Using Adobe Captivate projects in DPS folios

Update: This method no longer works for Captivate 7 projects. See the post about using Captivate 7 projects in DPS folios.

I have many customers who ask whether eLearning and Adobe Digital Publishing Suite can play well together. While DPS isn’t designed to support Learning Management System (LMS) based course management and content delivery, it is possible to use HTML5 eLearning content in your DPS folios. In addition, it is possible to use Direct Entitlement as a method for restricting specific learner’s access to learning units. Ideally, you would add the entitlement APIs to your existing LMS, which would allow you to leverage your existing course management and reporting infrastructure with DPS as the delivery vehicle. Conveniently, Captivate 6 now supports HTML5 output for your eLearning projects and AICC reporting for your assessments. In this article, we will explore how to use Captivate to create HTML5 eLearning content for use in DPS. We will not explore how to integrate Direct Entitlement APIs with your LMS. (If you have my DPS Examples app installed on your iPad, and you’re reading this blog on your iPad, then tap here to see examples of Captivate content running in a DPS folio.)

It is important to create learning units that will fit on the iPad screen. iPad 1&2 have pixel dimensions of 1024×768, and New iPads have a pixel dimension of 2048×1536. Captivate has some project presets that are designed for iPad 1&2. You will notice that the projects have dimensions that are shorter than the height of the device. This allows for navigational user interface (UI) controls to be shown when the learner views the content. Since the Captivate Projects will be imported as Web Content Overlays in InDesign, you need to be sure to include an area for swiping to the next article or page, or perhaps InDesign buttons with navto:// hyperlinks that sit on top of the learning content so that the learner can use them for navigation.

Having properly sized your project, go ahead and create Video Demos, Software Simulations and Assessments with Captivate. Note that since many Captivate interactive elements are based on Action Script, they won’t work with DPS. Check the help system to see a comprehensive list of what does an what doesn’t work in HTML5. Fortunately, Captivate 6 includes an HTML5 preflight tool called HTML5 Tracker. It’s located under Window>HTML5 Tracker.

The HTML5 Tracker will check your project and report on any slides that won’t export properly. Use this tool for initial assurance that the project includes no unsupported features for HTML5 output. Having passed the first test, you should preview your project in a browser. Find this option under File>Preview>HTML5 Output in Web Browser. Be sure to check on a Webkit-based browser like Safari or Chrome, as DPS uses the embedded iOS Webkit browser for displaying HTML content.

 

If your project includes assessment, then you need to ensure that it is configured to use AICC results reporting and that your LMS can receive the reports from your project.

Having proven that your project works in a browser on your computer, it’s time to publish your project. Choose File>Publish. Disable SWF and enable HTML5. Disable Scalable HTML5 Content as well, since the learner won’t be able to resize the browser window on their iPad. Create a new folder in which to publish, and push the Publish button.

While normally a good thing, the index.html file that Captivate 6 makes includes a browser check. This browser check doesn’t know about the embedded webkit browser that DPS uses, so we need to remove it from the index.html file. Open it in your favorite text or HTML editor and remove the two script tags indicated below.

Having removed these tags, save the file and make a Web Content Overlay in your DPS project, point it at the index.hml file, and you’re done.

I have successfully tested this with quizzes, software simulations and software demos. There are many other use cases for Captivate, and I encourage you to explore eLearning with the potent combination of DPS and Captivate 6.

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Sending email and email attachments from DPS publications

Many of my customers have asked how to send an email from within a DPS publication. For instance, in a sales enablement situation, it’s often necessary to share documentation after the salesperson has discussed the products or services with their clients. In an earlier blog post, I detailed how to display PDFs and other document types directly in your DPS applications. While this is good, it’s not a leave-behind that many sales people require. I wanted to explore some ways to send email from DPS publications, and here are a few of the ways I concocted this afternoon. (If you have my DPS Examples app installed on your iPad, and you’re reading this blog on your iPad, then tap here to see examples of sending emails from a DPS folio.)

Just send it!

Often, it is necessary to just send an email to a specific address. This is easiest to achieve with a hyperlink or a button with a URL destination that uses the mailto: tag. For instance,

mailto:someone@example.com?cc=someoneelse@example.com&bcc=andsomeoneelse@example.com&subject=Summer%20Party&body=You%20are%20invited%20to%20a%20big%20summer%20party!

is a URL that will fire off an email in the device email client. This email will be addressed to someone@example.com with CC to someonelse@example.com and BCC to andsomeoneelse@example.com. Its subject will be Summer Party and the content will be You are invited to a big summer party! It will be sent by the default email account on the device’s email client. Copy that URL into a button URL action in InDesign, and presto, you have an email button.

