A New Leaf (Part 1)

12/28/2012 8:58:23 AM

iBooks author was the digital textbook creator app that was going to change the face of educational publishing. Except educational publishing wasn’t sure it wanted its face changed, and in any case the app, though cleverly simple, wasn’t quite up to the job. Now Apple has released version 2, along with a smaller iPad that looks ideal for schools. So is world domination back on? And what kinds of books can you make with this second-generation tool? the original iBooks Author, launched on the Mac App Store in January 2012, was an imagination-capturing release for both professionals and enthusiasts, providing a fairly comprehensive yet easily grasped set of layout tools for creating and pub­lishing interactive titles for iBooks on the iPad. Offering a more visual, designable and interactive format than conventional ebooks with a creation process an order of magnitude simpler than digital maga­zine publishing solutions, this came at the compelling price of free, with the proviso that your iBooks Author output could only be sold through the iBookstore (although it could be given away elsewhere) - hardly a worrying limitation when the iPad was the only tablet in town.

iBooks Author, launched on the Mac App Store

iBooks Author, launched on the Mac App Store

iBooks Author’s first incarnation was strong: stable, fast and capable of profes­sional-looking output, it offered anyone access to a platform with over 100 million users. But we highlighted a number of lim­itations when we tested it, including the inability to embed typefaces rather than just relying on the few included with iOS. Given that whatever else we say when we mean ‘book’, we always mean a collection of text, the inability to set type however you wanted was a pretty serious limitation.

Commercial and amateur users alike quickly generated wish lists for the next version, and while Apple had its fans’ atten­tion for the announcement of the iPad mini in September, it let slip iBooks Author 2.

So has illustrated book creation for the iPad finally come of age?

One of the bigger changes is to the way iBooks Author deals with portrait orienta­tion. Publishers who wanted to use totally bespoke layouts had no problem with ver­sion 1’s landscape layouts: while templates were offered, you could opt to start every page completely blank and add your own elements, much as you would with InDesign or QuarkXPress. But pages for readers who preferred portrait orientation forced you into a much more straightforward, fixed design. Elements could be shuffled around a bit, but there was no way to create a com­pletely bespoke portrait page.

iBooks Author 2 allows more flexibility, and the template chooser now includes six portrait-only options. Books with a mix of portrait and landscape orientation remain a little stymied, though. The landscape version of your book can be put together from completely blank pages, but you’re still forced into a preset layout in portrait mode - you just have a better choice of presets. The only way to have a completely bespoke portrait layout is if you create a portrait-only book.

The debate about whether consumers really expect every bit of content on their iPad to work in both orientations will con­tinue to rage, but it would have been useful for Apple to allow a little more flexibility for ambitious designers.

iBooks Author 2 on Mini iPad

iBooks Author 2 on Mini iPad

Interactivity has had a welcome boost, and one of iBooks Author’s more annoy­ing omissions - the inability to make text boxes with scroll bars for overflowing copy - has been rectified. You can now create text boxes which, once full, simply add a scroll bar that the reader can use to move through the content: useful for chapters that have too much text for a single page but not enough to justify the creation of another spread. Designers adapting text- heavy print books will also appreciate this, as it allows you to place large images on a page as well as a lengthy text box.

iBooks Author 2 also goes someway to alleviating the pain of not being able to set conditions such as OnClick: now, if you create an image thumbnail, the interactivity panel of the Inspector allows you to set a checkbox that sends the image full-screen. It has potential for the creation of pages with multi-image galleries - on the proviso that you don’t mind full-screen images having the same masking and aspect ratio as their thumbnails. As with many of iBooks Author’s undeniably clever features, the limitations become clear once you start attempting customisations, and the feeling is all too familiar to users of version 1.

There’s the further addition of a pop­over widget, which creates a small image box that when tapped produces a larger text box over the top. The pop-up box can contain text, images or shapes, and again is a useful way of fitting more content on a single page.

Again, it’s imperfect. Pop-over boxes are limited to 740 pixels wide, so you can’t use them as a way to create a full-screen pop-up of an image thumbnail, say. You’ll also find, if you’re using a pop-over to house a large image, that if your image comes anywhere near the sides of the pop­over box, iBooks Author adds a scroll bar, even if the image doesn’t run outside the box’s boundaries.

Finally, there’s no way to highlight a selection of text and have that produce a pop-over box when tapped - although you can create a pop-over box thumbnail place­holder, drag it over your text and change its opacity to 0% to create that effect.

Now, any OpenType or TrueType font can be used in iBooks Author

Now, any OpenType or TrueType font can be used in iBooks Author

Font handling has been completely overhauled. Previously, although you could open the OS X font picker and apply any font on your Mac to a text selection, that font wouldn’t appear in the deployed iBook, as iBooks Author’s documentation warned you. The only fonts you could use successfully in an iBook were the ones sup­ported by the iPad natively. Not only is this a rather small selection, but an even smaller subset of the available faces are well suited to body text setting. Picking from two or three credible options might be acceptable, though not ideal, for staid textbooks and novels, but iBooks with an emphasis on design tended to look rather homogene­ous, and designers were again left feeling they were tweaking ready-mades rather than creating publications their way.

Now, any OpenType or TrueType font can be used in iBooks Author. The font data will be protected to prevent unlicensed re-use and embedded in the final product. This new feature has the potential to open a can of worms all over the non-professional publisher, who may not previously have braved the learning curve of font licensing: while using a font in a print publication is simply what fonts are sold for, distributing it in an electronic product can open the door to whole new worlds of terms and conditions pain.

Fortunately, this type of protected embedding has been the norm for years now in PDFs and PDF-based digital pub­lishing, and many if not most modern type licences explicitly permit it, without the metrics-based fees imposed on web fonts.

Although the typographic controls available aren’t as detailed as those in tra­ditional page layout apps, font embedding finally makes iBooks Author a usable publi­cation design tool, and allows creative pros and, just as importantly, experimenting learners to create truly individual books.

There are other changes throughout. For example, embedded audio files now get not only a play button but also a timeline scrub­ber to allow users fine playback control.


Video tutorials
- How To Install Windows 8 On VMware Workstation 9

- How To Install Windows 8

- How To Install Windows Server 2012

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Change Account Picture In Windows 8

- How To Unlock Administrator Account in Windows 8

- How To Restart, Log Off And Shutdown Windows 8

- How To Login To Skype Using A Microsoft Account

- How To Enable Aero Glass Effect In Windows 8

- How To Disable Windows Update in Windows 8

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Add Widgets To Windows 8 Lock Screen
programming4us programming4us
Top 10
Free Mobile And Desktop Apps For Accessing Restricted Websites
TOYOTA CAMRY 2; 2.5 : Camry now more comely
KIA SORENTO 2.2CRDi : Fuel-sipping slugger
How To Setup, Password Protect & Encrypt Wireless Internet Connection
Emulate And Run iPad Apps On Windows, Mac OS X & Linux With iPadian
Backup & Restore Game Progress From Any Game With SaveGameProgress
Generate A Facebook Timeline Cover Using A Free App
New App for Women ‘Remix’ Offers Fashion Advice & Style Tips
SG50 Ferrari F12berlinetta : Prancing Horse for Lion City's 50th
Popular Tags
Video Tutorail Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Exchange Server Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 Adobe Flash Professional Dreamweaver Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop CorelDRAW X5 CorelDraw 10 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8 Iphone