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Old 05-24-2009, 02:14 AM   #1
bizzybody
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Guide for eCub to make Mobipocket book?

I want to convert an HTML file to Mobipocket format. I've used Mobipocket's software before, but find it lacking in many areas and it hasn't been updated in a while.

eCub is supposedly "easy" and "simple". I suppose it is IF you already know how to use it for making Mobipocket books.

I got the latest eCub and installed it. I also got mobigen.exe Since I could find no suggestions on where to put it, I put it in the same folder as eCub under Program files. After looking through the very minimal help file (which is where an exacting step by step *should be* for creating mobi and epub books) I found where to tell eCub where mobigen.exe is. There's no Browse button! The user must type in the entire path to it. I know this is very new software, but no Browse button for this essential component?

Next I get it pointed to the folder where the HTML file and images are, get it figured out how to add the cover image, and change the image because I initially got the wrong one selected. This is another function that's sort of hidden and less than clear- what's with the dialog box without a Browse button to make it *ahem*"easy" and "simple"? Making the user manually enter complete paths is so 1980's. (I've been using computers for 26 years, I know from whence I speak. Started with DOS 2.1)

This is where I am stuck and stumped. Clicking the Compile button appears to do *nothing* except make eCub unresponsive for a bit. (Yo! User feedback is a good thing.) Clicking Launch just gets me a dialog box saying I must generate the ebook first. There's nothing in the Help that tells how to do this.

I've spent about an hour searching the web (so much for "quick") but nowhere do I find any how-to, guide, instructions etc on HOW TO DO THAT WITH eCub. All I find is that it can do it with mobigen.exe

Documentation is just as important as the program, even in the earliest stages of development. I've used many programs from their earliest days- it's fun when the author writes *detailed* instructions. When the author writes minimal instructions, or doesn't bother to include any how-to-use info at all, then it's a pain in the backside. Good documentation also cuts down a lot on the "How do I..." forum posts and emails.

So if you've actually managed to figure out how to make a Mobipocket ebook with eCub, please tell the rest of the world- put it into a nicely formatted, numbered list or some other intelligible form and post it here. Sending it to the author of eCub with a suggestion that it get put into the Help under an easy to find heading like "How to make a Mobipocket eBook" might also be a good idea.
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:05 AM   #2
gescom
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Ecub is free to download for multiple platforms, ok its not perfect (yet) but close enough I would say. A big thank you to its author Julian Smart for releasing such a handy little program. Cheers!

When clicking 'compile' make sure you have saved your project first. For any errors (user feedback) check the 'Log' tab next to the 'Files' tab.

The Launch book button doesn't work for me either... EDIT... the 'Launch' button executes whatever external program you have assigned to use *.epub files on your system. If you have not registered the filetype with a program when clicking the 'Launch' button nothing will happen. Usually you know if a filetype is registered as it will have its own logo.


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Using eCub

To use eCub:
1. If you have existing HTML or text content, prepare a project folder with the HTML or plain text files you wish to import, one per chapter. If you already have a cover image (must be 600x800 pixels), place it in this folder also. Export text files from your word processor in UTF-8 encoding if possible, with the chapter title as the first line, and one line per paragraph (i.e. not preformatted).

2. Run the eCub New Project Wizard. It will prompt you for some basic information such as title and author, and then for the ebook file name and project folder. Next choose whether you'd like to import existing text or HTML files, or create an empty project (add chapters manually), or import from an existing book. If importing files, the next wizard page will prompt you for the kind of files you would like to import from the project folder, if anything (HTML and/or text files) and the imported files will be shown in the next page. Finally, choose a front cover image or design your own from a template or from scratch using the simple cover design tool. You can skip this step for now and come back to it later.

3. When you press Finish, your imported content files will be shown under the Files tab. From here, you can edit files either in the simple built-in text editor or by clicking on the Edit button (under Files) and using an external editor.

3a. Click the green plus button to add more html or txt files as chapters. Click the up and down arrows to change the order of your chapters. Clicking the red cross removes the selected chapter. You can name each individual chapter by typing in the 'Title:' box. The 'Level:' button changes the level of the chapter in the table of contents (the amount of indentation)... for example:

Chapter 1
....mobigen
....epub
.......help!

'Chapter 1' is set to level 1, 'mobigen' and 'epub' are both set to level 2 and the section 'help!' is set to level 3.

4. You can edit project details such as title and author using the Project Properties dialog (Edit on the toolbar, or Edit | Project Properties from the menubar). You can also choose what parts of the book will be generated by eCub, such as cover page, title page and contents page.

5. When you're happy with your settings and content, press the Compile toolbar button (or choose File | Compile from the menubar). This will compile a .epub file (or .mobi file) in your project folder. Errors that occur during compilation will be shown in the Log window.

6. Use another program (calibre) to open your mobi or epub file to view it.

Quote:
Setting up Mobigen for MobiPocket (.mobi) output

In ecub go to the 'view' menu and select 'preferences' and then the 'helpers' tab. Click Get mobigen. This will open the Mobipocket Developer Center page in your web browser. Download the 'Mobigen 6.2 build 43' command line tool on the right side of the page. When you have downloaded the file unzip it and place the mobigen.exe file in C:\Program Files\eCub\ .

