Monday, January 23, 2012

A new DPS resource

The folks at Technology for Publishing have created a really nice "how-to" book about the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). The book is titled DPSCreate™: Building Interactive Content. It can be purchased in downloadable form as a PDF or in a printed version. This clear, concise, accurate handbook is a nice guide to learning how to use DPS, as well as a handy reference manual.

The book starts out with an overview of terminology and the DPS process, discusses recommended file and folder structure, and recommends how to start building DPS files. Then the bulk of the book is spent on how to create the various types of interactive content that can be added to DPS apps.

The content of the book is also available as an iPad app.



If you are learning DPS, you need to buy either the app or the book!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Creating "page turning" buttons in Adobe DPS

Even though Adobe Digital Publishing Suite includes some built-in navigation functionality, you might want to include additional buttons to help the user navigate quickly and easily around your app.

There are two ways to add links to other pages in a DPS app: you can select some text and use the Hyperlinks panel, or you can select an object and use the Buttons panel. In this article, I'm going to focus on the Buttons panel method. I find that I use this method a lot more than the Hyperlinks panel. Imagine you have a simple table of contents as shown below.


Yes, I could select each entry and use the Hyperlinks panel to create the links to each section. But I usually want to make the tappable area larger than the actual text. So I will usually draw a frame that has no fill or stroke over the text (on a separate layer called buttons, just to keep things organized), and turn that invisible frame into a button using the buttons panel. This way I can make the tappable region any size I want, being generous to accommodate fat fingers.


To turn the invisible frame into a button, do the following:

1. Select a frame

2. In the Buttons panel, choose Go To URL in the Actions drop-down menu. Unfortunately, we can't use the Go To Page for buttons that specify a page in a different article.


3. In the URL field that appears, type in navto://Articlename#0

navto:// tells DPS to "navigate" to a particular page in the DPS app

Replace Articlename with the name of the article you want it to go to, as it is displayed in the Folio Builder panel

#0 indicates which page of the article to go to. Be careful: the first page of the file is page 0, the second page of the file is page 1, the third page is page 2, etc.


You may put buttons like this on your master page if you want them to repeat on every screen of the app. For example, in this app the word "Contents" appears in the bottom left corner of each screen. This word is on the Master Page, with an invisible frame on top of it that is a button linking to "navto://Contents#0"



Creating a button that just turns to a specific page within the current article is easier. Just create a frame, select it, and choose Go To Page for the Action in the Buttons panel, and then enter the page number in the Page field.


One "gotcha" with this type of button, however: It doesn't work correctly in the current version of the desktop preview. It will function correctly when viewed on the iPad, but if you preview your article or the entire folio on the desktop, you will need to click on the button, and then click somewhere else on the screen before the page will turn.

Note that the Go To Next Page or Go To Previous Page button actions don't work in DPS. So if you want to create a button that advances from page to page in a DPS app, you will need to specify the button destination on each and every page.




Thursday, January 12, 2012

Save the date!

I just scheduled the next meeting of the Twin Cities InDesign User Group for Thursday evening, March 1, 2012 from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. My friend Paul Trani, an evangelist at Adobe Systems, is going to demonstrate how the new Adobe Muse and Adobe Edge products can make Web and mobile design easy for print designers.

Please sign up here if you plan to attend so that we can expect you. Thanks!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Adobe announces special upgrade offer

In the past, Adobe has had a very generous upgrade policy. Users could usually upgrade from a version of the Creative Suite that was 2, 3 or even 4 versions back, and still qualify for upgrade pricing to the latest version.

But in November, Adobe announced that this will change. Starting with CS6, customers will need to be own the previous version in order to qualify for upgrade pricing on the latest version. Adobe received some negative feedback about this policy from the community, and apparently took this feedback to heart.

Adobe announced today a Special Upgrade Offer that will allow users of CS3 and CS4 to upgrade to CS6 at the upgrade price "from the time it is released until December 31, 2012." Adobe is saying that CS6 is coming "in the first half of 2012."

Note also that in addition to offering CS6 as a normal "perpetual desktop license" Adobe will also be offering monthly subscriptions to Creative Cloud, which will include access to all the software in the Creative Suite and more.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

How to reset a DPS iPad app as "unread"

Many of the iPad apps created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite use a horizontal-vertical navigation scheme. You swipe horizontally to move from section to section of the app, and then swipe vertically to read more in a particular section.

This is pretty intuitive, but it can be clunky once you've read to the bottom of a section, and then swipe to the right to read the next section. When you swipe back to the left at some point in the future, you are returned to the bottom screen of the section (where you last left off reading), instead of the top screen of the section (which is probably what you expected).

There is a simple (but not-at-all-obvious) way to "reset" any app that was created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite so that you are returned to viewing the top screen of every section. Here's how:

Tap somewhere on the screen to reveal the DPS "Chrome" (the interface elements provided by Adobe Digital Publishing Suite). Locate the name of the app in the title bar at the top of the screen.


Tapping once on the name of the app will bring you to the first screen of the app. But tapping three times rapidly on the name of the app will reset the view to the top screen of every section. You must get the timing of the "triple tap" correct for it to work. This is a handy tip for reading DPS-created apps. I wish there were a more obvious way to do this!