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The publishing industry has been revolutionized by technological advances that make it easier than ever for authors to self-publish their work.
You have most likely heard of digital books, sometimes referred to as Electronic Publications or EPUBs, as they have been gaining in popularity for many years.
The location of the text and images on each page of a Fixed Layout iBook is given a specific location in which to appear. A Fixed Layout iBook is great for a 20-page children’s picture book, but it isn’t always the best type of iBook to use.
Flowing books are just like they sound; the text on the page will flow to the next page if there isn’t enough room.
Multi-Touch books are a specific type of interactive book created using Apple’s iBooks Author program. Before you can upload free or paid books to the iBookstore, Apple’s storefront for selling iBooks, you will need to set up an account with Apple. You will need to choose between a free account and a paid account based on whether you plan to sell your books or give them away for free. Fixed Layout and Flowing Text books can be zipped into an EPUB file using Terminal or another command-line tool.
You will need a recent version of iTunes in order to upload an iBook from your computer to a device. While it is possible to view each XHTML page of an iBook in Safari, there are also potential bugs that won’t show up in Safari that you will find when testing your book on a device in iBooks. Also an XML file, the container file tells iBooks the name and location of the .opf file so iBooks can access the book’s metadata. The .ncx file is often referred to as the "table of contents" file because it stores information used to generate bookmarks that link a user to the important sections of a book, such as each chapter. CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, are a collection of styles that can be applied to different HTML tags. Understanding the basic components of an iBook is the first step in learning to be a developer. Whether you're experimenting with building your very own website or you've ever wondered how you might go about changing something in your Tumblr theme, it's important to know a few things about the backbone of the Internet.
When you visit a website's domain name, you're likely to see beautiful images, a clean layout, and text beyond your heart's content.
Website code is made up of three things: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and scripts. HTML is the most visible code hiding behind a website, and can be seen by viewing a page's source code.
Some HTML elements don't require a closing tag because everything happens inside the tag itself. Your typical CSS selector can either target an HTML element directly (if you want to style the entire element) or an element's class (if you only want to style one instance of the element). If you're considering editing your website's code, you need to know where to edit before you dive in. HTML code is when you want to edit the structure of a page: If you want to add an image to your website's header, you want to edit your HTML. CSS code is when you want to add design to your page: If you want to change how an image appears on your website — change its size, add a border, move it around the page—you want to edit CSS. Your CSS should go before the HTML code you want to style: You're essentially telling the web browser how to style an element before it gets to that specific element. Likewise, CSS executes top to bottom, and can be overwritten: If you specify on line 5 of your stylesheet that you want your paragraphs to have black text, but write again on line 20 that you want your paragraphs in green, you'll see green text, not black in the final version. To change the content or style of an HTML element on your website, you're going to want to know two things: what that element is called, and if it has a specific CSS class you can target.
You can do this very easily with your web browser's Inspector: This is a window that pops up alongside the visual version of your website that contains all your HTML and CSS code.


