A silky, tactile browser-based ebook JavaScript library.
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A silky, tactile browser-based ebook reader.

Initial development by Joseph Pearson of Inventive Labs. Released under the MIT license.

More information (including demos): http://monocle.inventivelabs.com.au

Contributions welcome - fork the repository on GitHub.

Demos: http://sguha00.github.com/Monocle/test MONOCLE NOW HAS A GOOGLE GROUP! If you're new to Monocle and you have questions that aren't answered by the Wiki, you can ask them here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/monocle-js

Getting Monocle

The wiki has details on how to build Monocle for production use:


... and how to run it locally (to explore, to develop against, etc):


The scripts and stylesheets are separated into:

  • monocore - the essential Monocle functionality
  • monoctrl - the optional basic controls for page numbers, font-sizing, etc

It's recommended that you develop against the unminified files, to make debugging easier. In production, use the minified files.

Integrating Monocle

Here's the simplest thing that could possibly work.

  <!-- Include the Monocle library and styles -->
  <script src="scripts/monocore.js"></script>
  <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="styles/monocore.css" />
    #reader { width: 300px; height: 400px; border: 1px solid #000; }

  <!-- The reader element, with all content to paginate inside it -->
  <div id="reader">
    <h1>Hello world.</h1>

  <!-- Instantiate the reader when the containing element has loaded -->

In this example, we initialise the reader with the contents of the div itself. In theory there's no limit on the size of the contents of that div.

A more advanced scenario involves feeding Monocle a "book data object", from which it can lazily load the contents of the book as the user requests it.

Exploring Monocle

If you want to explore all of Monocle's features, you'll find numerous tests and examples here:

Alternatively, you can clone this repository and build Monocle (or simply extract the pre-built Monocle to dist). Then open test/index.html in your browser. This will guide you through Monocle's tests, which incidentally demonstrate all the major features. View source or browse the test directory in your text editor for implementation details.

For more info: https://github.com/joseph/Monocle/wiki/Running-Monocle-locally

Connecting Monocle to your book content

For a non-trivial Monocle implementation, your task is to connect the Monocle Reader to your book's HTML content and structure. You create something called "the book data object" to do this.

The book data object is really pretty simple. You'll find the specification and some examples in the Monocle Wiki page on the book data object.

For more advanced uses and customisations of Monocle, you should definitely read the Monocle Wiki.

Browser support

At this time, Monocle aims for full support of all browsers with a W3C-compliant CSS column module implementation. That is Gecko, WebKit and Opera at this point. Please encourage your browser-maker to work on implementing these standards in particular:

  • CSS Multi-Column Layout
  • W3C DOM Level 2 Event Model
  • CSS 2D Transforms (better: 3D Transforms, even better: hardware acceleration)

Monocle has a particular focus on mobile devices. Monocle supports:

  • iOS 4.2+
  • Android 2.2+
  • Kindle 3

All these mobile platforms implement columned iframes differently, so support may be imperfect in places, but we're working on it. Patches that improve or broaden Monocle's browser support are very welcome (but please provide tests).

Inventive Labs would like to thank Ebooq for providing a device to assist with Android testing.

Future directions

Monocle has a small set of big goals:

  • Faster, more responsive page flipping
  • Wider browser support (and better tests, automated as far as possible)
  • Tracking spec developments in EPUB and Zhook, supporting where appropriate

We'd also like to provide more implementation showcases in the tests, and offer more developer documentation in the wiki.

If you can help out with any of these things, fork away (or create an issue on GitHub).


3.2.0 - A new event management subsystem, called Gala, replacing the old Monocle.Events. Gala unifies touch and mouse event registration a lot better. It also works as a standalone library, if you need that - there are no dependencies on other parts of Monocle.

3.1.0 - Numerous stability fixes, plus improvements for Android and Opera, including minor API changes to flippers and slow-browser detection.

3.0.1 - Bugfixes for component loading, cancelling magic panel contacts.

3.0.0 - Magic panel, IE10 support, iOS6 support, better Android support, selection events, billboard feature, Monocle.Formatting to clean up Reader, removing deprecated flippers, Stencil refactor, component weights (for more accurate component percentages), and many bug fixes. See https://github.com/joseph/Monocle/compare/v2.3.1...v3.0.0

2.3.1 - Fix for serious Firefox 12 bug in paginating content.

2.3.0 - Smoother transitions and animations in more browsers.

2.2.1 - Slider fixes for better iOS performance.

2.2.0 - Speed, compatibility improvements (esp iOS5, Android, Kindle3).

2.1.0 - Source file reorganisation, Sprockets 2, distributables, wiki.

2.0.0 - Complete rewrite to sandbox content in iframes (the Componentry branch).

1.0.1 - Scrolling flipper, more tests, work on sandboxing in iframe (Framer).

1.0.0 - Initial release.