RoboHelp Script to Generate ePUB format content for Mobile Devices

As promised in my previous blog post, I’m happy to share a sample RoboHelp 8 script to generate ePub format output. Using this script, you can now take your RoboHelp/FrameMaker/Word content to mobile devices and eBook readers. Please refer to my previous blog post for more information and context on ePub, supported devices etc.

Here are the steps to follow to generate ePub output:

  1. Download the sample ePub Generator Script. Please note that you can customize/enhance this script further to suit your needs.
  2. Import the script to Robohelp 8. You can use Script Explorer (View>Pods>Script Explorer) in RoboHelp 8 to import the script.
  3. 7za.exe (file archiver) is required. For your ready reference, I’ve made a copy of this free utility available here. Unzip the file after you download it. You can also download it from web.
  4. Modify the script to reflect the location of 7za.exe on your machine (Example: var str7zipLocation = “C:\\RoboHelp\\ePubGenerator\\7za.exe”;).
  5. Open the RoboHelp project for which you want to generate ePub output.
  6. Select the ePubGenerator script and Run it. Specify the output path, and let the script generate .epub file for you.
  7. View the ePub output using ePub reader e.g. Adobe Digital Editions. You can also port this ePub file to your mobile device or eBook reader, or make it available for download on the web.

Now that we have the sample script to generate ePub format using RoboHelp 8, the next obvious question is what are the considerations and best practices from the authoring perspective; so here it goes:

  1. The size unit e.g. font size, margins etc. should be in ‘%’ for better reflow on different size of screen and for different users. This is applicable to CSS as well as XHTML files.
  2. The Table of Contents should not be empty.
  3. Please ensure all the style tag names in CSS are in lower case (e.g. H1 {..} or P.mystyle {..} should instead be h1 {..} or p.mystyle {..})
  4. All the DHTML effects and dropdowns should be removed. You can use Conditional Build Tags for this.
  5. There should not be any space in RoboHelp ‘Project name’ or ‘File name’.
  6. Set the ‘Handler name’ in ePub (XML) SSL settings in RoboHelp to “Export project to XHTML”.

If you plan to attend the STC Summit 2010 in Dallas, then please do attend the live demo of RoboHelp ePub output on multiple devices including iPhone, iPad, Motorola Droid (Android phone), and Barnes & Noble nook (eBook reader). We will demonstrate how to take your content in RoboHelp/FrameMaker/Word to mobile devices and eBook readers in my session “Develop and Optimize Content – Adobe RoboHelp beyond Help Systems” on May 3rd (5:00 – 6:15 PM). Hope to see you in Dallas!

Ankur Jain
Product Manager – RoboHelp