You can get creative with the content, of course. You can include links to files, so long as the link is a fully formed URL path. For iOS Mail, use the <br> tag to go to a new line. For other mail clients, you’ll have to experiment. Here’s how I set up my email button.

The URL destination:

mailto:someone@example.com?subject=Tax%20Time&body=Pay%20your%20taxes!<br>http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf

sends an email to someone@example.com with the subject Tax Time and

Pay your taxes!

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf

as the message. Most email clients will interpret the link to the PDF as a hyperlink and will allow the reader to click or tap on the link and view the tax form.

Let’s get a little more sophisticated with this now. In InDesign CS6, we can insert HTML directly onto our layouts via the Object>Insert HTML menu. I have created a little form that has two inputs: email address and a menu to choose which file to include as a link in the body of the email message.

Copy and paste the following into your InDesign layout using Object>Insert HTML and preview on your iPad. If you have InDesign CS5 or CS5.5, you can save this as a .html file and point at it in a Web Content overlay.

<style type="text/css">
.emailform {
 height: 100px;
 width: 350px;
 font-family: Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif;
 font-size: 16px;
 font-style: normal;
 text-align: center;
 white-space: normal;
}
</style>
<script>
function sendMail() {
 var link = "mailto:"+document.getElementById('emailAddress').value
 + "?cc=myCCaddress@example.com"
 + "&subject=" + escape("Pay your Taxes!")
 + "&body=" + escape('Use this form to start the onboarding process.<br><a href="'+document.getElementById('chooseFile').value+'">Download your W-4 form now</a>')
 ;
window.location.href = link;
}
</script>
</head>
<body>
<div class="emailform">
 Email address:
 <input type="text" name="emailAddress" id="emailAddress" />
 </br>
 <select name="chooseFile" id="chooseFile">
 <option value="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf">Federal W4</option>
 <option value="http://www.maine.gov/revenue/forms/with/2012/12_w4me.pdf">MAINE W4</option>
 </select>
 <button onclick="sendMail(); return false">Send email</button>
</div>
</body>

 

Of course, you will need to modify it to meet your use case, especially whether you want to include the CC line and which files you want in the menu.

Set the InDesign CS6 will automatically create a Web Content Overlay for you, and you need to configure it to your taste. Since I set my background color in CSS to match the background frame color in InDesign, I have set mine to transparent and to autostart with a slight delay so that it will only fire when the user actually views it. You must enable user interactions if you want the user to be able to fill out the form. Note that with iOS Mail, you can use HTML formatting in your message, so have fun with the message body. I believe that this technique only allows about 2000 characters in the body, so you might need to keep your messages short. Also, this javascript method will force the user to agree to be sent to the Mail application from the folio, while the direct URL method won’t. Nevertheless, this is a very flexible and robust solution for creating email forms within your DPS application.

Here’s what my example looks like on the iPad.

Now I tap the Send Email button…

Now I return to my folio and enter some info in the email form…

Pretty neat, eh?

Links to files are OK, but what about attachments?

If you need to send attachments to your email, then you are out of luck with a URL. You will need to implement another method. I’ll describe two of them here.

The easiest to make is a web form with an emailer server-side application as its action. Remember that you can insert HTML forms directly into InDesign CS6 with Object>Insert HTML or by putting the form in an iframe and copying and pasting the iframe code into InDesign CS6. Like my example in the previous section, include a few text fields for To: and From:, and perhaps even a menu to choose which file to attach. You can get fancy and have check boxes or menus that attach multiple files to the email, too. Then, in your emailer server-side application, compose and send an email using the information in the form. I have done this with PHP and MySQL hundreds of times over the years, and it is a rock solid method for sending email attachments. Of course, you should obfuscate that URL or put it behind some kind of login, ideally attached to your company’s LDAP or Active Directory, if you need security.

While I usually turn to PHP and MySQL, there are myriad ways to implement this on your server. Check to see what server-side capabilities are available to you and give it a whirl.

Thinking outside the (Mail)box…

So, what happens if you are offline? The online form won’t work, and you’ll need a different solution. On iOS, you can write a custom app with XCode that can leverage Custom URL schemes to transmit information between apps. The mailto: tag above is an example of one that’s built into iOS. Also included are sms:, tel:, and http:. You can build an app that can respond to a custom URL scheme and deploy that app to all of the users who need to send emails. Here’s an example of XCode projects that, when built, communicate with each other. http://mobile.tutsplus.com/tutorials/iphone/ios-sdk-working-with-url-schemes/

Let’s say the app named Enterprise Email that has an ID of com.adobe.jameslockman.emailsenderapp has the registered the custom URL scheme sendemail: in its plist. I can then construct a URL using either of my methods shown above in DPS that will tell iOS to communicate with Enterprise Email using URL encoding, such as: sendemail://someone@example.com&from=me@mycompany.com&file=filename.pdf This URL is easy to populate as the result of a form with or without javascript in a web content overlay.

