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.Share on Facebook