So you want to use HPub to publish your digital publication. Good choice as you’re likely to benefit from design versatility! However, there’s not a lot of material out there on how to create an HPub so here is a comprehensive beginner’s guide for you.
To create an HPub, you will need some components:
The process above basically outlines the process before you will create an HPub file. But to help you understand how to create HPub files, we have to know what exactly is HPub.
HPub stands for HTML Publication. From the name itself, you can tell that it’s basically a digital publication, but instead of a static PDF, the publication is built in an HTML format. HPub is a file format that allows you to easily package and publish rich digital content such as digital magazines. You can think of it as a kind of advanced compressed ZIP file that contains a mini website.
Since attractive visuals and dynamic content are important factors to a digital magazine’s success, HPub is becoming the format of choice for digital magazine publishers. It supports pixel-perfect and flexible, reflowable publications. It’s also simple to manage for both authors and parsers or those that read code.
An HPub file is basically a regular ZIP file. The only difference in appearance is it has an “.hpub” extension. However, it is also possible to have a non-zipped HPub.
Another specification of HPub is that its contents’ format need to be HTML5. As you know, HTML5 is the language used to present content online and websites and even many of today’s mobile apps are made from them.
Within the HPub, there also has to be a file named “book.json”. Remember that the name has to be spelled correctly and it’s also case-sensitive. We will discuss more about what will be inside this file later. All you have to know now is that it has to exist inside the HPub along with the HTML5 files.
HPub gives you the flexibility to define your publication’s structure. Since it’s also HTML5-based, all technical benefits of the web can be used to create your digital magazine. Web developers won’t have difficulties in developing the publication since it is essentially a microsite packaged into a ZIP file. Another benefit is that it can be accessed by a web browser.
On the other hand, HPub has little documentation as it is not an official standard (although the fact that it’s not standard allows you more flexibility in designing the publication’s structure). There also could be viewer application maintenance and cost concerns, and it’s not supported by e-readers.
So you already have your files designed in Adobe InDesign and you already have the export plugin (such as In5) installed. Here are the next steps:
Note: In step 5, choosing the Baker Framework option creates an HTML file for each page in your InDesign document. It generates an index.html file with thumbnail images for each page whereas the default web option would just yield a single web page file. The Baker Framework option also creates the book.json file we mentioned earlier.
Once you have your HPub files, you can further process them into newsstand apps or standalone publications or upload them to digital publishing platforms such as Paperlit and place them directly into an app container which streamlining the cross-platform publishing process. This will circumvent the need for more coding or expensive software.
CEO at Paperlit, part of Datrix | AI applications, a tech company specialised in the digital transformation, distribution and monetisation of content via mobile and smart speakers, for publishers and brands, with hundreds of customers worldwide.
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