Not everyone in the world uses EPUB. Yes, I consider it one of the best formats for me because I can change font size or layout, there is still a big need for print books and Amazon is the source of most ebook sales (though I don't care for that either).

To handle that, MfGames Writing provides a pluggable collection of different output formats. This allows you to use only the formats that you way (EPUB2, PDF, HTML) and they can be updated separately.

Series

I appear to be writing a short series of post about the tools I use for publication and writing.

  1. Semantic Versions and Releases: Why semantic versioning helps with the writing process.
  2. Evolution of MfGames Writing: A brief history and reasoning behind the tools.
  3. First Steps Using MfGames Writing: Starting a new project with MfGames Writing.
  4. Adding Content to MfGames Writing: Adding front and back matter to novels.
  5. Working with MfGames Writing, CI, and Docker: Adding automatic building with commits.
  6. Additional Formats for MfGames Writing: How to create PDF, MOBI, DOCX, and HTML versions.
  7. Theming for MfGames Writing: A light introduction on how to customize the output.
  8. Integrating Semantic Versioning into MfGames Writing: Tying semantic releases into the process.

Using Formats

Formats are consumed in the edition section of the publication.yaml file.

metadata:
    title:              Test Project
    author:             D. Moonfire
    language:           en

    theme:              "@mfgames-writing/clean"
    outputDirectory:    .
    outputFilename:     test-project-{{edition.version}}.{{edition.editionName}}

editions:
    epub:
        format: "@mfgames-writing/epub2"
    pdf:
        format: "@mfgames-writing/weasyprint"
        isbn:   978-1-999999
    html:
        format: "@mfgames-writing/html"
        images:
            scale:      0.25

The format is the name of the package installed with npm install.

EPUB

The easiest format to use is EPUB2.

$ npm install @mfgames-writing/epub2
$ npm run build:html

The setup for the NPM commands can be found yesterday.

When this runs, it will generate an EPUB2 file that will be verifiable with epubcheck.

HTML

HTML is also pretty easy.

$ npm install @mfgames-writing/html

PDF

PDF is the complicated one and why I use a Docker image. I decided to use WeasyPrint for PDF generation because it creates good-quality PDF files and works with HTML, the format themes use.

$ npm install @mfgames-writing/weasyprint

This assumes that weasyprint and pdftk are both in the PATH.

MOBI

There isn't a good package for generating MOBI files directly, so the best approach to creating a Amazon MOBI file for uploading is to create a EPUB file and then use kindlegen to convert it.

$ npm run build:epub
$ kindlegen *.epub

DOCX

Like MOBI, it is hard to write a DOCX in a clean manner. To do that, we create a HTML and then convert it.

$ npm run build:html
$ sed 's@&#173;@@g' < *.html \
  | pandoc -f html -t docx -o test-package-0.0.0.docx

We have the extra sed command to remove the hypenation from @mfgames-writing/hyphen which makes a cleaner file.

2018-08-25