Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Online sidecar.xml generator

When creating tablet apps with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, using a sidecar.xml file is an efficient way to enter article metadata such as title, description and author. As an added bonus, it also makes it easy to order/reorder articles within a Folio.

However, creating this sidecar file is left to the user, either typing it in the proper xml format by hand, or entering the data into a spreadsheet and then tagging and exporting the spreadsheet to xml as I've been doing.

Now there's a much simpler way. Johannes Henseler has created the online sidecar.xml generator. This useful site lets you enter information for each article, and then export that as a valid sidecar.xml file. The information you enter can be saved, so you can return to the site later to change the information and generate a new sidecar file. Sweet!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Text Edits tool is MIA in Acrobat X

The best way to make editorial comments in versions of Adobe Acrobat prior to version 10 (version X) is with the Text Edits tool, located in the Commenting toolbar. With this single commenting tool you can indicate that text should be deleted, replaced, inserted, highlighted, or have a note attached.

But look high and low in Acrobat X, and you'll be disappointed. In the Annotations panel you'll see separate tools for deleting, replacing, inserting, highlighting, or adding a note to text. But the handy all-in-one Text Edits tool is nowhere to be found.

As it turns out, they've merged the functionality of the TextEdits tool in Acrobat X with the Selection tool.

Just select some text with the Selection tool, then ctrl-click (Macintosh) or right-click (Windows) and choose Highlight Text, Cross Out Text, Replace Text, or Add Note to Text from the context menu that appears.

Once you know about the functionality of the Selection tool, you won't miss the Text Edits tool. But it's sure disconcerting when a familiar workflow is turned on its head!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interesting iPad content apps

Here are a few interesting iPad "content" apps I've run across recently. You should look at these if you are interested in publishing content such as periodicals, graphically rich interactive books, annual reports, etc. to iPads and other tablets.


These first 6 apps were developed using Adobe InDesign and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite:

The Ampersand: A cool look at ampersands from a variety of typefaces created by Chris Gregory. (Rotate your iPad to switch between roman and italic ampersands.)

Mascord Living Spaces: Note the use of 3D image rotation on the house plan pages, as well as pinch and zoom capability on the floor plans.

Fuel Magazine: The landscape orientation is used as a "teaser" for the full content which is displayed in the portrait version.

NCMA Rodin: Interesting navigation menu system at the top of the screen, and a 30 minute high-quality embedded video.

IU Libris: A good example of an "aggregation app" that serves up the various publications produced by the institution. See the IUPUI Alumni Digital Magazine in the app for an interesting navigation system.

AnimalABCLite: Note the "flip" animation on each page. This is done with an HTML5 animation "overlay".


Above & Beyond: Created with Adobe InDesign and the Digital Magazine Tools from WoodWing. A well-designed look at the photography of George Steinmetz.


Good Food Magazine: A highly-interactive, searchable foodie magazine created with PressRun.


Our Choice: The iPad version of a book by Al Gore. Created by pushpoppress. You've got to check this out as an example of a highly interactive book. Lots of interactive charts and illustrations, nice image treatments and an interesting interface. According to the web site, it was "two years in the making!" so obviously not inexpensive to develop.

Monday, June 06, 2011

iOS 5 Newsstand

Today Apple announced iOS 5 for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Among the shiny new features that will be in this version of the operating system is Newsstand, where "iOS 5 organizes your magazine and newspaper app subscriptions." There will also be a "new place on the App Store just for newspaper and magazine subscriptions."

iOS 5 is a ways's supposed to ship this fall. There aren't many specifics available yet. But looking at screen shots, I see example publications that are created with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite and Mag+, as well as custom apps like The Daily. So presumably this will work with magazine and newspaper apps built with a variety of systems.

This is a long-anticipated and welcome addition to the periodical publishing landscape. For tablet publishing to be successful, users need a central location to find and discover periodicals that suit their interests.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Really nice DPS example

I'd like to introduce you to a neat iPad app that was created by one of my training clients...Lerner Books. After just a couple of hours of training and a bit of guidance along the way, one of their top designers was able to convert their Journey into the Deep print title into a really great looking iPad app using Adobe InDesign CS5 and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

The designer did a great job on this book. The photography is gorgeous, she added some nice navigational and interactive elements, and included some bonus video elements as well. The vertical navigation within each chapter reinforces the idea of "diving" into the ocean depths

Download this book if you want to see an excellent example of a non-fiction book created with Adobe DPS.