Hi guys! I’ve been working on a new project for several weeks. As my team is now extending its audience and its skills, we were looking for innovative ways to reach web application developers. To address the Flex community, our blogs and our events remain the best ways to deliver our messaging and get your feedback. With HTML developers, it’s a different story. Adobe is not the only actor in the HTML world, that’s why we need to find innovative ways of communication. Appliness is one of them. It’s a digital magazine, actually the first one created for web application developers. Available on iPad and Android tablets, Appliness contains technical tutorials, news, applications showcased, video tutorials, exclusive interviews and more.
Website and links
Appliness is now alive and has its own dedicated website: http://www.appliness.com
If you have an iPad, you can download the magazine on the app store. It will appear in the Newsstand application: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/appliness/id510636049
If you have an Android tablet, Appliness is available as a standalone application on Google Play. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appliness.applinessAndroid
I’m currently working with Amazon to put it on the Amazon Appstore.
Digital Publishing Suite
To create this magazine, I used Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). First, I had to install and learn how to use InDesign CS5.5. I was happily surprised by the number of video tutorials available on the web. DPS adds some components and features to InDesign to create digital magazines. The extensions are free and you can create and test a magazine for free on your tablet. Basically, you create static articles and then you add interactive parts. At any time you can save and upload your work on acrobat.com. The free application “Adobe Content Viewer” available on the app store and on the android market lets you test your work on your tablet.
Add interactive content with DPS
The first panel with DPS installed is called “Overlay creator”. It’s a list of interactive components: slideshow, image sequence, Video, Panorama, Pan & Zoom and Web content. The last one was the most interesting for Appliness. It lets you load HTML content in a page. That’s why in some technical tutorials, you’ll find the source code of a sample and its execution right next to it. It’s an instant preview of HTML and JS code! You can even make it interactive so that the reader plays with your HTML samples. It’s a great way to share tutorials and learn new development tricks. DPS stores your HTML samples in a HTMLresources folder. You can update its content uploading a HTMLresources.zip file. The files will be embedded in your magazine and rendered even if the user if offline. Otherwise you can chose to execute remote HTML files hosted on your own server.
Organize your folio
The other panel that comes with DPS in InDesign is the “Folio Builder”. A folio is an issue of your magazine. It consists in a list of articles (InDesign files). Every time you modify the ordering of your articles and their metadata, the changes are synced on acrobat.com. By the way, a hosted version of the folio builder exists and it’s a fantastic Flex app. Once you sign-in on digitalpublishing.acrobat.com, you can access this app and order your articles, enter the descriptions, etc…
Create a native viewer
A viewer is a native application that you can customize (splash screen, icons…) and that will consume your folios published on acrobat.com. The Viewer Builder application is a desktop AIR app that lets you create a viewer for iPad or Android tablets. Basically, it’s a wizard to upload the icons of your application, the splash screen, the certificates… At the end of the process, this AIR application sends information to acrobat.com that will return an .ipa or an .apk file. You have the choice between several kinds of viewer applications: the single edition (one viewer per folio), the multi-folio, the multi-folio with subscriptions… You have a lot of options too: enable push notifications, in-app purchase, presence in the Apple Newsstand application.
I’ve also launched a dedicated website: http://www.appliness.com. This magazine for developers and is edited by passionate developers and bloggers. That’s why it would be great to get your feedback. If you want to contribute, publish a tutorial or showcase your application, use the feedback form on appliness.com.