes a built-in metadata editor that allows you to easily change the core information in your EPUB file. It also includes a BISAC subject look-up feature, and it distinguishes between EPUB 2 and EPUB 3 metadata.


File Stats

FlightDeck aims to give you more information about your EPUB files than you can get anywhere else. The Stats page allows you to see actionable information, like all of the external links and a list of embedded fonts, and interesting information like the number of words and image dimensions.


Not Only for Developers

FlightDeck is a powerful tool, but it is not only for eBook developers. We built the tool to be useful for anyone who creates or proofs EPUB files. If you are not the person who edits the files, you can print out reports for your development team or outsource vendor.


And More!

At eBook Architects, we are committed to the highest quality in eBooks. FlightDeck gives us a unique opportunity to help everyone create better EPUB files, and we are working hard to make this the one tool that every publisher and eBook developer uses to test and improve their EPUB files. We have even more great ideas for features and functionality within FlightDeck, and we would love to hear any ideas you have, as well.


FlightDeck will be in an open beta testing period for two months. Please take a few minutes and try it out. Give it your most difficult EPUB Files, and let us know if you have any ideas or thoughts that will make it even more helpful to your eBook creation processes.


See the official press release here [PDF].

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