I created this PowerPoint presentation to test the ability to export DPS folios directly from PowerPoint. It worked, which you can see if you sign in to the DPS Tips app (username=tips, password=dps). I’m also posting this file here for easy reference on a computer.
Before you dive in and start using DPS to build apps, you have a lot of design decisions to make. Let’s go over a few of them.
Which platforms are supported?
You can submit DPS apps to the following stores:
iOS App Store – You can create multi-folio apps for the iPad+iPhone or for the iPad only. You cannot create iPhone-only apps. If you create a single-folio app, it can only appear on the iPad.
You can sell folios either through individual in-app purchases or through subscriptions in iTunes. If you sell folios through direct entitlement, you must also make them available for purchase through iTunes.
Google Play Store – You can create multi-folio apps that appear in the Google Play Store.
DPS supports selling folios through in-app purchases but not through Google Play subscriptions at this time. You can offer folios through direct entitlement as well.
It’s possible to submit multi-folio apps to the Amazon Appstore, but no in-app purchases are available, and the DPS team does not fix bugs on Amazon devices.
Windows Store – You can create multi-folio apps that appear in the Windows Store.
DPS supports selling folios through in-app purchases. In Windows, you specify one price for all folios. You can offer folios through direct entitlement as well.
While the DPS Status Page is a great way to view announcements, reminders, and service outage updates, you have to browse to the page to see what’s going on. If you want to be notified by email, you can now sign up to receive updates.
Rebuild and resubmit your multi-folio apps before the iOS 8 release. Multi-folio apps do not function properly in iOS 8.
The DPS team has been testing DPS apps in the beta version of the upcoming iOS8 release. While single-folio apps work fine, multi-folio apps fail to work properly:
On iOS 8 beta cover icons do not appear, downloaded folios are lost and cannot be viewed, and folios cannot be downloaded after the user launches the app for the first time, quits the app, and restarts it.
It doesn’t look like Apple will resolve these issues on their end. Fortunately, the most recent Adobe DPS release (v31.3) includes an update to the v30 and v31 multi-issue viewers that addresses these problems.
Please use the newest version of DPS App Builder to rebuild your multi-folio apps and submit the updated versions to Apple as soon as possible, before iOS 8 is released. Failure to update apps will likely result in DPS apps not functioning properly when iOS 8 is released publicly.
For demo purposes, DPS Tips is now set up with direct entitlement. That means that you can click the Sign In button in the library and use any of the following accounts to sign in. Once you sign in, you can download bonus folios. These folios are basic placeholder articles at this time, so don’t get too excited. When someone in the DPS world throws out terms like “direct entitlement” or “restricted distribution,” you’ll have a better idea of how it works.
Older (pre-v24) apps don’t work on iOS 7. Any DPS app created with v24 and earlier fails to work properly in devices that run iOS 7. For one thing, landscape folios just don’t appear. If you have a v24 or earlier DPS app in the App Store, you should update it.
Known issues with v25/v26 apps on iOS 7. DPS apps built with either v27 or v28 work well on iOS 7 devices. DPS apps built with v25 or v26 have a few known issues, but nothing as serious as v24 and earlier apps.
Drop of support for iOS 5. DPS apps built with v28 and later do not work on iOS 5 devices. Apple does not allow the iPad 1 to update to iOS 6 or later, so DPS apps built with v28 or later cannot be installed on iPad 1 devices. Note that if you have a v27 or earlier app in the store and update it to v28 or later, Apple allows iPad 1 users to download the older version of the app.
[Note: I updated this blog entry in August 2013 to include information about a great panorama tool called PTgui and to provide more info about taking panorama photos.]
A panorama overlay can give you the impression that you’re inside a building or cockpit, allowing you to spin around and zoom in and out. Creating the source files for panoramas is not easy, but if you use the right tools and equipment, the process can be painless—and even fun.
A panorama overlay requires six images that represent the inside of a cube. Here are the six images used for the courtyard panorama that appears in the DPS Tips app (Overlay Basics > Panoramas).
You can use Photoshop to stitch together the source image to be used as the basis for the six cubic images. However, converting a 3D panorama image into the six images requires a third-party tool such as PTgui or Pano2VR. PTgui and Pano2VR cost about the same amount, but PTgui is more versatile. With PTgui, you can stitch together the images to create the source file and then generate the six images from that source file.
Here’s how to create the images required to build a panorama overlay in DPS.
Creating scrollable frames in DPS is easy. Just create a content frame and a container frame, paste the content frame into the container frame, and then use the Overlays panel to specify scrollable frame settings for the container frame. (If you’re confused, see the help article about scrollable frames, and then come back.)
But what if you know the content isn’t final and you’re going to edit the scrollable frame content later? And what if your scrollable frame content includes a bunch of buttons and overlays that are hidden from view?
When you create a stack of overlays in a DPS article, which overlays take precedent over others? While the answer is complicated, it’s also logical. Before I go into which overlays win out in a stack, first I need to explain the concept of “inactive” vs. “active” overlays.
Inactive and Active Overlays
When we’re teaching the concept of interactive overlays, we like to explain that non-interactive content is added to the background image of the page while interactive overlays appear on top of this background image, which is why they’re called “overlays.” While that’s accurate, it doesn’t tell the whole story. It fails to take into account that some overlays can be active or inactive.
Let’s take a look at Colin’s image sequence of the Fremont Bridge in Seattle. You can experiment with this example in the Advanced Overlays issue of DPS Tips, or you can watch this quick 10-second video.
Notice what happens to the red arrow and the image sequence overlay. Tapping the image sequence hides the red arrow, which is part of the background image, and double-tapping the image sequence exposes the red arrow again. Why?
If DPS articles include memory-intensive overlays, you might run into trouble when viewing them on mobile device with obvious memory limitations. Sometimes the app becomes sluggish, sometimes it crashes, and sometimes it takes a PDF article too long to load.
How do you avoid these memory problems? If you go against guidance and do something like create a pan and zoom image with a 5000×5000-pixel PNG image or scale down a huge video, you’ll likely crash your app. However, in some cases, individual overlays that by themselves wouldn’t cause memory problems can be a problem when combined with other memory-intensive overlays on the same page or even on adjacent pages.
Whenever you turn to a page in an article, the DPS viewer loads each page above and below that article into memory, and it loads the current page of the next or previous article. This pre-loading improves the performance of articles and helps prevent crashing when users swipe quickly.
In this example, viewing page 2 of the third article loads the pages above and below it as well as the first page of the articles before and after.