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Dynamically Update Your Ebooks with JavaScript

By Shelley Lowery

In a previous article, "Use JavaScript to Dynamically Update Your Website," we talked about how you can use JavaScript to replace your existing navigational set up on your website for easy updating. For those who may have missed it, you can click here: Use JavaScript to Dynamically Update Your Website. Well, you can also use JavaScript to dynamically update your ebooks.

The type of ebook I am referring to is a self-contained "executable" file of HTML. This HTML may be a website you've created or HTML you've specifically prepared to be compiled into a downloadable .exe file for distribution.

Ebooks are completely interactive with the Internet and can contain live links, graphics, forms, JavaScript, embedded video, and just about anything that HTML 4.0 supports. In addition, they can even be protected via password/userid and have search capabilities.

Needless to say, they are one of the most powerful marketing tools available on the Internet. They combine two of the most sought after forms of content online. The need for information and the desire to get something of quality, free.

By creating a quality, informative ebook and allowing it to be freely distributed, you are literally creating a massive marketing machine. This marketing machine will spread like wildfire and continue to work for you eternally.

You can even take that one step further and create a free ebook that will become a Viral Marketing Tool. You can create a free ebook that you will have complete control over forever. No matter how many copies you give away, you can have the ability to update each and every one of them with just one file.

Instead of coding your regular HTML pages for your ebooks, you simply place two small lines of JavaScript within your HTML page where you'd like your content to display. This code will pull the content from a file on your server to display within your ebook. This is the same JavaScript codes discussed in the last article.  Before we begin, if you'd like to see an example of a free ebook with dynamically updated content, visit: http://www.web-source.net/free_ebooks.htm and download Syndicator eMagazine. This free ebook is the Net's first dynamically delivered emagazine. There are two versions available; the Internet Business version and the Home and Family version.

For those of you who read the previous article, much of the following will be a repeat however, there is some additional information. In addition, some email programs may not display the following code properly. You can view this article at the following address: http://www.web-source.net/dynamically_update2.htm

The first step in setting up your content feed is to create the file that will contain your content. To do this, you must first create your HTML page exactly as you'd like it to display within your ebook. Once you've created your page, open a text editor such as NotePad and simply cut and paste your HTML into a new page. Not all of your HTML, just the contents that you would like to be dynamically displayed. There is no need to begin your new file with <HTML><HEAD>, etc. as you are only creating the file for the contents of your existing HTML page.

Once you've created your new page containing your HTML, you'll now need to add some additional JavaScript coding to each line of your HTML.

The first line of your new file will look like this:

The next line will begin with "document.writeIn('" and end with "');" (without the beginning and ending quotes). Your first line of HTML will be placed between the beginning and ending coding. For every line of your original coding, you'll need to add the above-mentioned codes before and after.

Note: Make sure you don't add any extra spaces, including at the end of each line, as JavaScript is very sensitive. Your new file will end with //--> on the last line.  Here's how your code might look:

document.writeln('<TABLE BORDER="0" ALIGN="Center">');
document.writeln('Your table content');

Each backslash (\) should be preceded with another backslash.

Example: \\

Each apostrophe (') should be preceded with a backslash.

Example: \'

You can include most HTML and JavaScript coding however, you cannot include JavaScript that must access another file.

After you've completed your content file you'll need to save it and upload it to your server. Try to select a name that reflects your file such as ebook.js and make sure your filename is no longer than eight letters.

Next, you'll need to create a new directory on your server where you store all of your HTML files. Name this directory "content" (without the quotes) and upload your new .js file in ASCII.

Finally, place the following code into your original HTML page (the page you cut the HTML code from) where you'd like the content to display. Make sure you change the URL and point it to your new .js file.

<SCRIPT language="JavaScript" src="http://www.yourdomain.com/content/yourfile.js"> </SCRIPT>

Note: This script has only been tested using the following ebook compilers and may not work with all compilers:

E-ditor Pro - http://www.e-ditorial.com/ebook.cgi?id=websource
 WebCompiler - http://www.webcompiler.com/

I highly recommend both of these compilers, but E-ditor Pro is much easier to use.

If you are receiving a script error message, most of the time, it's due to an extra space at the end of a line or an extra or missing character. Make sure you go over your code very carefully.

If you'd rather not have to code the JavaScript yourself, I use a great script called, Master Syndicator which will code your content for you. I highly recommend it.

Creating a free ebook will be one of the BEST marketing decisions you'll ever make. Creating a free ebook you can dynamically update will give you the power to control your free ebooks forever. Now that's Viral Marketing!

About the Author

Shelley Lowery is the Webmaster of Web-Source.net - A complete resource portal for the Internet entrepreneur. The site assists the entrepreneur in developing a serious Web presence by providing a wealth of free information, resources, tools and content.

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This Page Last Updated:
 October 09, 2004