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This project is a conversion of the 'The Tachypomp and Other Stories' into a nanoc application. It serves as a "proof of concept" to demonstrate publishing an ebook in a variety of formats using nanoc. The project currently generates content in both ePub, hPub and HTML (for online viewing) formats.

NB: The original text was sourced from the Gutenberg Project. The source file has been re-saved in UTF-8 format to remove invalid multibyte char (UTF-8), as the source file from the Gutenberg Project came with Latin-1 encoding.

This project is still very much a work in progress. The long-term goal is to develop a general-purpose framework for building content in a variety of formats.


Clone the project into your local filesystem:

git clone
cd tachypomp
cp nanoc.yaml.example nanoc.yaml
bundle install

The project assumes Ruby 1.9.3 is installed and will use RVM if available.

Importing Content

The sample text "The Tachypomp and Other Stories" is a collection of short stories, written by Edward Page Mitchells. The source is maintained in a single text file to simplify editing. This is my preferred way of working with creative writing, but it's not the only way to publish via nanoc. You could just as easily maintain all your writing in a set of pages in the /content. I've done this in the past, but found it harder to edit or keep a track of where I was up to.

To import the source text, run the following from within the project's root folder:

nanoc import

NB: The path to the source file is specified in the ebook.yaml file.

This will generate content files by breaking the larger file into several smaller ones, using the breakdown gem. It will also create an book.json file in the /content folder. The book.json file is loosely based on the hPub ebook specification, and is used by other processes to build table of contents for alternative formats.

Compiling Content

The imported content will need to be compiled using nanoc:

nanoc compile

Once the content is compiled it can be packaged into different formats. Currently only ePub 2 and hPub formats are supported. To package the ebook run the following:

nanoc build

This will build ePub and hPub compatible files in /output/epub/book and /output/hpub respectively.

Building hPub Book

Download the Backer Framework ( NB: you must have a recent version of XCode installed.

Copy the /output/hpub/ folder from the Tachypomp project into the /Baker Framework [version]/books/ folder, overwriting the existing /book folder.

Open the _/Baker Framework [version]/Baker.xcodeproj file in XCode and build it. You should be able to run the book as an app within an iPad simulator.

Alternatively, if you are not using OS X, you might want to look at the Friar Framework (, a port of the Baker Framework to Android. I haven't tried this myself, but in theory the generated content should be compatible.


  • Clean up the code (was a bit of a hack)
  • Add support for PDF (maybe)
  • Stylesheets for ePub and hPub versions


The Tachypomp and Other Stories




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