Los Angeles InDesign User Group

InDesign Digital Publishing MVP Tactics

Thursday, March 16, 2017

El Camp, 2150 Park Pl., El Segundo, CA 90245

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By Alvin Takamori


On March 16, the Los Angeles InDesign User Group met at E! Camp in the South Bay. Parking at the neighboring Bay Club was free, but you had to park, walk over to E! Camp to obtain a parking permit, then walk back to your vehicle to leave the permit on the dashboard, before returning to E! Camp. on the positive side the facility very nice. The area where the meeting took place was like a large living room with sofas and end tables. E! Camp is an indoor space with a summer camp theme, designed to serve as a creative space for companies to brainstorm, collaborate and build relationships.


To break the ice, Alan Bell, the Manager of LAIDUG, had everyone in the audience introduce themselves, with a prompt to mention their pet preferences. In the midst of a deeply divided society, we saw that a shared interest in InDesign, can in fact, bring dog people and cat people together.


The guest presenter for the evening was Justin Putney, a designer, animator, developer, speaker, author, Adobe Community Professional, entrepreneur, and minimalist runner. I'm not sure what a minimalist runner is, but let's face it, Justin does everything. Thanks to his ability to do both, his focus is to connect designers and developers through software and training. His company Ajar Productions builds tools to automate repetitive tasks, and he created In5, which converts InDesign layouts into interactive HTML 5.


Justin began his presentation with a comparison of the pros and cons of digital publishing versus traditional print publishing. Without detailing every point he made, some of the positives for digital publishing is its potential to reach a bigger and more targeted audience. In its structure, digital is more dynamic with the possibility of variable and interactive features, and content that can be quickly updated. On the negative side is the learning curve that both creators and users of digital publications face. Also, there are significantly higher costs involved.


Next, Justin listed the following points as "Lean Development Principles" for creating a digitally published product:

1. Eliminate Waste

2. Amplify Learning

3. Decide as Late as Possible

4. Deliver as Fast as Possible

5. Empower the Team

6. Build Integrity into the Product (features that allow it to grow)

7. See the Whole (complete the product and add details later)


To explain the principles further, our presenter made the following points. Digital products have the potential to keep costs and energy investments low. Solutions can be achieved without a lot of time and money. They also have the ability to pivot or change easily. With digital products you can leverage open source and make it expandable. Try to optimize the product at the end.


One of the major advantages of digital publications is that they are built on HTML. It's an open source that can be modified in a text editor. It's an established format that isn't going away anytime soon. It's also extensible, which means it has a large ecosystem built around it. For instance, JavaScript and JQuery can add features to the HTML structure. At the same time, it's also a structure that can stand alone without depending on outside products.


As mentioned earlier, In5 uses InDesign interactive features and converts them to HTML files. The files are editable; there is output flexibility, and they are mobile app ready. The files can beexported directly as web apps, and it's not expensive.


At this point we took a break. If you were hungry, you could've been healthy and had a salad or you could've been like me and had a piece of pie. You could've also had both. But most importantly, you could've taken the break time to buy raffle tickets.


When the presentation continued, Justin demonstrated some of the features that can be created for digital publications. He created a table of contents, placed a movie, and created a multi-state object. A multi-state object is an object that changes how it looks depending on how the viewer interacts with it. A button is a typical multi-state object.


Another feature of digital publications is that you have a choice of how to transition between pages. For instance, you can fade, flip, scroll, etc. from page to page. You can also jump between pages with links. Links can also take you to other websites and you can add social media sharing buttons.


To make an app from In5 HTML, Justin recommended Baker Framework. Baker takes the HTML pages and packages them into a zipped file. It gives you a choice of output as either a standalone app, or a "Newsstand," which is a server-based app. Baker generates the Xcode and compiles it. Then it can be dropped into a folder and used to make a digital product, for example a book.


Next, Justin used Adobe PhoneGap to make apps designed to output to mobile devices. The developer tools are on the website. It can make Android or iOS apps.


Once you have converted your digital product into an app, you go through a submission process for the app store. You sign up, obtain certificates, etc.


Besides the app store you can submit your app to the Apple Store or create a web app. For a web app, you need meta tags, a URL, and an icon that displays on a screen to represent the app. Cache and put the assets in a folder and test it. To display on different devices you might want to create a landscape format and a portrait format for the app. Finally, find a hosting site for the web app.


Our thanks to Justin Putney for taking the time to share a little of his vast knowledge.



Farthest Attendee Prize Winner


Mighty Deals—Jerry Bernard



Raffle Prize Winners


KC 32" LED TV, model KC32V1. Value $228.86—George Wilde

eDocker CREATE! 6 month subscription. Value $774.00—R. Gary Slacum

Professional's Guide to Adobe InDesign Video Series from Jonathan Levit. Value $499.00—Douglas Magill

Stock Layouts. Full access to Stock Layout template library. 3 month subscription. Value $299.00—Norine Lukaczyk

in5 from Ajar Productions. Value $219.00—Alvin Takamori

Markzware. FlightCheck. 12 month subscription. Value $199.00—Sundee Koffarnus

Expo Creative Asset Manager for Mac from Insider Software. Value $149.00—R. Gary Slacum

Font Agent Pro 7 from Insider Software. Value $99.95—Robin Schiff

InMotion Hosting. Web hosting and free domain. Value $90.00—George Wilde

DTP Tools Cloud for InDesign. 6 month subscription. $77.40—George Wilde

TypeDNA. Font management software. Value $49.00—Angela De Leon

Adobe Stock. 15 image licenses. $44.00—R. Gary Slacum

InDesign Magazine. 6 month subscription. Value $30.00—Pending

Pluralsight. 1 month subscription. Value $29.00—Jerry Bernard, Wayne DeSelle

LA Web Professionals Group meeting tickets. Value $7.99—Rebecca Hillquist, Douglas Magill, Pamela Markanian, Connie Schurr




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