[Textbook-l] PDF/Collection feature live on de.wikibooks

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Fri Oct 10 01:46:32 UTC 2008

The collection tool, PDF export, and print on demand features are now
live on the German Wikibooks edition. PediaPress (who have developed
these open source features) are a German company, and want to
demonstrate the features at the Frankfurt Book Fair, so it made sense
to start in this language. We hope to add the other Wikibooks
languages really soon. Next stop: Wikipedia.

We'll also be adding OpenDocument and DocBook export once we've tested
them a bit on Wikimedia Labs.

Here's an example full length book rendered with the PDF tool:

(You'll have to click the PDF download button.) As you can see, there
are still some hardcoded English texts to get rid of. In terms of
output quality, formatting of stuff with underlying HTML in the wiki
source texts is the main area of imperfections, since the PDF
generator uses wiki-text as a source and gets a bit confused when it
encounters HTML. But it should generally ignore what it doesn't
understand. If you find cases where it dies, please report them,
ideally through the bug tracker at code.pediapress.com (you have to

This feature will make it possible to maintain the hierarchical
structure of wiki-books through dedicated collection meta-files that
are stored in the wiki. The underlying meta-file in the case above is
this one:


As you can see, it's a very simple format. These pages can exist
either in the user namespace or in the project namespace, and will be
automatically detected as "collections" that can then be loaded and
exported via the collection toolbox in the sidebar. But for
user-friendly PDF download, it's probably easiest to integrate links
(in the above format) to ready-made collections into templates, like
the existing "printable version" templates.

One of the nicer aspects of this approach is that you can easily have
multiple views on the same Wikibook, or create a book pulling from
multiple sources. But I also see the collection meta-files potentially
useful for other purposes in the future, such as Wikibooks statistics.

When this is available on all projects, I'll write a bit more. If you
want to play with an English language version, there's still a demo
running at:


with a full English Wikibooks snapshot database.

Have fun,
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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