Chapter 1. What is XMLmind Ebook Compiler?

XMLmind Ebook Compiler (ebookc for short) is a free, open source tool which can turn a set of HTML (or Markdown) pages into a self-contained ebook[1]. Supported output formats are: EPUB, Web Help, PDF[2], RTF, WML, DOCX (MS-Word) and ODT (OpenOffice/LibreOffice)[3].

Overview of XMLmind Ebook Compiler

You can of course use ebookc to create books having a simple structure like novels, but this tool also has all the features needed to create large, complex, reference manuals:

Being based on HTML, ebookc relies on CSS to create nicely formatted books and this, even for output formats like PDF and DOCX which are not directly related to HTML and CSS.

All in all, ebookc is an authoring and publishing tool nearly as powerful as DITA or DocBook and their advanced conversion toolkits, but being based on HTML and on CSS, it is much easier to learn, use and customize. Moreover you can create with it ebooks which are more interactive (audio, video, slide shows, multiple-choice questions, etc) than those created using DITA or DocBook.

[1] Here “ebook” shall be understood in the widest possible sense.
[2] Requires an XSL-FO processor like Apache FOP, RenderX XEP, Antenna House Formatter to be installed and registered with XMLmind Ebook Compiler (for example, using option -foconverter). We'll assume in this manual that you have downloaded and installed the distribution of XMLmind Ebook Compiler which includes Apache FOP.
[3] Requires XMLmind XSL-FO Converter to be installed and registered with XMLmind Ebook Compiler (using option -xfc).