A minimal HTML widget compatible with iBooks Author
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iBooks HTML Widget Boilerplate

This is a minimal project for an HTML Widget that can be embedded in an iBook with iBooks Author.

Created by the author of CoffeeScript: An Interactive Reference, now available in the iBooks store.


Because the recommended approach for creating an HTML widget for iBooks Author is currently to create a Dashboard widget in Dashcode. This adds a lot of distracting cruft, and things that work fine in Dashcode have a tendency to stop working in iBooks. In short, it's better to treat an iBooks widget as a web page rather than as a Dashboard widget.


Clone this git repo as a directory with a .wdgt extension. Modify the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with the tools of your choice, just as you would any other web page.

Click-and-drag the .wdgt file into iBooks Author. And that's it!

Preview image

Notice, however, that when you drag the .wdgt into iBooks Author, you just get an image that says "Preview." iBooks doesn't load anything from your HTML widget other than Default.png until the user taps it.

If you just delete Default.png, iBooks Author will generate a preview automatically, but it probably won't have the proportions that you want, and some of the content may overflow. I recommend replacing Default.png with a nice screenshot of the widget, and cropped and scaled to the right dimensions. You should probably make this the last step in your book production process, and do without Default.png until then.

Widget dimensions

Open up Info.plist to set the appropriate width and height for your widget. When opened on the iPad, the widget will be scaled to fit the screen but will maintain the correct width/height proportion. Also note that 1px in your markup refers to 1px according to the Info.plist dimensions, not the actual pixels on the device screen.

Currently, HTML widgets can only be viewed in landscape orientation, so you'll probably want a size of 1024x768 adjusted slightly for the title, caption, and background margin that you can customize from the Widget inspector in iBooks Author like so:

Widget layout settings in iBooks Author