It’s up to you to determine how to parse the incoming string in your custom app. In addition, you should probably have the app check in to a central file repository from time to time and pick up the list of available files and store them internally. The app should also have the ability to cache email sending requests so that it can wait until it gets a network connection to send its emails. This method completely bypasses Mail and will require the app to enable its own email sending methods. I do not have an example of this in action, but I’m considering building out a simple XCode example. If I do, I’ll post it as another entry and link to it here.

This method will only be applicable to an Enterprise who can manage deployment of apps to its installed base of devices through a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution or other deployment method such as manual sideloading.

It’s in the mailbag

Remember that your ability to actually send email is dependent on your reader actually completing the email task in Mail. Also, the email will always be sent from their default account. They can always choose not to send the message, but in a sales situation, the sales rep will definitely want to send the message. Also, this provides an offline protection, since Mail lets you cache emails until there is an active network connection. If you need to send attachments, then you will need to look at an always online solution or the helper app solution. Your use case will dictate how far you need to go down the development road, but start simple with a URL or an embedded form. It just might be the all you need.

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Displaying Office Documents in Adobe DPS on an iOS Device

Many of my Enterprise customers use Adobe Digital Publishing Suite as a means to privately distribute marketing and sales enablement materials to their employees on iPads. Often, they have existing libraries of documents that they want to use as reference material in their folios, but they don’t want to convert them to InDesign documents. The DPS help page for Hyperlinks suggests that you can use the HTMLResources folder to display PDF documents in your folio, and this works well. On iOS, DPS uses an embedded Webkit overlay to display HTML content, so I decided to look at what else I could display there. Clearly PDF was supported, but what about Office? (If you have my DPS Examples app installed on your iPad, and you’re reading this blog on your iPad, then tap here to see examples of OfficeDocuments and how they appear in a DPS folio.)

Digging around in the Apple documentation for Webkit Overlays in iOS, I discovered a Technical Q&A Note that says you can display a wide array of document types, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers as well as PDF. All of these work in DPS when the folio is used on an iPad or iPhone. Be aware, though, that the Webkit preview doesn’t perform precise layout on Word documents that use advanced layout features, and some spreadsheet appearances might get wonky. Test, and if necessary, convert to PDF using Acrobat, of course.

Let’s see how all this works.

I have a folder of documents that I would like to display in my folio. The HTMLResources folder is a handy place to put these documents, since I will have a common location I can reference from anywhere in my folio, including buttons, hyperlinks, and hyperlinks in Web Content Overlays. To make an HTMLResources folder, all you need to do is to select the files you want to use in HTMLResources and zip them up. DO NOT put these files in a folder and zip the folder, unless you want to organize your references in a subfolder of HTMLResources. Also remember that it is an HTML Resources folder, so that all of your file names must be HTML friendly, or you need to escape the special characters when you write your hyperlinks. Notice in my example that all of the spaces are underscores so I know the filenames will be OK.

Once you zip up the files, rename the archive to HTMLResources.zip.

Now, we need to add it to our Folio. In the Folio Producer panel, navigate to the top level of the folio and choose Import HTMLResources Folder from the flyout menu and browse to your new HTMLResources.zip archive.

Now, let’s make some buttons to display our files. While I will make buttons, you can also use hyperlinks to display the documents you have in your HTMLResources folder. Note: follow the guidelines in the help documentation for proper pathing to your assets, though. The path is different for hyperlinks vs anchors in HTML files.

In my example, I have included files of the following types: PDF, xls, xlsx, doc, docx and Keynote. The Webkit overlay also supports Numbers and Pages, and you can explore those on your own. I made a series of buttons as normal, and I assigned the “go to URL” action to them with the target URL being “HTMLResources/<name_of_my_document.xxx>” In the example below, I have the button called “docx iPhone” on my iPhone layout that points to “HTMLResources/1_Statement_of_work.docx”

I created buttons for each of the file types shown and made both iPhone and iPad layouts. The results are shown below (the .doc and .docx files are the same content, so I’m only showing one of each (tap images to show full size):

Starting state:

 

PDF

Word doc

Excel

Keynote

Neat, eh? Oh, if you’re wondering how I got the two devices in one screen shot, Reflection allows you to display two devices at a time simultaneously. Please remember that the ability to show these document types is a function of the Webkit implementation on iOS, and these documents will not display on your Android devices.

