Becoming a Digital Publishing Master with in5

Images from apps and sites created with in5.

This course will teach you how to use InDesign and in5 to create beautiful and accessible sites and mobile apps. Learn to become a master of digital publishing from the ground up by using familiar design tools.

For full course details, visit the main course page.

Lesson 16: Publishing a Mobile App

Sometimes there's just no substitute for a mobile app. Fortunately, your in5 content can easily be packaged into a mobile app for Android, iOS, and Windows. This lesson will show you the best options for creating mobile apps.

Expert Contributors to this lesson

Justin Putney

Justin Putney

Creator of in5

Today's Course Outline

  1. Push Button Power with PhoneGap Build
  2. Additional Options
  3. Publishing the Live App

Estimated time for lesson

Today’s lesson should take approximately 10 minutes.

Push Button Power with PhoneGap Build

PhoneGap is a free code library owned by Adobe that lets you package HTML into mobile apps for multiple platforms.

PhoneGap Build is a web service that does all of the packaging for you from a simple dashboard.

And it's basically free.

phonegap build pricing

If you're already a Creative Cloud subscriber, you've got an all access pass.

Exporting your InDesign layout

You can export your InDesign document using any in5 settings that you'd like.

The next step is to create the configuration file. This can be done by hand, but it way easier to use ConfiGAP.

Creating the Configuration File with ConfiGAP

Note: ConfiGAP hasn't quite kept pace with changes in PhoneGap and it may produce a config.xml file with errors.

For best results, I recommend the Create a Mobile App with in5 & PhoneGap Build video course.

The premium version comes with a downloadable config.xml sample file that you can use for your app (and you can skip the rest of this section on ConfiGAP).

Choose the new config file option.

new config option

Most of the essential settings are found in the General Settings section.

configap general settings

Next, you'll want to make sure you have at least a basic icon for testing.

icon setting

You can also set up platform-specific icons (as well as Splash Screens).

Give yourself credit in the Developer Info section.

developer info section

Lastly, uncheck the Enable All Plug-ins button to remove unnecessary plugins (this makes the package much simpler).

plugins section

Click the Save file... button in the lower right-hand corner and save the config.xml file with your exported in5 files.

save button

Zip the folder with the in5 files and the config.xml file into a single package.

You're now ready to upload to PhoneGap Build!

Building your app(s)

Building an app with PhoneGap build is pretty straight-forward.

Log in to PhoneGap Build using your login.

Click the + New App button.

new app button

Click the Upload a .zip file button and choose the zip file that you packaged.

upload zip button

Your work is done!

PhoneGap Build will start packaging and let you know when your apps are ready.

complete app inside phonegap build apps section

You can still make updates once the app has been packaged.

Additional Options

There are premium services that will turn your HTML5 into apps and offer all kinds of neat extras.

These services seem to come and go, but Paperlit is one of the better options at the time this article was last updated.

Amazon also has a super easy solution. Just upload your files and Amazon does all the app creation work. More info is available in this article.

Publishing the Live App

With the options discussed in the lesson today (other than Amazon), we've covered the steps to get your apps packaged.

There are a few extra steps to get your apps published in the app stores.

In most cases, you'll need a code-signing certificate that identifies you (or your company) as the publisher of the app.

To get the code-signing certificate, you'll need to sign up for a developer account with Apple and/or Google.

If you want help publishing your app in the App Stores (including getting certificates), check out the Submit Your Mobile App to App Stores video course.

Take Aways

  • There are ways to make mobile apps without learning to code.
  • PhoneGap Build lets you easily package all kinds of apps (iOS, Android, Windows).

There are some great ways to publish mobile apps without learning to code