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Introducing BookJS

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Image 1150(photo: Kristin Trethewey)

In the last months we have been working on a new technology for rendering books in Booktype. Actually, it is very nice Javascript that can be used in any application and it is called BookJS. 

BookJS is developed by Johannes Wilm, one of the core Booktype developers. What it does is very simple - you can add the javascript to any HTML page and it will format it like a book - directly in the browser. You can see page numbers, the table of contents, a title page, and left and right breaking pages etc. There is a very simple example of it in action here: http://sourcefabric.github.com/BookJS/

(note: you need the latest chrome for this to work).

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HTML before BookJS

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Book in browser after BookJS

Why do this?

Well it gives us the opportunity for three very exciting things:

  1. you can use BookJS in combination with an inline editor like Aloha, so that you can actually edit the content as it appears in the book. That means the layout of the page you edit is as it would appear in a printed book (it is also possible to use it to emulate iPad etc but we have not refined this yet). 

  2. you can style the book in the browser - opening the door for in-browser design tools.
  3. you can output to print-ready PDF and it looks the same as it did in the browser.

This is pretty exciting stuff. To match the development, we have created our own back-end renderer which implements BookJS inside of the Webkit browser engine (developed by Booktype developer Borko Jandras). This means ,what you see in the browser is what you get in the final PDF.

So, this is all in alpha development stage. We intend for it to be released in the next months pending roadmap conversations. However BookJS is already available from the Sourcefabric GitHub pages, it has already been implemented in test development with the WYSIWHAT? Aloha editor, and it has already been used to produce three books. Of particular interest, is a book produced by the University College of London Scandinavian Studies Department, Framed Horizons: Student writing on Nordic Cinema.

We will put some Press Release material out shortly about BookJS so consider this an early heads up!

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