Cop-e-boox: Open-source customized stylesheets for PDF, EPUB and web

cop-e-boox setup pageXmplar have released cop-e-boox v 0.2 (Basenji), a bundle of customized stylesheets to produce PDF, EPUB 3.0 and HTML 5 web documents from XML. It is designed for self-paced training to learn about ebook publishing with XML.

Cop-e-boox is designed as an easy entry into XML-based digital publishing, and lets users set up their own styles for text, graphics and document design. It's an ideal learning product for anyone who wants to understand what XML can do for desktop publishing. If you have basic skills in conventional desktop publishing and word processing, then cop-e-boox can introduce you to XML markup languages.

Desktop publishers and editors can use desktop publishing software—all you need is an XML editor and typesetting software to produce PDF documents—and learn XML while you produce three types of ebooks. Cop-e-boox comes bundled with the latest version of DocBook 5 stylesheets (v 1.78.1) and includes browser-based documentation to help users edit a range of styles for content, page and document design.

Best of all, it's open source, so it's free!

Key features

  • Browser-based visual documentation for quick reference
  • XML tagging templates to quickly start creating ebooks
  • Easily copy XML files and stylesheets to directories for each new book
  • Dublin Core metadata elements for valid EPUB and web pages
  • Use your own desktop XML editing and typesetting software
  • Standard XSLT 1.0 stylesheets

Get the stylesheets and docs

Go to the Source Forge website and click on "Files" to download cop-e-boox v 0.2 stylesheets and documentation. You'll find installation instructions in a README.txt file, and bundled stylesheets and documentation in copeboox-master.zip (39Mb).

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Watch the videos

You can find us on our YouTube channel to watch our introductory videos. There are eight videos covering:

  • shortcuts to documentation
  • "start here for everything" overview of stylesheet documents
  • browser-based visual Stylesheet Guide
  • browser-based User's Guide
  • XML book templates
  • print stylesheets
  • cascading stylesheets for EPUB 3 and HTML 5 web pages
  • Digital publishing with XML ebook.

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What's inside ... PDF documents (sample PDF 2.7Mb)

  • end matter—format glossaries and list of acronyms, punctuation for citations in reference list, appendix titles, automatic indexing, index punctuation and cross-reference styles, preferred page styles for index
  • graphics—styles for figure and table titles (label and title styled separately), captions (in figures and tables), figure formatting (background colour, text in figures, margins and padding), story boxes (background colour, borders, text, margins and padding), equation title and numbering formats, embed SVG
  • lists—margins, spacing between list items, bullet points (20 symbol types, colours), variable label widths, styles and punctuation for numbered lists, variable list styles (e.g. format term and description for a list of acronyms)
  • page setup—preset or custom page sizes, portrait or landscape orientation, variable margins for single-sided or double-sided pages, body text indenting/outdenting, multiple columns for different book components (prelims, chapters, endmatter), column balancing at end of chapters, insert blank pages in prelims, display running headers and footers for different book components (select type of content, text styles, separator line styles), background images and more titles generated in running headers and footers, display and change crop marks, convert footnotes to chapter endnotes, text wrapping option for page footnote formatting
  • part title pages—change order of part introduction and table of contents, change number of sections shown in table of contents
  • preliminary matter—display different heading levels for tables of contents (book, part and chapters), lists of figures and tables, style TOCs (margins, line spacing, separate text styles for chapter labels and titles, leader lines, separate styles for chapter titles and section titles), page breaks after chapter TOCs, change order of table of contents in preliminary pages, change order of list of titles
  • tables—format table region (background colour, margins and padding, align title), format tabular data (text styles and colours for rows and cells), header format (background colours), border styles and colours (outer frame and cells), alternating row colours, indent numbers in cells, cell padding, format footnote text in cells and below tables, formatting tables without titles (background colour, borders, text styles, table margin and padding, cell padding), table captions,
  • text formats—body and title text (font, sizes, styles), paragraph spacing, block quotes (background colour, text styles, margins and padding), hyperlink styling, chapter titles (positioning, separate colours and styles for prefix, label and title), chapter summary box (background colour, title colour and alignment, margins and padding, borders), section titles (separate colours, styles and indents for label and title, background colours), custom paragraphs (shaded, shaded with border, border only), sidebars (format titles, "float" width, borders, margins and padding), footnotes at bottom of pages (text styles for footnote mark and text, numbering format, separator line styles)
  • title page—front cover (display on/off, position images), half title pages, title page (text styles and colours, positioning, margins, formats for author, co-athor and editor), imprint page (font style, copyright statement, legal notice, indent for CiP)

What's inside ... EPUB ebooks (sample EPUB 3.0, 1.4Mb—tested on iPad)

  • styles—cascading stylesheets (CSS) with 'commented' documentation for styles
  • chunks—control depth of sections for each page
  • TOCs—display tables of contents (book, or book and chapters), depth of sections in TOCs, lists of figures and tables (together or in separate pages), text styles for TOC
  • tables—table width, border styles (line type, colour, thickness) for table frame and cells, automatic indenting and alignment of numbers in tables, alternating row colours (striped tables)
  • sections—numbering of section titles, set depth of sections for label numbering (e.g. second-level, third-level)
  • text—format of title page (author, co-author, editor, logo), styles for body text and up to five section levels, formatting of hyperlinks and email addresses
  • generated text—control generated text for titles (e.g. "Chapter", "Appendix", "Preface"), single or double quotation marks

What's inside ... web pages

All the features as for EPUB ebooks, plus:

  • navigation—display breadcrumb navigation on/off, display header and footer navigation as text, use graphics/icons for page navigation, CSS styles for navigation panes
  • chunks—split document sections into separate web pages or create one chunk for a document

How does cop-e-boox work?

Cop-e-boox is a "front-end" interface to XSLT stylesheets, and lets you modify text, page and document styles as you produce ebooks from XML markup. Cop-e-boox is based on the XSLT 1.0 standard, which is coding that turns XML into ebooks. It uses the DocBook XML markup language, and is a bundle of customized stylesheets that can be copied and modified for each book you produce.

The cop-e-boox customized stylesheets are freely available under a Creative Commons licence. This means that you are free to copy and modify the product—you only need to acknowledge Xmplar as the designer of the stylesheets.

workflow showing how cop-e-boox is the main interface to standard stylesheets

Training in cop-e-boox

Cop-e-boox has lots of templates and sample ebook products for users to explore. You'll find links throughout the product to online resources. To start learning about XML markup, grab a copy of our free ebook Digital publishing with XML.

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