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Old 09-01-2008, 08:37 PM   #1
alexsbg
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Thumbs up Beta test for ePUB authoring software

We are looking for testers for the upcoming ePUB output of our authoring tool Help & Manual.

Help & Manual is a stand-alone XML based authoring tool for MS Windows to create e-books and technical documentation. It features an integrated WYSIWYG editor and creates a large range of output formats, including PDF, Windows e-books (proprietary), HTML, XHTML, compiled Windows HTML Help, Word documents and - still experimental - e-books in ePUB format. For an introduction to Help & Manual, please refer to http://www.helpandmanual.com.

If you are interested in testing the tool and the new output format, please send a message to support (at) ec-software.com with a reference to this thread and a quick summary of what you intend to do with it (what kind of e-books do you create, what would you use the authoring tool for). Serious testers will be offered an NFR license of Help & Manual 5 Professional, a $599 value.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:13 PM   #2
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Alexsbg, will this support Mobile DE by making each chapter a seperate XML file? with one input file? Mobile DE has some limitations on the size each bit (I forget the proper term) can be and if you have chapters as seperate XML, then it will work in most cases.

Also, can it support eBook formats such as BBeB, LIT, Mobipocket, eReader? If not, can these be built in?
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Old 09-02-2008, 04:32 AM   #3
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Hi JSWolf,

I don't know whether a particular program supports the format. So far, I tested Adobe DE and Mobipocket. ADE works well with the EPUB format created by our tool, Mobipocket can open them, although it doesn't support the table of contents.

Help & Manual is a topic based authoring tool. That means that it centers around a table of contents and every page (or "chapter") becomes a separate XHTML page in the EPUB output. It is on the author to split the book into as many chapters as needed.

Quote:
can it support eBook formats such as BBeB, LIT, Mobipocket, eReader
If the reader supports EPUB, yes. If not, then not. Help & Manual already creates Adobe PDF, a proprietary Windows eBook format and now EPUB. We don't plan additional proprietary output formats. The beauty of EPUB is that it is a standard and not another proprietary format.
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:36 AM   #4
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Too bad the tool is Windows only. On Linux I would have loved to betatest it.
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:44 AM   #5
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i'm not sure i'd make a good person to test because i might not have enough time / technical knowledge however i am really pleased to see more tools becoming available to make epub format ebooks. i consider one of the most important factors in the widespread, mainstream success of ebooks will be one standard format, and epub is exactly what we need. so i wish you good luck.

and i will happily beta test for you if you don't mind a dilettante tester.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:03 PM   #6
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I went ahead and got this, but if it's about programming, then I'll have to pass on it.

I'm interested in the authoring aspect. If this means assembling books in the epub format and making more titles available here on MobileRead, then I'm all for that.

Programming, however, I don't do....


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Old 09-03-2008, 07:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsbg View Post
Help & Manual is a stand-alone XML based authoring tool for MS Windows to create e-books and technical documentation. It features an integrated WYSIWYG editor and creates a large range of output formats, including PDF, Windows e-books (proprietary), HTML, XHTML, compiled Windows HTML Help, Word documents and - still experimental - e-books in ePUB format. For an introduction to Help & Manual, please refer to http://www.helpandmanual.com.
Ah. More grist for the mill. Added to the list at TextEditors.org, here.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:26 PM   #8
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Also, can it support eBook formats such as BBeB, LIT, Mobipocket, eReader? If not, can these be built in?
It's an XML and Help authoring tool, not an ebook creation tool, so including those would be of limited value for the intended market. What we need are conversion tools that can take ePub as input and output BBeB, LIT, Mobi, eReader, and other formats. You might well use Help and Manual 5 to create the ePub...
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:28 PM   #9
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I went ahead and got this, but if it's about programming, then I'll have to pass on it.
No, it's about the bane of a programmer's existence: documentation.

I grabbed it, and will play, as I do sometimes need to document things.
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:33 AM   #10
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No, it's about the bane of a programmer's existence: documentation
Yes and no
Software documentation is where we come from (the product name tells it) and many of our user are indeed programmers. But you don't need to program to use it, just write.

Help & Manual is an authoring tool with an integrated Word-like WYSIWYG editor. It is, however, not a conversion tool, despite it can import content from many sources.

The EPUB format has the potential to be more than just a format to deliver novels in electronic format. The TOC qualifies it for documentation e-books as well. It could become the long missing cross-platform standard for electronically delivered offline readings in general, no matter if novel or documentation.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:07 PM   #11
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Well TOC is not enough to qualify it but then you can also get an index in ePUB but you have to build it manually. You also need bibliographies, footnotes, and other features. Again this can be done in ePUB.
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Old 09-14-2008, 06:13 PM   #12
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Folks,

although new to the whole eBook 'thang' I can say that Help and Manual (H&M) is a fantastic authoring tool and the fact that Alexander is looking to support ePub as one of the many formats that H&M already supports can only be a good thing. With RTF, HTML, PDF, chm, XML and now ePub all built in then there is a large support base already.

H&M is a full editing/documentation tool that started life as a way of creating help files but can be used for so much more than this! It can natively create files in many formats from one 'source' document. Related to this you can create all the needed links between pages/images etc and create all the hyperlinks you could possibly need.

I can also confirm that H&M can produce output that can be seen and run on the Sony PRS-505 complete with hyperlinks / diagrams and more. In fact, I have already sent Alexander some photographs to show how well it does work.

H&M has the potential to be an awsome multi-format generation tool that can be used from scratch and with existing documents to create well structured documentation that can be tweaked to the intended destination.

I believe that it was due to my recommendation to Alexander that he look at ePub that he has investigated and made this beta available to mobileread. If it is from that then I believe based on the brief conversations that I have had with Alexander but the way the tool has developed and advanced then as eBooks become more mainstream then he would certainly look at other eBook formats natively too.

Please note, I am nothing to do with H&M or the software company that makes it, I am just a very happy user of the product!
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Old 12-25-2008, 07:29 PM   #13
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Just to clarify, can I use this to open and edit .epub files?

I'm creating epub files with caliber but would love to be able to go back and correct issues, or find the problems in books that crash my reader.
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