Why should I create OEBPS Publications? When shouldn’t I?

On the other hand…

What kind of software do I need for direct authoring of OEBPS Publications?

OEBPS Documents can be authored in any text editor or word processor that can handle plain ASCII (also known as “text”) files. Examples of text editors include UltraEdit or WinEdt on the PC platform, BBEdit on the Macintosh, and emacs or vi (or any of their numerous derivatives) on Unix or Linux.

Commercial XML-specific authoring tools also exist. Within the next few years, standard word-processing programs should be able to write XML files. (Microsoft’s Word 2000 claims to be able to do so, but in fact the “XML” it produces is malformed.) Sun’s StarOffice (and its open-source derivative Open Office) file format is native XML; StarOffice is available for Linux and Unix platforms.

As yet, there are no OEBPS-specific authoring tools. One possibility would be to use one of the many HTML authoring tools available, although the output of such tools will need some changes and should be validated in order to ensure OEBPS conformance, since they probably are not programmed to produce clean, XML-conformant HTML.

The Brown University Scholarly Technology Group has released XHub, a service for converting specific types of documents to OEBPS.

How do I know that my OEBPS Publication conforms to the rules of the OEBPS?

Since the OEBPS includes a DTD for Basic OEBPS Documents, it is possible to use a piece of software called a "parser" to check that such documents conform to that DTD. Any XML parser (several of which, most of them free, are currently available) can do this.

The Brown University Scholarly Technology Group and NuvoMedia (now part of Gemstar) have also made an OEBPS compliance checker, available at http://www.stg.brown.edu/service/oebvalid/, which checks for other requirements of the specification in addition to parsing the XML. This compliance checker functions for both Basic and Extended OEBPS Documents.