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By Colleen Wheeler | Monday, July 11, 2011

Changes to the Digital Publishing Suite since the InDesign CS5.5 release

View this entire course and more in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.

Back in May of this year, Adobe released a CS5.5 version of InDesign that included some features (in the form of a plug-in) that were expressly designed to create content for Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. At the time, we released a course by James Fritz, InDesign CS5.5 New Features, which explored all the new features of Adobe’s layout program, including those DPS tools.

Then in June, the DPS group at Adobe went live with their product and made some changes to the way things worked. We decided to remove some videos and make some edits to James’s InDesign course so as not to give our members confusing or no-longer-accurate information. We also went to work developing a DPS-specific course that will be released soon.

Meanwhile, James has written up an informative account of the changes to DPS as well as the challenges of creating courses that rely on beta software in order to be ready to roll when products release. It reveals some of the ways that bringing our members the most timely content also means having to gracefully ride shifting seas of software development.

Here’s James Fritz’s story:

In Spring of 2010 Adobe and Wired released the first interactive magazine for the iPad. Shortly after this release, a beta program began at Adobe for publishers and designers to start testing and provide feedback on this new system. Over the course of the next year there was a lot of change, which is not uncommon for a beta product. Despite the changes, the workflow for publishing on the iPad remained fairly consistent.

In the beginning, a designer would design the magazine and begin to add some basic interactivity. Eventually, when it came time to add new functions like panoramas or scrolling frames, you would use an Adobe AIR application to embed these features. Over time this separate application was turned into the overlay creator panel and became a part of InDesign.

After adding all of the interactivity the next step was to create it into a format that would be readable on the iPad. This format was called a folio. In order to create a folio file, you needed to take all of your InDesign documents with interactivity and use another Adobe AIR app called the Content Bundler. This app would combine everything into a folio that could be viewed on the desktop or your iPad.

In order to view the folio file on an iPad, you had to go through a process called side-loading. This involved connecting your iPad to iTunes and selecting the folio that you wanted to copy over for testing. This technique is commonly used by other applications to manage files like PDFs or EPUBs.

During the pre-release, most of the testers assumed that this workflow would continue in the shipping product. In fact, we thought that a folio file would be similar to a PDF since it is just an interactive version of an InDesign document for a tablet.

However, once InDesign CS5.5 shipped we learned that the process had changed. The content bundler app was removed and replaced with a panel inside InDesign called the Folio Builder. While the concept behind the panel was the same as the content bundler, the execution was very different. Side-loading was no longer an option to transfer a folio. The new Folio Builder panel would automatically upload the entire folio to the Acrobat.com website and send it to various tablets for testing.

Using Acrobat.com did make it much easier to share your folio with other people since you didn’t have to psychically connect it to your computer. However, it was no longer possible to distribute the folio files by themselves.

When I recorded the videos for InDesign CS5.5 New Features, we had no idea that these changes were going to be taking place. In fact, we recorded videos about how to use the content bundler and folio files for each lesson. In the end, we believed it was better to pull some of the videos and the lesson files from the course to make the training content match the shipping workflow. However, many members have written in asking for the files, so we have restored the chapter 5 assets and created a FAQ explaining how you can use them with the shipping version of InDesign CS5.5. While the videos may not exactly match your screen, the directions provided will give you everything you need to follow along.

We hope you find this additional information useful and helpful to your efforts of learning how to publish from InDesign to the iPad. Meanwhile, you can see the Adobe DPS in its most up-to-date state in the upcoming course from lynda.com, to be published later this month.

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