Ebooks are built on web technology. One of the principles of modern web technology is the separation of form and content. You take some basic text, put it into html and then add some css styling to make it pretty.
In Eboocz you type your text in a very simple text editor. With the Markdown markup language you can add some basic elements like paragraphs, lists, links, bold and italic text and headings and you select a style that takes care of the styling for your entire ebook.
Styles are selected via the Browse Styles button in the metadata screen. This opens up a browser window that connects to the Eboocz repository. You’ll see the name of each style, a screenshot of how it looks and an install button. By default Eboocz installs the Default style, which is a very basic style with little features. If you want to see some screenshots of these styles, take a look at the Style page on the Eboocz website. There you can also download these standard styles so you can take a look at how they’re made.
After you’ve selected a style, you’ll see the name of this style selected in the metadata screen. An Eboocz style consists of so called templates. These templates are coupled to sections, which means you can choose a different template for every section. A style could have different templates for the Title Page, Chapters, Copyright Page, Dedication, Epigraph and so on. The templates can be selected in the Context Column under Writing and Text Tools. Please try it out! You can preview the result with the preview button.
One of the difficulties with ebooks is that different reading systems handle styling differently. It is extremely hard to create an advanced style that will work on different platforms like Kindle, Kobo and iBooks. I’ve read a lot of books about ebook styling and there seems to be agreement about the fact that one should be careful with showing off fancy styles, because they will surely break on some platform and make your ebook ugly or even unreadable and it will probably be a waste of your time.
With this in mind I set out to create the simple styling system of Eboocz. It’s not intended for advanced styling techniques, since it doesn’t style on single element level, but only on the level of sections and section element types. In theory one could build an advanced style in Eboocz, but then one would have to fall back to html code in the text. If you’re fine with that, please go ahead, but most users will probably stick with simplicity for now.
So how does it work in practice? Well, let’s take a look at a simple style like the Centered Style. It centers heading elements on the title page, it centers paragraphs in the dedication, copyright messages and epigraphs and in the chapter template, the chapter heading is centered. It also Adds a 200% font size to the first letter of the first paragraph of a chapter and it indents the second and following paragraphs. That’s about it.
Finally you can also create your own style. I’l cover that another time, but if you want to dive into this topic, please take a look at the Eboocz Manual. If you’ve already created a cool new style, please let me know. If it’s good I’ll be glad to add it to the default styles in the Eboocz repository, so that everybody can enjoy this new style.