I hope that this set of files will continue to be supported in future versions of iOS. The ability to include these document types is a huge time saver for companies that need to include supporting documentation in their DPS apps, but don’t want to have to convert them all to folios.

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Using InDesign CS6 Server with CQ5.5

Many of my customers have learned that CQ5.5 DAM can be used in conjunction with InDesign Server to extract content from InDesign documents and make them available for use in web pages in CQ. This worked great with CQ5.5 and InDesign CS5.5 Server, but failed with InDesign CS6 Server. I have an easy fix that enables InDesign content extraction for CQ5.5 and InDesign CS6 Server workflows.

First, start up your CQ Author environment and log in. Open CRXDE and search for spaceUnit. It will show up in one of the InDesign scripts.

If you don’t want to search, here’s the link to the jsp.

http://localhost:4502/crx/de/index.jsp#/crx.default/jcr%3aroot/etc/dam/indesign/scripts/XHTMLExport.jsx

Direct path here: /etc/dam/indesign/scripts/XHTMLExport.jsx

Right under spaceUnit is another variable called marginUnit. Comment out those two lines of code from the script, and you should be all set.

Apparently spaceUnit and marginUnit were supported in CS5.5 and earlier, but not in CS6.

Also, Adobe Drive 4 is required for DAM integration with CS6 applications. If CS5.5 is in play, then you will need Adobe Drive 3. As of August, 2012, the download link is halfway down the right hand column of the Adobe Drive Product Page. Drive 3 and Drive 4 can coexist if you need to have CS5/5.5 and CS5

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Single Issue vs Multi Issue Viewers for Enterprise customers

DPS customers have access to tools for creating and managing custom versions of the Adobe Content Viewer that can be distributed through iTunes (like the Wired or National Geographic apps). Additionally, Enterprise DPS customers can build apps for private distribution using an MDM service like MobileIron or Air-Watch. Only Enterprise DPS customers can build apps for Enterprise distribution models, and I have provided an earlier post about that process.

One of the options for the custom viewer is a Single Issue Viewer, in which one folio is embedded directly into the viewer. Single Issue Viewers have no library mode, so they are used by many of our customers who want to use MDM solutions to manage the distribution of specific folios to specific people. However, we have other customers who use MDM to distribute Multi-Issue Viewers to their managed devices, and then use our Restricted Distribution infrastructure to leverage LDAP or other authentication to control access to specific folios in that one viewer app. There are IT advantages to either approach, and I’d like to explore the differences.

In order to use an MDM system to manage apps on an iOS device, each app needs to be created using a specific unique identifier known as a mobileprovision file. Customers make these in the iOS Provisioning Portal, which is part of Apple’s iOS Developer Portal. In the Single Issue approach, each Single Issue Viewer needs a new, unique mobileprovision file from the iOS Provisioning portal. MDM solutions leverage a property of iOS whereby each app must have its corresponding mobileprovision file on the device in order for the app to run. MDM solutions can remove a mobileprovision file on a managed device, rendering the app unusable. When a customer makes a new Single Issue viewer, it must repackage this app to include the new, unique mobileprovision file in a process called resigning. There are several ways to do this, but a popular method is to use iresign from Google. This workflow is very effective because it gives IT fingertip control over each and every app on a managed device, and it allows IT to move DPS Folios in and out of circulation by wrapping them in Single Issue Viewers.

Let’s face it, though. Managing all those apps and mobileprovision files is annoying IT overhead. In the Multi-Issue approach, there is only one mobileprovision file because there is only one Viewer. Content delivery to the Viewer’s Library is based on credentials and is managed by a business user, not IT. The business user can associate content to users or groups in a portal without having to call IT to issue a new mobileprovision file. This portal can be built and managed by corporate IT using sample code from our Developer Center. Derek Lu, for instance, provides detailed instructions and sample code for integrating LDAP with Restricted Distribution. There are also commercially available servers such as Portico from MEI to enable Restricted Distribution workflows in an Enterprise without IT having to develop a backend solution from scratch.

Which method is right for your company? That depends on how you want to manage content. If you want IT to manage everything, then the Single Issue approach might be just what you need for DPS. If you want to reduce the burden on IT and shift content management over to the business users who file the IT tickets in the first place, then Multi-Issue with Restricted Distribution fills the bill. DPS is flexible: your designers create their engaging tablet content in InDesign, IT puts the apps on the devices, and either IT or business users manage the flow of those folios to users. Either way, you can use your MDM system to manage DPS viewers on your company’s tablets.

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