3 Mac OS X apps to help build validated eBooks

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Last week I took a punt on 3 apps from the Mac App Store to help me create fully validated ePub 2.0 eBooks. Previously I posted about Sigil, an Open Source eBook creation tool but last week I decided I really wanted to understand the anatomy of an ePub file and get into the nitty gritty of the xml.

Another recent purchase I made was Coda. I spend a lot of my time writing mark-up, stylesheets, javascript and php, and wanted something a little more substantial than my previous text editor, Textmate. As an ePub file is made up of many folders, xml, html and image files, I took the opportunity to make the move over to Coda which was something I have been contemplating for a while, and actually, I wish I made the move sooner, it did eat up £69.99 of my wallet but developing with code has been a lot more pleasurable in this application as it allows you to flip between multiple files with ease.

Panic (the company behind Coda) say this about the application on their website:

We code web sites by hand. And one day, it hit us: our web workflow was wonky. We’d have our text editor open, with Transmit open to save files to the server. We’d be previewing in Safari, adjusting SQL in a Terminal, using a CSS editor and reading references on the web. “This could be easier,” we declared. “And much cooler.”

Anyway back to the ePub apps, they are:

ePub Packager

The ePub Packager is a small and easy to use program that can make books in epub format, popular and well known format, that can be read on any device. ePubs can be made from folders and also it can unpack epub files to make changes or fixes to the ebook.

ePub Metadata Editor

With ePub Metadata Editor it’s easy to view and modify metadata of e-books in ePub format. Just drag and drop an epub file on the main window or dock icon.

ePub Checker

This utility application is for validating ePub formatted e-books.

Conclusion

So, to conclude, I have really enjoyed using all of these apps so far for the creation of my eBooks. ePub Packager has been great as it also unpackages ePubs, so I can see how others have constructed their books, analyse the best practices and use them in my approaches. ePub Checker has been very valuable when dealing with the HTML and XML mark-up, I often forgot to declare an image properly or didn’t index a certain section of the book, ePub Checker let me know exactly where it was invalidated and it was quicker for me to rectify my mistakes. ePub Metadata Editor was probably the least useful in my case as I can edit the metadata directly in the xml, but I can see its usefulness I somebody were to given an ePub ready for publishing and some metadata needed either added or amended, this app would be perfect for that. They are all so easy to use, with a drag and drop interface, and for the prices of 69p, 69p and £2.49 you can’t go wrong.

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