Go back to the preferences/helpers tab in ecub and copy and paste (hehe ) this path C:\Program Files\eCub\mobigen.exe in the Mobipocket compiler box.

When starting a new project when asked for the name and location you would like to save your epub file just use that box but name it myfile.mobi. Under ebook types tick MobiPocket only.

This can also be selected by going to the edit-project preferences menu (ctrl+k) and selecting the 'options' tab. Make sure 'Generate MobiPocket' is ticked.

Quote:
Simple way of Importing Cover Designs

Prepare a cover image using a paint/design program that is 600x800 pixels in size. Save it to your ecub project directory. The New project wizard should detect it automatically (Use an existing file).

If not you can go to the cover design section (ctrl+d), click the 'background' tab, under style: choose 'image'. Click anywhere within the Texture: box/rectangle to bring up a 'select image' section.

Alternatively use the add text, image or box buttons to design your own. If you click the add image button please note that it is only asking for an object name, not the path of the file. You give any name you like then a image selection chooser comes up.

Another option in the cover design section is to click the 'Templates' button (bottom left) and edit the pre-existing templates. Its a good way to learn how to use the designer as you can see finished designs.

Any cover design that you make in ecub will be rendered to an 600x800 jpg file named CoverDesign.jpg in your project folder. That's why its probably better just to design your cover in a seperate paint/design program first as you will have more control over the way it looks.
Btw if anyone is creating epub files for use in the Stanza ebook reader for iphone/ipod touch then please note that any spaces in file and chapter names will cause problems with page/chapter linking. See this thread for info: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47508

Last edited by gescom; 05-24-2009 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:06 PM   #3
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I found where it puts the output file. The last line in the log ends with \build\OPS/content.mobi. but that file's deleted when it's done. The output file gets put in the same folder as the source files.

So why is that last thing not in the log eh? A dialog box informing the user (with a Don't show this again checkbox) of the final output's location would be nice.

eCub is like so many programs where the author is re-writing all the stuff the GUI already provides, specifically file dialogs. GUI systems have standard dialogs so that programmers do not have to spend time and code doing *everything* like they did with commandline systems- yet for the past 25 years programmers have mostly persisted in reinventing the wheel rather than simply using the built in system calls etc. Adobe is a most extreme offender on both Mac and Windows, then there's MS Office that is just as bad as Adobe products at not using Windows' built in stuff.

Do you remember one of the big marketing points for Windows in the early 90's? Something about once you learned to use one program, you could use them all. Would be true IF programmers would use the standard dialog boxes instead of creating their own, usually worse than the OS default, boxes.

I did some programming in the 80's and 90's. Things like error trapping, garbage collection, making sure error messages were actually informative and useful, making the program make sense to people who didn't know how every little bit of it worked (ie everyone *not me*, the author)... for me it was *work* so I quit. But those are just the things any programmer who expects anyone *not them* to use their software must do to create a good and useful and *useable* product.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:53 PM   #4
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Yes the epub or mobi file is placed in your project folder when you click 'compile'. A simple Compile complete/succesfull dialog box would be handy, I agree (but its shown in the log).

I know what you are saying bizzybody but nothing is perfect! This program is so much easier to use when defining chapters than Calibre (for me anyway), and the other alternatives are Adobe Indesign which not many of us can afford or learning to make epub files by hand which would be very time consuming.

I am going to send a quick email to the author to tell him to add in the help file that epub/mobi files are saved in the project folder ('using ecub' section) and to think about creating a compile finished/ok dialog box so we now that its done.

I found that the 'Launch' button executes whatever external program you have assigned to use *.epub files on your system. If you have none set then nothing will happen. Again a dialog box would be handy giving an error message no external viewer found etc.

Btw if anyone is saving their pdf's to text files this is a handy online tool to remove line breaks and still keep paragraphs intact. http://www.textfixer.com/tools/remove-line-breaks.php. It just means that text word wraps properly to the edges of your window. Perfect for importing into ecub.

Last edited by gescom; 05-24-2009 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:32 AM   #5
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UPDATE: Good news, Julian Smart the author of Ecub kindly replied to my email and said that the simple usability features suggested would be added to a to-do list to appear in a future release of the program.

After clicking 'compile' the log tab will show automatically to the front so the user can read 'compile successful' straight away. The log window does come to the front automatically but only on errors. Also the 'Launch' button will hopefully tell the user if no *.epub or *.mobi filetypes are registered on the system and to install/set up an external viewer instead of nothing happening. Although I would imagine this might be difficult to implement accross multiple platforms. Just a few simple things which should hopefully help new users to the program find it a bit more intuitive!
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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He'll also have to update it so the log shows the location of the compiled file. It didn't for me, it just ended with the temporary .mobi file's location.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:55 AM   #7
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Unfortunately I can't find anywhere the mobigen.exe anymore.
Any idea where to get it from?

thanxs
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parvati View Post
Unfortunately I can't find anywhere the mobigen.exe anymore.
Any idea where to get it from?

thanxs
prvt
Search for "kindelgen.exe". Amazon renamed it.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:39 PM   #9
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I found a program named Auto Kindle that's very easy to use and the files it outputs work both on the Kindle and with Mobipocket Reader.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/autokindle/
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