eBook Add-on

Nice! Been looking forward to this feature for a long time, as I want to make some sort of book out of the TMO blog. I will definitely be using this, and providing feedback very soon :slight_smile:

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Oops. I saw it backwards. Is it possible to have a setting so that posts publish to the eBook in Chronological order rather than the order they appear on the blog from top to bottom?

Yep! Definitely makes more sense that way. Just sent out some new changes:

  • Posts in the eBook are now in chronological order
  • Pinned posts will show up first, before other blog posts

Tried using the feature, receive this: 404 page not found
or

{“code”:500,“error_msg”:“This is an unhelpful error message for a miscellaneous internal error.”}

Yes, what worked on my blogs yesterday now gives: “{“code”:500,“error_msg”:“This is an unhelpful error message for a miscellaneous internal error.”}” Something broke.

Can you both try again @processimagining and @DeaconPatrick? Should work now – just working out some kinks with our update process.

Works for me now! Thank you, @matt! Chronological order and pinned posts first looks great! Wish list: Table of contents?

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Definitely, table of contents would be a nice addition. Will get that on the list.

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Wow, this looks really promising and a very nice addition. Great! I will def try this as soon as (and come back with nothing but cheers or wish list thingies, or both!).

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This looks very good! And it is very smart to offer all those people the opportunity to bundle all their poems or proza in an ebook.

Is it possible to extend the css for ebooks a little, just as it is customizable for the website? I know one can do this manually in for example the ebook editor of Calibre. (I tried this, and it works.) But it would be nice to be able to style the ebook a little more, so that it is automatically updated everytime the ebook is generated.

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Further suggestions:

  • categorize pinned posts as “front matter” and posts as “chapters” (this is the language used on Pressbooks.com, perhaps industry standard?). Some of my pinned posts are front, others back matter, but putting them all as front covers it without adding complexity. Come to think of it, they could all be back matter too.
  • Set “landing page” when first opening it to the first chapter, skipping the front matter.
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First off, thanks to @matt and the team for adding this feature to Write.as. I got really excited when I read the email from @cjeller1592 . And, in the last 24 or so hours, a few of the little annoyances that I noticed have been fixed.

I just wanted to share a couple or three thoughts and things I’ve noticed while playing with the EPUB export today:

  1. Would it be possible to exclude pinned pages from the output?

  2. Is there a way to use a site’s custom CSS to format the EPUB, and then fall back to the CSS file that EPUB generator uses?

  3. Matt’s original announcement in the forum mentioned that the EPUB export is better suited to text-only blogs/sites. But I noticed that with one or two of the desktop ebook readers I used, images on a page display. But when I open an EPUB in the Sigil ebook editor, this message displays:

    sigil-writes.as-epub

    That error is caused by the img tag on pages, which isn’t properly formed (either in the EPUB or on Write.as). The closing / of the tag is missing in both. In Sigil and one of the EPUB readers I tested, an error message displays at the top of a page containing an image.

  4. When then EPUB downloads (at least when using Firefox), the file name is the first word of a site’s or blog’s name/title and the .EPUB extension isn’t added to the file name. I know there’s nothing you can do about that, but just a heads up.

I plan to keep fiddling (including on my phone and a tablet). But this is a great addition to Write.as, and as others have pointed out looks really promising.

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Here’s what I’m gathering so far:

  • We’ll need to offer customization around pinned posts: include at front, include at back, exclude completely. Would anyone want to include only certain pinned posts, as opposed to the whole bunch?

  • We should include custom blog CSS with the ebook. I would like to keep this as simple as possible, so I’d prefer to avoid this upcoming suggestion, but would anyone want a separate custom stylesheet for the ebook?

To address some questions / feedback:

@DeaconPatrick, do you mean this would exclude all front matter in the ebook? Or that we might somehow tell the ereader to open to the first chapter?

Images are fetched remotely, so they will show up on internet-connected devices. But the goal is to include them in the ebook itself, so you can read it completely offline.

This is fixed now, though testing with Sigil still brings up some other errors for me. We’ll keep working at 100% correctly-formatted files.

This is fixed too – just needed to adjust the HTTP headers to work with spaces.

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That’s some fine, fast work there!

Images are fetched remotely, so they will show up on internet-connected devices. But the goal is to include them in the ebook itself, so you can read it completely offline.

That actually seems to depend on the ebook reader, too. The images show up when using Calibre’s ebook reader and in Sigil, but not in Foliate (there’s just an empty rectangle). But at least the nasty malformed HTML tag message isn’t there!

Thanks for all the work that you and the team are putting into this feature, @matt!

Set landing page to first chapter: Generally when I open an eBook for the first time, it opens to the first chapter (Kindle Paperwhite). This happens because it automatically (I think?) skips anything marked as front matter, while still retaining the front matter.

We should include custom blog CSS with the ebook. I would like to keep this as simple as possible, so I’d prefer to avoid this upcoming suggestion, but would anyone want a separate custom stylesheet for the ebook?

Although one could argue that an ebook is not a blog and needs a little bit different css, I am ok with having the option to include the customized blog css in the generated ebook. It is always possible to make some changes afterwards. Thanks again for this great feature!

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First: I am very happy with the new feature, still playing around with it, but looks good already.

In addition:

  • yes, I would def like to exclude (some) pinned posts;
  • also (if possible) to have an option to only use a certain tag, even if the post itself has more tags. For example, if I tagged a post with both prose and poetry, the option the generate an eBook with only one of them;
  • and… in the output remove the tag (so it will not appear in the output)…?

Would there be some stats or an indication that people have actually downloaded the ebooks?

So I’ve tried it (on my mobile). Typed the adress, got an epub instantly (without having to rename it to add the .epub extension).

The result is nearly flawless : each post is a “chapter”, and the formatting is top notch.

Much to my surprise, with the android App Librium you can play videos inside the book.

I still haven’t tested it on desktop, but overall impression is fantastic.

On a side note, I’ve been looking for FOSS android epub apps, but there are almost always none (correct me if I’m wrong).

Also, but it is unavoidable: each reader has its preset rules and formatting is different on different readers (gotta do with it).

Finally I agree with these points mentionned by Deacon Patrick and scott:

  • (selected) pinned posts as front matter and posts as chapters
  • Set landing page to the 1st chapter

I’m not sure about custom css (complicated to implement and it won’t be used by many; plus I might be wrong but you can edit the CSS yourself “manually”).

Anyway, that’s a much welcome addition to the tools available, thanks!

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Made a first try. In order to exclude to post announcing the possibility to download the epub, I used a # that I put in all posts except the epub post. However, if your blog is called X and the # is, for instance “book1”, then the cover generated will look like that:

Book1

By X

If you don’t use the tag, the cover will be your blog name in big bold letters.

There are two workarounds so far, probably more:

  • Someone else used this trick: creating another blog dedicated to the epub and without the posts you want to exclude

  • Or, if you use the tag method, I think you’d get a better cover if your tag is capitalized and contain invisible HTML characters in order to replace spaces:
    for instance: tag: FIRST YEAR IN CANADA.

There are multiple ways to createb invisible characters, just gotta find which ones work.