SpriteKit, Pages, Videos, Epub, and Production Toolchains

I was back in SpriteKit world early this week for AppleTV world, and I do really love SpriteKit flaws and all. So I started conceptualizing what an SK Book might look like, specifically tons of “here’s a clever way to accomplish something” (which is kind of a thing with me) with a lot of simple code and embedded videos showing those things in action.

I tried doing video and GIF embeds in my normal workflow and got nowhere (especially with GIFs, which are a dead end) until I turned to Pages. Turns out Pages has no problems embedding and it can produce “universal” epubs (that is, iPhone, iPad, Mac) that can be read and watched in iBooks.

Unfortunately, it also wants a very very specific type of H.264 video, and while Pages can convert the media in-app, it takes approximately forever to tweak each one.

So if I do go this route, I’m going to have to edit in MS Word (sorry, but Pages just doesn’t do style shortcuts as well, producing about a 50% overhead in styling time for paras, examples, notes, headers, etc that I’m not willing to invest). Then transfer to Pages (easy, simple import). Add all the my videos and convert them. And then do the incredibly annoying indexing and cover work that Calibre normally handles.

Not sure I’m willing to spend that much overhead for a project like this.

Of course, having code, description, and videos in an ebook is kind of killer. And I love the video being on the same page and not via a YouTube link. iBooks Author can do some of this but it produces books that are not universal and can never be exported outside the Appleosphere.

If you have any tips for better tools / chains for productions please let me know.


  • I don’t have any tips for now but SpriteKit book would be amazing!!

  • I don’t know if it’ll produce what you need, but I use Handbrake ( https://handbrake.fr ) for all my transcoding needs. If the built-in presets don’t give you precisely what you need, you can adjust and save your custom settings.

    BTW, thanks for all your bookage & bloggage! Always insightful and helpful!

  • Wouldn’t it be easier to create a subscription-only portion of the site? This will solve update problems once and for all, and you’ll be able to use everything HTML offers as a bonus 🙂

    • Of which site? I’m confused. (Are you suggesting give up on self-pub ebooks and just write posts with a paywall?)