Calibre2Opds Index

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Calibre2opds User Guide Developer Guide
Overview Installing Generating Publishing Using Troubleshooting

Calibre2opds Overview

This section of the User Guide provides a high level overview of Calibre2opds.

It is split into the following main topic areas:


[edit] What is Calibre2opds?

Calibre2opds is an open source tool that can generate OPDS and HTML based online catalogs from the metadata database of the Calibre eBook library manager. The basic idea behind Calibre2opds is that it runs locally on a PC/Mac and generates all the files required to have a web site that is your online ebook catalog. Simply copying these files to a web server makes them available for use.

Features of calibre2opds include:

  • Works in conjunction with the Calibre e-Book library management.
  • Generates OPDS compatible XML catalogs that can be used with compatible e-Book readers. These include Stanza on the iPod/IPhone/iPad and Aldiko on android based systems
  • Generates HTML based catalogs that allow access from any browser-based ebook reader (e.g. a netbook with Firefox and EPUBReader). The HTML catalogs can also be used as a way of allowing books to be downloaded using a Browser for later transfer to an eReader device.
  • The generated catalogs have a hierarchical structured to help with navigating large ebook collections.
  • The catalogs can be both generated and used without requiring the Calibre software to be running at the time.
  • Catalogs can include cross-references, and external links to interesting web pages about your books.
  • The generated catalogs can be hosted on a server visible to the public Internet so that your catalogs and eBooks can made accessible from anywhere.
  • HTML catalogs support a browse-by-cover mode for those who prefer this way of selecting books.
  • The catalog generation is highly configurable to tailor output to your specific requirements. This configuration is done using a Graphical User Interface (GUI).
  • Has the ability to run in the background in a 'batch' mode using configurations previously set up using the GUI.

[edit] Where is Calibre2opds hosted

Calibre2opds makes use of facilities on a number of web sites as follows:

  • Calibre2Opds Home Site is hosted by Wordpress.
  • Documentation is hosted on
    It is set up as a wiki, so Users are encouraged to enhance it in light of their own experience in using calibre2opds. In particular if you have a problem and resolve it consider adding the details to the Troubleshooting section of the documentation.
  • User forum is hosted on GetSatisfaction
    Ask questions about Calibre2Opds. Browse the answers to questions raised earlier by other users
  • Source code management is hosted by GitHub
    This site holds the source code for the calibre2opds project. It also provides version control of the source code so that a complete history of the changes made to calibre2opds is available. If you want more information on how to use this source code then read the development section of the calibre2opds documentation
  • Issue Tracking uses the YouTrack product kindly hosted by JetBrains
    Raise bug reports or enhancement requests. If you want to raise an enhancement request then proceed as if you were raising a bug. This gets it into the tracking system which both makes it visible to the developers and provides a mechanism for keeping track of status.

[edit] Calibre2opds v Calibre catalogs

As the Calibre program includes its own Content Server, one question that many users ask is why should they use calibre2opds catalogs rather than simply sticking with the Calibre Content server? This is a comparison of the two approaches:

Calibre's content server is active. You must install it, with all its dependencies, and then run it and maintain it. The hosting system must therefore be capable of running the full set of Calibre software. The Calibre library must be visible to the Content server, or probably copied to where it is is running. The Calibre Content Server uses a significant amount of memory, which might be precious on the server (I often run on servers with 512kb total ram). The Content Sever wants to talk HTTP over TCP, meaning that anything in front of it must act like a client. It doesn't support SSL (authentication is visible) or password-per-user. However, it does give up-to-date answers, which is a very good thing. Searching for books meeting specific criteria can be done which is another good thing

calibre2opds generates static HTML pages. In effect this generates a web site for downloading your books which means that you do not require Calibre to be running to use the catalogs. This gives you a much wider choice of where you can host the calibe2opds catalogs. For instance it can be hosted on web servers in environments that would not be capable of running the Calibre Content server. Calibre2opds can use facilites of the hosting environment such as SSL and its security features. As an example if using the apache web server calibre2opds can run as a virtual host and use the Apache security features to give finer grain security than the Calibre Content server can offer.

Calibre2opds does not have the search facilities of the Calibre Content Serve but it makes up for this by having a heirarchically stuctured catalog which many find easier to use than the flat catalog structure of the Calibre Content Server. The user can configure many options of the catalog structure to get it optimised for their particular use. The OPDS standard is still evolving, and the OPDS catalogs can be optimised for specific devices that do not necessarily support the full OPDs standard. You have to rerun the Calibre2opds generate process to make books newly added to your Calibre library visible as changes are not picked up dynamically, aklthough you can configure your system to automatically run the generation regular intervals.

The following table shows key featues of the two different approaches for delivering ebooks over networks.

Feature Calibre Content Server calibre2opds
Multi-Platform Windows, Linux, MacOS Windows, Linux, MacOS
Developed using Python Java
Open Source Yes Yes
Run from USB stick Yes Yes
OPDS catalogs Yes Yes
HTML catalogs Yes Yes
Calibre needs to be running Yes (Content Server component) No
Built-in Web server Yes No - uses external web server
Custom Column values displayed in Book Details Yes Yes
Custom Column Support in Catalog structure ? No (on wish list)
Run under Web Server No Yes
Security username/password hosting environment security
SSL supported No Yes (if hosting environment supports it)
Dropbox support No Yes
Dynamic Updating Yes No
Search supported Yes No
Nook/Trook mode No Yes
Structured catalogs No Authors, Series, Tags, Recent Books, Ratings (optional)
Multiple catalog levels No Yes
Customisable catalog sections No Yes
Split sections by letter No Yes
sub-levels No Yes
External Links No Yes
User can customize the URL's that are used No Yes
Internal Links No Yes
Suppress Download links (browse only) No Yes
User defined links from library No Yes
Customisable catalog sections No Yes
Featured Books support No Yes
Coverflow in HTML catalogs No Yes
Limit formats in OPDS catalogs No Yes
Limit formats in HTML catalogs No Yes
Publish/NAS mode No Yes
Profiles for catalog settings No Yes

[edit] Calibre, Calibre2opds and Dropbox step by step

Step by step for beginners

[edit] Troubleshooting and FAQ


[edit] Useful Links

The following are links that may prove to be useful to Calibre2opds users:

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