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    1.3.0 • Public • Published

    ReSpec to EPUB

    Typescript program to convert W3C documents, produced by ReSpec, to EPUB 3.3.

    Single documents vs. Collections

    The conversion can:

    • Convert a single HTML source that was produced by ReSpec.
    • Convert a single HTML source that must be pre-processed by ReSpec to get its final formats; the program pre-processes the source on the fly.
    • Convert and combine a “collection“ of HTML sources (to be pre-processed or not) into a single EPUB 3 instance.

    (The on-the-fly conversion via ReSpec is done by running the W3C’s Spec Generator service. Alas!, that service may be down or slow, and this package has no control over that…)

    Package usage

    Command line usage

    There is a simple command line interface to run the script. See the the separate documentation on cli for details and examples.

    Run a service via HTTP

    There is also the possibility to start a simple server to generate EPUB 3.3 instances on request. See the separate documentation on the server for details and examples of HTTP requests.

    The server has been deployed on the cloud at heroku using the URL, as well at W3C using the URL. A browser interface to drive this server is also available.

    (Note that the server running on W3C is used to generate an EPUB version of a document based on respec, using its export facility.)

    Use as a typescript/node package through an API

    The program can also be used from another Typescript or Javascript program. See the separate documentation on the API for details and examples of the API usage.

    Installation, usage

    The implementation is in Typescript and on top of node.js. The documentation is also available on-line.


    The usual npm approach applies:

    git clone
    cd r2epub
    npm install

    or simply use

    npm install r2epub

    to get to the latest, published version.

    The repository contains both the typescript code (in the src directory) as well as the transformed javascript code (in the dist directory). If, for some reasons, the latter is not in the repository or is not up to date, the

    npm run build

    command takes care of that. The documentation can also be generated locally through the

    npm run docs


    Environment variables

    • PORT or R2EPUB_PORT: the port number used by the server; failing these the default (i.e., 80) is used. (PORT takes precedence over R2EPUB_PORT.)

    • R2EPUB_LOCAL: no URL-s on localhost are accepted, unless this environment variable set (the value of the variable is not relevant, only the setting is). For security reasons this variable should not be set for deployed servers.

    • R2EPUB_MODIFIED_EPUB_FILES: A number of W3C specific files (logos, some css files) had to be adapted for EPUB 3 usage, and are retrieved from a separate site. At the moment, is used as a base URL for those files. However, if the variable is set, its value is used as a prefix for the copy of the files on the local file system and the files are read directly from the disc. (Typically, the value points at docs/epub_assets/ in the local clone of the distribution.)

      (Some server may have problems with a burst of access to the same base URL resulting in run-time error, hence the advantage to use this local alternative to setup.)


    Once installed locally, follow specific instructions based on your needs/interest below:

    Command Line

    node dist/r2epub.js

    starts the command line interface.


    node dist/server.js

    starts up the server locally.

    Copyright © 2020 Ivan Herman (a.k.a. @iherman).



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