Web App Awesomeness

For the last year or so, I had been looking for ways to create content that will be viewable across devices. At Pearson, the entire sales force is on iPads. To date, there hadn’t been a good HTML5 tool for designers. We’ve been looking at developing in Flash Pro, packaging for iOS, and exporting a SWF for the web. An Apple Enterprise Developer license would allow us to distribute internally without going through the app store (which is very slow and approval is not guaranteed).

This has proven cheaper than many other custom development options, but still more expensive than our clients can afford in many cases.

Additionally, I’ve been working on a Responsive Design course for Lynda.com, as well as looking at solutions for our upcoming InDesign to HTML5 exporter, which became in5.

I was delighted to find that Chris Converse of Cōdify Design Studio, had done a wonderful job documenting a solution that marries a web site with a mobile app in his Create an iPad Web App course.

His course showed how you can detect whether a user is on an iPad, and whether the user is running from the web or as a web app. If the user is running your site on the web, you can prompt them with instructions (2-clicks) to install the app to their home screen.

web app home screen icon

Once on the home screen, your site work very much like a standard iPad app.

No app store approval required, and no annual developer license fee!

Since initially writing and updating this article years ago, Web Apps have become slightly more complicated to create (e.g., they now require a manifest file, and caching requires custom JavaScript, instead of just a simple text file).

However, the good news is that in5 can produce all of this for you without you have to write any code whatsoever!

To learn more about how in5 can help you create a Web App that works like a mobile app (since it converts your InDesign file with all of its interactive glory to HTML5), and see a live Web App, check out our Web App page.

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  1. Tablazines says:

    I had no idea that this actually came out. I check the website frequently to check for it. We currently publish a few iPad based magazines and I’m tired of expensive suites and/or developers to get the apps in the store.

    You should definitely consider a native Baker Framework export. With the upcoming baker 4.0 you’ll be able to support multiple issues on the Newsstand and it would be a boon to just go from Indesign to Baker with files arranged in the necessary folder format.

    This looks like a great plugin. Hoping to purchase it once the Holidays are over.

  2. Justin says:

    Thanks for the comment, Tablazines. Several people have mentioned the Baker Framework, so we will definitely look into it!

  3. Stefan says:

    I want to give the Baker export a plus from us. We also would love to see such feature. It would streamline our process significantly.

  4. Bootstrapper says:

    +1 on Baker Export. Please implement ASAP.

    Yes, it would streamline our process significantly.

    More importantly, it would eliminate a whole set of potential headaches from human error. Between rearranging the in5 output to suit Baker, and generating the book.json file, there’s a whole world of hurt that could be avoided if in5 exported directly to Baker.

    Thanks for in5, and for considering our suggestions!

  5. Justin says:

    Thanks @Stefan and @Bootstrapper, consider the Baker framework bumped up on our list.

  6. Tablazines says:

    THAT would be AWESOME!!!!!!!!

  7. Tablazines says:

    Indesign, In5, Baker and maybe an HTML5 Animation program would totally eliminate the need for these overpriced suites.

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