Bulletins from San Francisco
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 by Leah Scampoli


Most people think that EPUB means electronic "book," but if you look carefully at the underlying technology, you'll see that it can be much more than just a simple book! With the EPUB 3 specification, which is based on HTML 5 and CSS 3, you can (or should be able to) do most anything in an EPUB that you can do on a website.

What this means is you can essentially wrap up a website inside of a single package and make that available to your customers for use on any platform or device from desktop to mobile, on or off-line. It may not really make sense to wrap up an entire website in an EPUB, but what about your online Help system? Remember when you used to deliver Help as a single file, HTML Help (CHM files) or WinHelp (if you've been around that long)? In theory, an EPUB could provide the same functionality as those Help delivery systems. It's got a built-in TOC, Search, Bookmarks, and now (as of EPUB 3.0.1) Indexes and Dictionaries.

As with all things, there are limitations to this method, some are technical and others are just due to the lagging support for EPUB 3 in readers and publishing tools. Scott has been experimenting with different techniques in EPUBs, and can discuss the pros and cons of using an EPUB to deliver online Help. He will show the current state of prototype EPUB Help systems and how they look in different readers and devices.

If you're looking for an alternative method for delivering your online Help, or are just interested in pushing the limits with EPUB, this presentation is for you.



Scott Prentice is the founder and President of Leximation, Inc, and has worked in the techcomm field since 1991. He is most well known for FrameMaker plugin and application development, including tools such as DITA-FMx and BookVars. He has also been focused on DITA development for many years, and provides tools and training for FrameMaker to DITA conversions. Scott has considerable experience with custom online Help and web application development which has merged nicely into the EPUB world over the past few years. Recently he has been involved with the IDPF EPUB Indexes working group as an invited expert.

Note: There will NOT be a live Webinar this month.

To register, go to www.stc-sf.org