Posts tagged "Adobe"

Determining DPS Reader context with JavaScript and HTML

I have many customers who ask how to deliver different content to readers based on their reading context. For instance, I have a magazine customer who wants to ensure that readers who are using browsers to read a magazine online receive a message telling them that they can read the magazine offline on their tablet. While there is no way to distinguish between an app-based reader and a browser-based reader for DPS-native overlays, it is possible to do it in a Web Content overlay using JavaScript. (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 an example of content that changes with context.)

The object window.location.protocol will return file: for app-based readers, and it will return http: for browser-based readers. Using this, we can make a function to switch a div on or off based on the value of window.location.protocol.

Consider the following HTML snippet:

<head>
<!--I'm using Typekit for the web font and HTMLResources for the tablet
You'll need to get your own kit (available with your Creative Cloud membership)
and include contentviewer.adobe.com in the kit settings
-->
<script type="text/javascript" src="//use.typekit.net/get_your_own_typekit_code.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">try{Typekit.load();}catch(e){}</script>
<script>
 //This function turns divs on or off depending on how the reader accesses the folio
function webOrApp() {
 if (window.location.protocol == "file:") {
 document.getElementById('webMessage').style.display = "none";
 }
 else
 {
 document.getElementById('appMessage').style.display = "none";
 }
}
</script>
<!--the styles are just to show differences between app and browser
--><style type="text/css">
@font-face { font-family: minion-pro-bold;
 src:url(../../../HTMLResources/fonts/MinionPro_Bold.otf) format("opentype");
 } 
.web {
 font-family: "minion-pro-display",serif;
 font-style: normal;
 font-weight: 700;
 font-size: 36pt;
 color: #CFF;
 text-align: center;
}
.app {
 font-family: "minion-pro-bold",serif;
 font-style: italic;
 font-size: 36pt;
 color:#FCF;
 text-align: center;
}
</style>
</head>
<body bgcolor="#0000FF">
<div id="webMessage" class="web">This message is for readers on the web.<br>
<img src="chimp.png"></div>
<div id="appMessage" class="app">This message is for readers in the app.<br>
<img src="monkey.png"></div>
<script>webOrApp();</script></body>

This very basic example loads the page and then fires the switching function at the end, so that it can “see” the two divs and therefore hide the appropriate one. If the reader is using an app, then window.location.protocol returns file: and the div called “webMessage” gets switched off. In order for it to work for you, you will need to provide two images to replace my chimp.png and monkey.png. Put them in a folder along with an html file containing the snippet, make a Web Content overlay, and point it at the html file. Be sure to set it to auto play, and depending on the content of the divs, you might want to turn off “Allow User Interaction.”

The example also includes fonts to match the InDesign layout. In the App, I use the HTMLResources folder, about which you can learn more about in the help file for Hyperlinks. In the browser, I use fonts from Typekit, which is a web-based font service from Adobe that’s part of Creative Cloud Membership. You could also use Adobe Edge Web Fonts or other hosted web font services.

Now, to test how this works, you need to make a folio, add your InDesign file as an article, publish the folio into an app that has Web Renditions enabled and Social Sharing turned on in the Viewer. Notice the publish the folio instruction. In order to see the folio in a browser, you need to publish to a Viewer App and then socially share the article. Since Single Edition can’t use social sharing, this will only apply to customers who use Pro or Enterprise. In addition, in order to test whether this works, you will need access to a DPS Application account that has Web Renditions enabled and a Viewer App that has Social Sharing turned on. Once you’ve published, open the folio, browse to your app, and then share it by email with yourself to test.

Here is how the folio renders on an iPad:

context_on_ipad

…and in a browser:

context_in_browser

The ease with which we can distinguish between readers in a browser and readers in an app allows publishers to provide content that can target users based on how they engage with that content, as well as to offer differentiated advertising. It also allows you to take advantage of browser features that won’t work on a tablet due to the limitations of the WebKit overlay, simply by making two versions of the HTML and switching on the appropriate div. Sometimes, simple solutions open up complex possibilities, and this is one of those solutions.

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Programmatic Navigation in DPS article live on Adobe DevNet!

Often I get the question: how can I just push a button and reset my folio to its initial conditions? The answer can be found in my latest article in Adobe’s Developer Connection article.

Be sure to have my DPS Examples app loaded on your iPhone or iPad when you read the article, so you can test the reset button yourself.

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DPS Examples app now available for iPad and iPhone

Many of you have asked for an app that provides examples of the DPS techniques that I outline in this blog. Well, at long last, I’ve pulled it together.

DPS Examples is an app for iPad and iPhone, available now in the iTunes Store. It provides functional examples as well as direct access to the blog posts to which they refer. Going forward, new articles will always feature a correlating folio in DPS Examples, and I’ll work to backfill over the next few weeks. Of course, it’s free, so go ahead and download it from iTunes and give it a spin. Be sure to accept push notifications so I can alert you to new posts as they arrive.

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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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