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Old 10-03-2018, 09:27 PM   #1
pittendrigh
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Server side publishing -- epub3 as web pages

Is this the right forum?

I'm announcing open source software that displays an epub3 as web pages, on an apache web server. Copy the epub to the DOCUMENT_ROOT in an appropriate place and then unzip the epub with `unzip myEbook.epub3` edit one line in a config file and away it goes.

Most readers want their epubs downloaded to a hand held device. This is as it should be. The market for server side epub(3) display is a niche market. But that niche market does exist. And this software does it, in a way that can be embedded inside a surrounding Content Management System.

For those who want to do it that way you can now use:
https://github.com/pittendrigh/robopages

Disadvantages of server side epub(3) display:
I'll punt on disadvantages for now. There are many.

Advantages:
Controlling access to the epub (server side drm) is easy. There are many ways to hide URL access behind a password barrier

The main advantage is the ability to embed large amounts of streaming video inside the epub(3), which is handy for how-to-do-it ebooks. Video is too big to fit on a hand held device. If you want an epub that contains video, put it on the server and stream it down.

I create my content with sigil and then use calibre or Jutoh to convert the epub2 to epub3. Why epub3 only? Epub3 is pure xhtml and parsing the table of contents sections is easier. Epub2 might happen eventually. We'll see.

I use it on a website that teaches people how to build a boat. Editing content with sigil is convenient for me. Displaying on web pages that look like the expected ebook format has been a great benefit to my how-to-do-it website. With all my instructions organized and presented in epub format I get fewer "how do I find" questions from my customers.

https://github.com/pittendrigh/robopages

Last edited by pittendrigh; 10-04-2018 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittendrigh View Post
I create my content with sigil and then use calibre or Jutoh to convert the epub2 to epub3. Why epub3 only? Epub3 is pure xhtml and parsing the table of contents sections is easier. Epub2 might happen eventually. We'll see.
Out of curiosity, why not create the epub3 with Sigil? I've done that without needing a second program to convert epub2 to epub3.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:57 AM   #3
pittendrigh
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Good point. Sigil can make epub3 too. I've been so involved in cutting and pasting 20 years of old HTML content into forms, and munging it with scripts in order to make old HTML become epub3 I've missed a few branches in the forest.

Forgot to point out earlier:
There is already one other "display epub on the server" program called MOBI. Mobi downloads the epub content to a hand held device and then uses Javascript codes to display the content with a book-like appearance. Each such page is wrapped and accompanied by HTML, HEAD and BODY elements, so each page display consumes the entire view port. MOBI cannot be embedded inside a surrounding Content Management System.

Robopages is a CMS that has an epub3 plugin. The Robopages epub3 plugin strips off the HTML HEAD and BODY elements leaving only the TOC and page content, which can be displayed encased inside any block element the developer chooses. So--the epub content can be surrounded by the global navigation of a larger website context. That makes it unique at this point.....as far as I know.

Actually there is a new still-in-development epub plugin for the Moodle E-courseware system. Users on the Moodle forum have been having trouble getting it to work so far, but that will likely change.

That system is peppered, from top to bottom, with mysql select and insert commands which make it specific to Moodle only. Because the Robopages epub system is entirely text based, any competent developer could modify the Robopages epub3 plugin so it would work with any other CMS system.

Last edited by pittendrigh; 10-05-2018 at 09:00 AM.
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