Just had a meeting with the client to whom I have presented the prototype Folio I was making over the last 5 days.
We have been watching the Apple presentation and have been testing the new Apple tools.
Decision has been taken: he wants me to drop DPS and to start to create his project using iTunes Author. As he wants it for iPad and as it is easy to read the file without all the online Folio Producer mambo jambo, I completely understand my client.
I know these are different things, and an Apple-only thing, but the vast majority of my clients (and of Adobe's clients, you know, those without a budget to buy even a Professional DPS account) will love iTunes Author. I just wanted to stress it out: yes, iTunes Author addresses a lot of issues lacking in DPS.
I will still use both though.
I have the same issue — I've been working on a demo using DPS for a client for a while now so she can shop it around to publishers. I was waiting on the new release of the DPS tools for the interactive elements in MSOs capability to fine tune the demo. I've been aware that the Apple announcement was coming, so I was anxious to see what it would bring. I've been playing around with the ibooks author app all morning, seeing what I could recreate quickly from my Folio demo.
I think Adobe has some challenges now when compared to ibooks author — obviously, pricing (is Apple taking the usual 30% on ibooks?), but for me as a developer, I think ibooks author presents a usability challege to Adobe. I find the overlay creator and folio panels kludgy, at best. They don't feel native like other InDesign Panels. (Are they AIR?) I find myself double clicking a lot on the panels, or clicking checkboxes that don't respond until I exit out of that are of the panel and then click back in. Perhaps CS6 will go along way towards improving the usability, but for now, I don't find using the tools to be much fun or delightful. They get in the way of me developing something, they're obtrusive, and they take me out of my train of thought.
As far as the demo goes, I've been starting to think that my client should try to publish her book herself, and iBooks Author may be the best option if she wants to do this. We were thinking months ago when we evaluated our options, that we should publish the book as an app, that ibooks didn't support her vision. She's not trying to sell her textbook to entire county/state school systems, but by using ibooks author she can publish to the textbook category — and her book can compete there in a somewhat uncrowded (at least for now) space.
I hope Apple approves the v18 of the Adobe Content Viewer App so I can start testing the new tools.
I'll continue to use DPS. iBooks Author will present opportunities to work directly with individual authors more rather than working with them through publishers.
I just made a book and exported it to my desktop in .ibooks format. I mailed to myself and opened it on my iPad. The iBook comes thru as an attachment. You can click on that and the file opens in the iBook app. That's a wow. But I have to say the creation tools have a long way to go. They are sort of dumbed down, drag and drop. Right now you must use a template. There is a non-working option to start a new book without one.
This is a great distribution model.
I think the simplicity of iBooks Author may be a bit misleading — I do think the tools have power. But most of that power is in how quickly you can create something. When I first started using the Overlay Creator tools it took me a while to navigate them, and also use existing INDD tools like object states. What took me about an hour to wrap my head around in InDesign/DPS took me about 10 minutes in iBA. I think also the HTML capabilities of iBA and INDD/DPS allow for greater complexity in interactivity and content.
What concerns me about iBA and all the iApps in general is the sameness of design that you see across most of the content created with them. (I never thought I'd say this as a designer, but the iApps make me very tired of Helvetica.) The iApps, and also iBA from what I can tell so far, are highly prescriptive from a design perspective. Mostly because of the role templates play in beginning a new project. Most users don't stray far beyond the design built into a template. Granted, the quality and consistency of that "sameness of design" is higher than similar content created with tools like PowerPoint, but that sameness results in a blandness that I think makes it hard to get beyond and actually concentrate on the content. This could be bad for learning. I worry about an iBookstore full of learning materials where all text, all the interactive features look and feel the same (slideshows, interative images). The iBooks Author tool acts like a sausage maker if this is true, treating all educational content, regardless of discipline, in the same way.
And here's where I think, Adobe has the advantage. I can tell when something has been created with Keynote, Pages, or photo books produced through iPhoto, and probably will be able to with content produced using iBA. With the Adobe apps, I can't tell. I think that's because of the "blank canvas" nature of the applications. I hope that continues, while they also make the Overlay Creator and Folio Producer tools more enjoyable to use. Right now they're a kludge.
On the distrubtion model, I've been following the #eprdctn tag on twitter. Some interesting implications of using iBA — you can only publish content created in iBA to Apple's iBookstore. You cannot charge for the same content distributed outside of iBookstore.
"On the distrubtion model, I've been following the #eprdctn tag on twitter. Some interesting implications of using iBA — you can only publish content created in iBA to Apple's iBookstore. You cannot charge for the same content distributed outside of iBookstore."
Frankly, it's a secondary problem compared to what Adobe charges to do the same.
Exactly what I did. Empty template. I'm trying out some animations using Hype and Edge and see how they come into iBA. I think teachers or other non-designer/developer folks creating content to put it up on the iBookstore will stay pretty close to one of the templates, which is where I think the sameness will come in.
I'm a little surprised at what seems to be the backlash to Apple's announcement — especially @lizcastro in the #eprdctn conversation on Twitter. But this seems to be the professional designer/developer set. I'd love to hear what a teacher who wants to develop some materials and share them for free or low cost. There's a big market in home schooling and supplementary education (i.e., tutoring centers) that I think this tool is really well suited to.
On the pricing model, I think you're right. I think people balk at the idea of forking over a ton of money before making a dollar, versus the thought of paying 30% of future money earned. I don't like the idea of not being able to see new features in action unless I pay for the custom-viewer feature of the professional edition @ $500/month. I think Adobe should only make the InDesign DPS tools available to the general public after the Content Viewer app is available.
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