ePubChef description for a friend
The other day someone asked me what the ePubChef software does, and how. This is what I told them.
ePubChef is software which:
- Starts with plain text files (a file = a scene or chapter containing paragraphs of words)
- Those text files can be augmented by a human using markup (HTML or Markdown) if needed
- a control document dictates how scenes are stitched together to form chapters and the entire document, I call this the recipe.
- Rules apply common typographic best practices (remove double spaces, convert three dots to an ellipsis, etc.)
- Multiple output options are possible. The text and any markup are injected into templates. My first templates produced EPUB 2, I changed the templates, but not the books to produce EPUB 3. A web version of the book is easier to create than EPUB.
- CSS is (of course) used for style
- Each paragraph COULD automatically be given an anchor (HTML term) for access from outside the document.
- For bookmarks, a datastore external to the book COULD list anchors in the document with bookmark text/notes. It would be the job of the reader software to display these to the human reader.
- Links to external data COULD be treated differently for different reader devices. For example, if generating an eBook for a mobile phone you might give a link to a google map, while a PC’s edition could embed it in the page. An e-ink reader edition could display a text description of the map. (I have not done this yet, but it is possible).
EPubChef is partly about generating specific variations of the eBook at time of “purchase/download”, rather than creating one EPUB and then distributing it to all types of readers and devices.
EPubChef is not the sort of software with pretty user interface with big buttons and rounded corners. It runs in the background and allows authors and editors to use their favorite text editor.