ePublishing Tools: Webhosting Content for Mobile Devices - The developer's side
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And letís now talk about what we developers have to do with it. If youíre like me, working in services sector, itís the client who decides the work, unlike the products-based industry. What Iím trying to say is that one should know what it takes to work in this domain. I finally didnít get to work on these tools, but I did study them well. So here it is.
Acrobat Distiller in combination with a Virtual Postscript Printer is good if youíre interested in generating PDF eBooks; one good example is the PDFCreator available at sourceforge.net ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/). Of course itís available with full source code. It uses Ghost Script ( www.ghostgum.com.au) as the Postscript interpreter and inbuilt pdfwrite device to capture printer output to a PDF file, and thus is capable of producing a PDF from any Windows application capable of printing.
To use XSLT-FO you need knowledge of XML and XSTL. FO is basically a format that can be interpreted as a source for publishing documents in multiple formats such as CHM, HTML or even PDF. The content needs to be XML, transformed to FO using XSLT and then parsed by some tool that converts FO to a desired format. You may even take the idea further to generate Mobipocket eBooks from this.
As for the MS Lit format, there are good tools available for free from Microsoft, the owner of the format. Below is a list of tools available:
- Content Software Development Kit
This is basically a C++ toolkit that allows you to develop applications that produce or convert content to the MS Lit format. It is accompanied by sample projects, code samples, and documentation on how to go about using it.
- Dictionary Authoring Kit
The Dictionary Authoring Kit shows you how to create Microsoft Reader eBook dictionaries using the DTD, instructions, and sample files included in the kit.
- Source Materials and Conversions
- Layout Guide
- Markup Guide
Three, four, and five above are a set of documents that provide you with guidelines for producing standards compliant eBooks that can be published over the Internet or sold from an authorized Microsoft Reader eBookstore. These also explain how the Microsoft Reader eBook conversion works, and exactly what source files you'll need to publish successfully. In the markup guide youíre introduced to every tag, attribute, and CSS property available in Microsoft Reader formatted documents and Open eBook documents and helps you understand the format better.
Finally, the Mobipocket eBooks can be generated from the Mobipocket Creator and Mobipocket Office Companion products from Mobipocket. Itís OeB compliant, but I couldnít find many tools that produce these eBooks except for their own products. One point where they converge is that they allow data to be imported from Open eBook package files. The commercial versions of these tools allow for using automation (with vbscript or Jscript) to automate the conversion/generation process. The Mobipocket tools are capable of generating MS Lit format, too, from the same source that they produce the Mobipocket eBooks. More information can be downloaded from http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/PRCGenDOC.zip
The solutions from Overdrive Inc. are also good; they have excellent automation support for the products they offer in the form of ReaderWorks SDK (visit http://www.overdrive.com/readerworks/software/sdk.asp )
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