Right-click (or control-click) on any part of the website you want to view, and select Inspect Element. Right-click (or control-click) on any part of the website you want to view, and select Inspect. Once the Inspector is open, you can mouse over any piece of code and the corresponding element on your webpage will highlight as a box. You can expand those drop-down arrows to view nested HTML elements (pieces hiding inside bigger HTML elements) and identify the piece of code you want to change. Many beginner WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website builders like Squarespace won't let you dive directly into the HTML, but offer a "custom CSS" area in case you want to make custom tweaks beyond what the service's visual editor offers. In contrast, some blog services like Tumblr will let you add custom CSS and dive directly into the HTML and CSS source. When you're first experimenting with your code, use notes (or "comments", as they're called in web developer parlance).
These won't show up anywhere on your final webpage, but live inside your HTML and CSS code for your reference (and anyone else who views your source code). If you want to actually learn how to code from scratch, check out Codecademy's fantastic tutorials.
If you're looking for inspiration for your website or just want to see how something was done, feel free to use your web browser's Inspector on any page. If you want to find something specific, check out Codepen, a project scratch pad for thousands of web developers. Sometimes a problem is too big for you to fix, and that's okay, especially if you're just starting out with HTML and CSS. If it's a minor problem that I know I should be able to fix, I take some time away from the project and do something completely different.
There's also nothing wrong with seeking help from experienced coders on sites like StackOverflow; they can often help you pinpoint problems and get back on your way. If it's something you can't solve and don't want to learn, consider hiring a web developer or designer. If you plan to sell your books at some point in the future, you may want to get a paid account now. For this series of tutorials, we will be demonstrating how to zip EPUB files using Terminal.
While there may be a better computer-to-device solution for approved iBooks Content Providers, we’re going to stick with using iTunes in this tutorial since it is available to everyone. In this case, the mimetype file is accessed by the iBooks app before anything else and it is used to determine how the book is configured. From XHTML files to image files to sound and embedded fonts, it is all required to be listed in the .opf file. Some of the options include whether the iBook is Fixed-Layout, if the book contains embedded fonts, and whether to lock the orientation in landscape, portrait, or not at all. When creating Fixed Layout iBooks, each page of the book must be contained in its own XHTML file. Stick around for part two of this series where we will dive into creating the files that will ultimately become a working iBook.
In all the years since, I've been coaching people through various creative projects, speaking at conferences and events, and working with people and companies to turn their ideas into realities. Knowing "just enough to be dangerous" allows you to understand what's going on behind the scenes without having to spend 10,000+ hours mastering a coding language. Peer behind the curtain of that visual smorgasboard, however, and you'll find the building blocks of the web: code. Each piece of code contributes a valuable part to making a website look and work the way it does. More complex scripts and database calls are essentially hidden when viewing a website's HTML.


HTML and CSS each have their own purposes on your webpage — you can't demand one language execute something it can't. Your browser executes that code top to bottom: By default, your HTML elements and their content display in a linear list. If you want to target a specific instance of an element, you want to look for that element's "class" property. You'll be able to change the design of existing HTML elements, but you won't be able to add entirely new sections. If a service offers this feature, you may see an option that says Edit in HTML or Editor, which allows you to directly edit and change your HTML and CSS code. You can search for any kind of special code: a responsive menu, animated buttons, an iPhone screen built in CSS — whatever strikes your fancy. Space is good for your brain and good for your sanity; without it, you may get so far into a problem that the solution might be staring you in the face, but you're too angry or frustrated to recognize it. There are thousands of incredibly talented coders out there, and if your project requires a bit more effort or professionalism than you're willing to put the time in for, their skills can be invaluable.
This tutorial series will take you from zero-to-hero with iBooks by showing you how to create fixed-layout, flowing, and multi-touch e-books. Each page of a Fixed Layout iBook is coded in a separate XHTML file and has a set of CSS styles that define its layout.
The nice thing about Flowing books is that they can be created using a variety of programs.
Click the blue button at the bottom of the page to get started and follow the directions on each page to complete the application.
You can still offer free books with a paid account, and it is easier to be set up with a paid account from the start. There are many free text editors available for download, and everyone seems to have a favorite. Additionally, the .opf file lists the order in which the pages should appear, defines the major sections of the book, and holds the book’s metadata, such as author, copyright holder, genre, and publishing date. However, for organizational purposes, it may be easier to create a separate external CSS file for each page. After nearly 20 years of website building, here the 10 things I think everyone should know about the weird and wonderful code that makes up the web. Instead of a separate closing tag, these HTML elements just have a trailing slash before their closing chevron. Complex scripts and databases are what power content management systems (CMS); they let the website owner edit their page text and add blog posts without ever seeing a lick of HTML or CSS. W3Schools offers detailed notes and explanations for every existing HTML and CSS piece of code out there — and some Javascript, too.
Fixed Layout iBooks provide the most control over an iBook, and, consequently, are the most labor intensive to create!
If you are applying for a paid account, be sure to have a valid US tax id and bank routing and account numbers before beginning the application. Adding documentation to your code can help you when you come back to it a week later and completely forget what you were doing or what that block of code is supposed to do. Over time, Apple has added and improved iBooks to include advanced features like Fixed Layout and Read Aloud. Flowing books are generally ideal for text-heavy books, such as novels, where a specific location for text or image placement isn’t necessary.
Once your application is accepted by Apple, you will be able to log in to iTunes Connect where you will find various documentation and programs available for download to assist you in producing an iBook.




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