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Old 12-04-2008, 02:17 PM   #1
Julian Smart
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Free epub creation tool: eCub

A new free application for creating simple e-books:

http://www.juliansmart.com/ecub

eCub is a cross-platform tool for creating EPUB and MobiPocket books. It offers a convenient way to import text and XHTML files and create all the necessary components of an EPUB file. It also makes it easy to view and edit files, and check the generated EPUB, using external tools.

A wizard allows you to create a new project in seconds, with options for generating a table of contents, a cover page, and a title page. You can create a simple cover design image using templates and a basic design tool. Then you can compile, check and try out the EPUB at the click of a button.

To summarize, this is what eCub does:

* Creates unencrypted EPUB files from text or XHTML files;
* Creates MobiPocket files if you have the mobigen application;
* allows editing of the text or XHTML files with a simple internal editor or designated external editors;
* helps you create a simple cover design image;
* optionally creates title, content and cover pages;
* can be run from the command line as part of a build script;
* can be used in portable mode (data and settings are stored locally).

eCub is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris x86.

All feedback welcome - this is an initial release.

Julian Smart
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:34 PM   #2
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hi Julian, i've stuck this thread. thanks so much for this tool ; i think one of the things stopping more people from making epub is the lack of a simple offline creation tool. perhaps this is the answer every one is waiting for. i will definitely take a look myself.

cheers !
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:47 PM   #3
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Why aren't you open sourcing it?
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:15 PM   #4
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Why not open source - there are a few bits and pieces from our other commercial apps in the source, plus open-sourcing implies a level of admin (and loss of control) which I'm not keen on right now. It's not that I'm not a fan of open source (see my wxWidgets work), it's just not appropriate for everything.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian Smart View Post
Why not open source - there are a few bits and pieces from our other commercial apps in the source,
That, I get.

Quote:
plus open-sourcing implies a level of admin (and loss of control) which I'm not keen on right now.
That, I don't. In any case, having a closed source app is better than having none at all Does the epub creator respect the html and img size limits for the PRS 505/700?
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:37 PM   #6
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I'm happy that there's a Mac version...I'm going to try it with the story I'm working on.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
That, I get.



That, I don't. In any case, having a closed source app is better than having none at all Does the epub creator respect the html and img size limits for the PRS 505/700?
Hi,

Ah - no, it doesn't do anything special to most images (they're just imported into the project); eCub only creates a cover image and that has a user settable size. Still, this is just the first version - no doubt I'll learn a lot more about reader constraints etc. in due course!

Thanks,

Julian
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Old 12-04-2008, 05:55 PM   #8
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Have a look at the tool epubpreflight, it checks for a few of the known device constraints.
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:39 PM   #9
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wiki page created for eCub.
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Have a look at the tool epubpreflight, it checks for a few of the known device constraints.
Sounds good, I'll check it out a.s.a.p.

Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2008, 01:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian Smart View Post
* helps you create a simple cover design image;
How do you include the cover image in the ePUB file? I mean, how is it marked up in the .opf file or whatever? Do readers (e.g. the Sony ones) display the covers in thumbnail view?

I seem understand there's no real standard way to include covers in ePUB, but I'm interested in some sort of work-around or de facto standard that would work often at least.
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
How do you include the cover image in the ePUB file? I mean, how is it marked up in the .opf file or whatever? Do readers (e.g. the Sony ones) display the covers in thumbnail view?

I seem understand there's no real standard way to include covers in ePUB, but I'm interested in some sort of work-around or de facto standard that would work often at least.
Hi,

I just followed this spec:

http://www.mobipocket.com/dev/articl...File=cover.htm

and the covers display OK on Mobipocket Reader and Adobe Digital Editions. However I don't have a real e-book reader to try it on yet...

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Old 12-05-2008, 03:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
How do you include the cover image in the ePUB file? I mean, how is it marked up in the .opf file or whatever? Do readers (e.g. the Sony ones) display the covers in thumbnail view?

I seem understand there's no real standard way to include covers in ePUB, but I'm interested in some sort of work-around or de facto standard that would work often at least.
The "standard" way is to simply have the "cover" be the first page in the markup stream. Adobe's "EPUB Best Practices Guide" recommends using an SVG image set to scale to fill the display, with no margins (either through CSS body/@page or the Adobe-extension page master stylesheet), which certainly works and looks good in AdobeDE on both the desktop and the PRS-505/700.

For specifying a raster "cover image," Mobipocket suggests having a metadata/meta element with a @name of "cover" and a @content of the manifest/item/@id of your cover image. I'm not sure who else does anything with that, but the DRM-free EPUB books I bought from HarperCollins UK do it too.

HTH.
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Julian Smart View Post
I just followed this spec:
So... no need to add:

Code:
<spine toc="ncx">
  <itemref idref="Cover" linear="no" />
  ...
</spine>
(where "Cover" is the id of an xhtml-wrap for the cover image)

or:

Code:
<guide>
  <reference type="cover" href="images/Cover.png"></reference>
  ...
</guide>
? (this is all a question)

Quote:
The "standard" way is to simply have the "cover" be the first page in the markup stream.
What do you mean "the markup stream"? The first zipped file after "mimetype"? The first entry in the <spine>?

I think I used the markup suggested in the page both of you linked, in my test file (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32036), could you try it and tell me whether it's working as it should?

PS. Sorry I didn't intend to hijack the thread, you can reply by PM...
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
What do you mean "the markup stream"? The first zipped file after "mimetype"? The first entry in the <spine>?
The latter, just the first spine/itemref.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
I think I used the markup suggested in the page both of you linked, in my test file (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32036), could you try it and tell me whether it's working as it should?
It certainly does work, although I’d suggest a few changes:
  • Definitely incorrect is that your guide/reference[@type="cover"] @href should refer to "Cover.xhtml" instead of the cover raster image. The OPS states that "each reference must have an href attribute referring to an OPS Content Document included in the manifest."
  • I’m not sure the @id="Cover" itemref should be @linear="no". AdobeDE ignores the @linear attribute when rendering the linear reading-order, but another system could use it and consider the first page of the first @linear="yes" content-stream as the "cover." Certainly all the books I’ve looked at have the cover as (an implied) @linear="yes".
  • You might try making the content of Cover.xhtml be an SVG encapsulation of the cover image, which will allow the image to fill the first whole "page" in SVG-supporting reading systems (which according to the spec should be all of them, but hey...). Check out the Adobe EPUB Best Practices Guide for an example.
  • You may want to consider not having @id attributes distinguished only by case. Not that it’s wrong – just confusing. :-)
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