Web App Awesomeness

For the last year or so, I’ve 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 hasn’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->HTML5 exporter.

I was delighted to find that Chris Converse of Cōdify Design Studio, has 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 shows 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. 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!

You can find more info on Apple Web Apps and Android Web Apps, and see more iPad examples from Chris.

There’s still the issue of no HTML5 design tool, but we hope InDesign->HTML5 will be a step forward for designers and we’re definitely going to work toward including web app functionality into InDesign->HTML5.

Update: The InDesign to HTML5 tool is now known as in5, and it supports exporting for iPad, iPhone, and Android Web Apps.

InDesign to HTML5

InDesign to HTML5If you’re like many designers that we know, you’re able to produce some fantastic designs using InDesign. More and more, clients are asking for digital projects like HTML5 websites and mobile apps. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an easy way to translate your designs into web and mobile experiences.

That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of our InDesign to HTML5 project on Kickstarter! InDesign to HTML5 will export your layouts directly from InDesign, and allow you to distribute your content easily and affordably across all devices. Our exporter will be very similar to the fantastic Interactive SWF exporter currently in InDesign, except that it will not rely on the Flash Player (and will thus work on mobile devices, including on the iPad and the iPhone).

Here are some of the advantages of our InDesign to HTML5 product:

  • Affordable.
  • Open, editable output (viewable on all devices).
  • Easy to use (export right from InDesign).
  • Easy to distribute your final product.
  • Backward-compatible with previous versions of InDesign.
  • No usage fees.
  • Distribute an unlimited number of projects.

Kickstarter is a creative new way to fund projects with individual contributions. By contributing to our project, you can gain early access to our InDesign to HTML5 exporter, and we get some money to support our initial development time. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, so we need to reach our funding goal for the project to move forward. So, please spread the word if you want to see InDesign to HTML5 happen!

Update (12/12/12): The product, now called in5 is now publicly available: