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Old 11-10-2015, 08:23 AM   #1
crankypants
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How to allow extended ASCII German characters in my EPUB?

I'm writing a tool to make basic EPUB2 books from a configuration file, and Markdown files (which are converted to XHTML). I didn't find anything else that suited my needs as I have large text files I want to convert to EPUB, and add basic formatting to them.

Currently, the Firefox plugin EPUBReader, which I use to test with, seems to choke on ASCII characters over 127. How do I allow ASCII characters and German characters in my EPUB? Do I have to change something in the XHTML header?

I can write my software to change these extended ASCII characters to Unicode but EPUBreader seems to produce an error with any unicode also, except named entities.

The ERROR I'm getting from EPUBReader about the German characters is:

Code:
XML Parsing Error: not well-formed Location: 
file:///C:/Users/XXX/AppData/Roaming/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/0ddipa6u.default/epub/54/OEBPS/Text/00intro.xhtml#H2_00intro_00003 
Line Number 27, Column 4:
And then it points to an extended ASCII character.

The header for each XHTML file is this:


Quote:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="no"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd">

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xmlns:epub="http://www.idpf.org/2007/ops">
<head>
<title>$bldtitle</title>

Last edited by crankypants; 11-10-2015 at 09:46 AM. Reason: added code tags to cope with very long line
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:09 AM   #2
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You must specify the character set used in the XHTML files properly. This is most easily done with unicode text, IMO.

You could make one sample ePub using your converted Unicode text and something like Sigil, to ensure that you're creating your XHTML and the rest of the ePub with the proper declarations and metadata.
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:26 AM   #3
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You must use UTF-8 for that. All reading systems will expect that. The error you mention is because another error probably.
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxaris View Post
You must use UTF-8 for that. All reading systems will expect that. The error you mention is because another error probably.
I already specified utf-8 in the header of each XHTML file. I edited my original post to add the XHTML header.

What else do I need to do? Modifiy some of the other files like content.opf? This is the top of my content.opf file which already specifies utf8.

Quote:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
<package xmlns="http://www.idpf.org/2007/opf" unique-identifier="BookId" version="2.0">
<metadata xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" xmlnspf="http://www.idpf.org/2007/opf">
<dc:identifier id="BookId" opf:scheme="UUID">urn:uuid:a507e61b-f4b4-4982-be43-0cc046f4b053</dc:identifier>
<dc:title>Pblah</dc:title>
<dc:creator opf:role="aut">author name</dc:creator>
<dc:language>en</dc:language>
<dc:date opf:event="modification">2015-11-10</dc:date>
</metadata>
I even pasted some German text into Sigil, and made my XHTML headers match exactly what Sigil produced. I still get an error in EPUBreader.

Last edited by crankypants; 11-10-2015 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:55 AM   #5
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If you specify UTF-8, the text must be UTF-8. Not a high-ASCII German encoding.
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Old 11-10-2015, 12:11 PM   #6
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I believe Perl 5.18 has a mode for writing utf-8. I'll look into it. Thanks.
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Old 11-10-2015, 12:41 PM   #7
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It worked! Thank you. Here's the Perl open statement I used:

Quote:
open($OUTFILE,">:encoding(UTF-8)",$outfile) || die "$procname ERROR: Could not open $outfile.\n";
print $OUTFILE "blah blah foo\n";
...
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Old 11-10-2015, 01:00 PM   #8
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You could have simply used any texteditor which allows to change a text's encoding like (I guess) Notepad+ or (I know) jEdit.
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:04 PM   #9
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Not to discourage you to write your own script, but maybe you want to look at calibre or pandoc to do what you want. With pandoc you can make whatever you want out of markdown. Epub, html, docx, latex, excellent pdfs via latex (without needing to know anything about latex) etc.
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