eBook Generator

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Title: eBook Generator

RoboHelp 9 introduced ePub as an output format. That is too bad if you are on RoboHelp 8. Adobe did provide an initial ePub script for RoboHelp 8, but that produced only half working eBooks. RoboHelp only added full Kindle support in RoboHelp 10. If you want to create Kindle books on RoboHelp 9, you need another solution.

This free script solves the above problems. With this script you can create ePub and Amazon Kindle books in RoboHelp 8 and later.

Current version: 2012-07-27.

RoboHelp 10 offers a single source layout for creating ePub 3.0 and Amazon Kindle. Because of this great support for the new standard, I will no longer add new features to this script. If you find any bugs I will be happy to fix those.

Note: This script is provided as-is, without warranty of any kind.

Features

This script has the following features:

  • ePub 2.0 output.
  • Amazon Kindle output, including support for the Kindle Fire.
  • Support for video.
  • Advanced checks on your output topics: makes your topics compatible with all the major ePub readers.

Setting up

  1. Download the eBook generator script.
  2. Unzip the file and import the file eBookGenerator.jsx from the root of the zip into RoboHelp.
  3. You need to install a specific zip tool (the same as RoboHelp 9 requires). The script's interface provides a download link.
  4. If you want to create output for Kindle:

    1. Download KindleGen.
    2. Extract the KingleGen executable to the directory of your choice. The other files in the download are not needed.

Using the script

  1. Open your project and create an XML layout. Choose to output to XHTML.
  2. Run the script.
  3. On the tab Main, choose which formats you want to create: ePub, Kindle (.mobi) or both.
  4. On the tab Zip Location, add the path to the zip executable.
  5. If you want to output to Kindle:

    1. On the tab Kindle options, add the path to the KindleGen executable.
    2. On the tab Kindle options, choose a compression setting for your Kindle output. The compression determines the time it takes to create the Kindle output.
    3. On the tab Kindle options, choose if you want the script to create a HTML TOC for the Kindle output. If you do not choose this option, the Kindle output will not have a TOC that the user can access.
Note: This script saves settings in the 'All users' folder on your computer to allow multiple users to use the same settings. If your settings are not saved, the Windows UAC (User Account Control) may be preventing the script from writing the file. If this happens, try running RoboHelp as an administrator or disable UAC. Disclaimer: Disable UAC at your own risk. I am not liable for any damage (direct or indirect) that may come from disabling UAC.

Note for RoboHelp 9

The script saves the output directory, SSL and metadata and the cover for each project individually. The other settings are saved for all pc users. By default, this script uses the same file as the RoboHelp 9 ePub generator to save the settings. This is by design: if you have already used the ePub generator, the script uses the existing settings.

If you run the ePub generator after the eBook generator script, your Kindle conversion settings will be lost. If you do not want this, you can change the settings file for this script:

  1. Open the script and search for RH_EPUB.xml.
  2. Change the name RH_EPUB.xmlto something else, such as: RH_EBOOK.xml.

After you have done this, you need to set all settings again. Your settings are no longer shared between both scripts.

Kindle conversion notes

The Kindle has limited support for HTML and CSS. If you want to create Kindle output, please note the following:

  • The Kindle has very limited support for HTML and CSS. For all details, please see the Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines.
  • Try to avoid tables. Only very simple tables are rendered correctly on the Kindle. If you need tables that are more complex, convert them into an image. For more information, see the Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines.
  • Do not use paragraph tags inside lists. The Kindle does not render this correctly.
  • The script creates a Kindle conversion log (RoboHelpKindle.log). If your output is incorrect or if the .mobi is not created at all, please check the log.
  • You can check the Kindle output by using a Kindle (duh), by using the free Kindle for PC, by using the free Kindle Previewer or by using any eReader or software that can handle .mobi files.
  • Additional conversion tips in the Scriptorium blog: http://www.scriptorium.com/2011/02/from-epub-to-kindle-technical-writing-101-now-has-a-kindle-edition/
  • The script provides default styling for the created HTML toc. You cannot change this styling in the UI. If you want to change the appearance of the HTML TOC, change te css in the variables tocKindleTitleStyle and tocKindleIndent.
  • The script adds whitespace for the highest level of TOC items in the Kindle HTML TOC. You can amend the amount of whitespcae by changing the css in the variable tocKindleH1TopMargin.

Known issues

There are no known issues in the current version. If you encounter a problem, please contact me.

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