The Mars Project “PDFXML Inspector” works great as an ePub editing tool.

If you’ve just created an ePub and now you want to make a small change, the normal approach is to rename the file with a “zip” extension, extract the contents, make the change, and then repackage the contents.

Fortunately, there’s a better way, but I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned.
It’s from the Mars Project over on Adobe Labs, and it’s called the “PDFXML Inspector”.

The Mars Project is an XML-friendly representation for PDF documents, and while the vocabularies used by Mars and by ePub documents are very different, the containers are very similar, and so we can share some of the same tools. In this case it’s a matter of our “borrowing” the PDFXML Inspector. Thanks to the Mars team for making it work with ePub documents.The PDFXML Inspector can be found on the downloads page for the Mars Project, and it requires the latest version of Adobe AIR.Once installed you can drag an epub into the app, and you’ll have a view that looks like this:pdfxmlinsp.pngThat’s the contents of the package on the left, and the source of the selected file on the right.So here we could, for instance change the title, open the OPF file and fix up the metadata, etc.You certainly could also use the PDFXML Inspector to, say, add chapters to your book, but you’d have to understand the changes you’d need to make to the OPF file (manifest entry and spine entry) and to the NCX file (to add navPoints), as the tool was really made for small changes, not big ones.

2 Responses to The Mars Project “PDFXML Inspector” works great as an ePub editing tool.

  1. Lynn Grillo says:

    And I’ve just used it to inspect the contents of an IDML file exported from InDesign CS4, too. Very cool. 🙂

  2. David Collier-Brown says:

    Alas, the current copy says it’s doing a “save” or “save as” but the file isn’t written to disk. This makes it a bit less than fully functional.

    Is there a non-Windows version? I generally assume of a Windows versions of a program fails, it”s Bill’s fault (;-))