Create as many apps as you want – for free, from your Desktop?

As you might have seen, Quark has introduced QuarkXPress 2017 with the ability to create and export “unlimited”* iOS Single Apps directly out of QuarkXPress.

The advantages of this are:

  •  No need to create a log-in or use a system or portal
  • You create the apps directly from your Desktop out of QuarkXPress
  • You can create the design within your app with the same tool – QuarkXPress – that  you use for print
  • You can even convert Print layouts to digital and show them in your app
  • You can add stunning interactivity
  • All content is 100% HTML5
  • You get the apps delivered to your Desktop as a single delivery, your content is “backed in”
  • You can transfer your app to your test iPad or iPhone
  • You can hand in your app to Apple and – once approved – have it being delivered to your customers via the Apple’s App Store

All you need is QuarkXPress 2017 and an Apple Developer Account. Don’t worry, you won’t have to develop anything, it is Apple’s prerequisite to submit apps to the App Store.

So yes, you can create single apps for iOS directly from your Desktop.

How does it work?

A detailed documentation and video tutorials will be available once QuarkXPress 2017 has been released (in second quarter of 2017).

Here are the steps in a nutshell:

1) Prerequisites

  1. Get a developer account with Apple, which is $99 per year.
  2. Go to Apple’s developer portal and create 4 things, a development & distribution certificate and a development & distribution provisioning profile.
    (On Mac oyu can do that using Keychain, on Windows you will need to install the free OpenSSL)
  3. Go to iTunes Connect, basically the marketing portal for submitting apps to the App Store, and create marketing descriptions etc.
  4. Create an app icon and splash screens for your app

2) Create your app

  1. Create a digital layout in QuarkXPress 2017 (or convert an existing Print layout to a digital one). Optionally add a second layout for the other (vertical/horizontal) orientation.
  2. If you want, add interactivity like animations, audio, video, slideshows (using the HTML5 palette)
  3. Choose File > Export As > iOS App
  4. In the dialog appearing, add the two certificates and the two provisioning profiles. Add all meta data needed, like the app ID provided by Apple in iTunes Connect, the icon and the splash screens you created.
  5. Export your app ( so you need an internet connection then, however no log-in into any system).

3) Test and submit your app

  1. Either wait until the progress bar finishes or let it run in the background. After a while QuarkXPress 2017 will save two apps to your Desktop (or the folder that you specified), a test app and a production app.
  2. On Mac, transfer your test app to your iPad/iPhone, e.g. using iTunes or – my recommendation – “Apple Configurator 2“. On Windows use iTunes please.
  3. Test thoroughly.
  4. If fine, submit your production app to Apple. On Mac, you do that using Application Loader by Apple.
    From Windows you cannot do that, as Apple requires you to use Application Loader, which is only available on MacOS. So you either need to find somebody with a Mac to do that for you or rent a Mac. Here’s an example of a services in the cloud that allow you to rent a Mac for an hour: http://www.macincloud.com/
  5. Wait until Apple approves your app.

Done. And now create the next one.

A video of this can be seen here:

 

 


*Quark’s EULA specifies what “unlimited” means. Basically it is a “fair use” policy, so you can create as many apps as you need for your own use or to create for your customers. Quark e.g. doesn’t allow you to build a system around it, so a service that you pass on to other customers. Also the use is possible as long as QuarkXPress 2017 is the most recent version or the version before the most recent version of QuarkXPress. Afterwards you need to upgrade to a newer version to be able to use app export. All other functionality of QuarkXPress 2017 of course doesn’t have any timed restriction. You need an Apple Developer Account, which costs you an additional fee. And to submit an app to Apple, Apple requires you to use a Mac.

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.

Web App vs. Native App? Or Web App AND Native App?

The last month’s blog posts and twitter tweets are popping up about the advantages or downsides of Web Apps or native apps. Just saw a new one again today.

People are taking one side and are passionate about why one technology is great and the other just rubbish. It’s interesting to see and assume the motivation behind it, as it seems that most people just argue towards the specific technology what they use (as a content provider) or offer (as a technology provider).

And here’s a good chart that shows when to use what:  http://ow.ly/nSXed

 

I am not going to take sides, I rather ask: Does it really matter?

Regardless of whether your content is in Web Apps (which are basically HTML5 pages that appear like an app without being one) or in native apps (that you get from the App Stores), there should be one common theme:

Your content should tell a story. It should excite. It should engage with your reader.

 

The majority of your readers do not care what technology you use to deliver content as long as there are no obvious flaws (crashes, performance or quality problems). They want content to adopts best to the device and platform they use and give them the best user experience.

 

Even better (and maybe surprisingly) the two technologies, web apps and native apps, seem to become more and more similar.

Two recent examples:

  • Up until last week it was not possible to distribute web apps via an app store. That’s not true anymore since Amazon opened their app store for web apps: http://ow.ly/nWZX2
  • Today web pages cannot (and therefore neither can web apps) trigger notifications. Well, it seems that Apple will enable iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks to do exactly that: http://ow.ly/nX08K

 

So, if there is no objective criteria or differentiators as to which technology is best for your readers, why not offer both:

  • Native apps for those who like to browse Apple’s or Google’s app stores and prefer native apps.
  • And web apps for those who use a Desktop browser with Linux, OS X or Windows or prefer web apps on mobile.

It also broadens your audience. Have a look at what Vacature, a Belgian publication, is doing. They use App Studio to offer both, native app and web app:

Which one do you prefer? And why?

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.

Which fonts are pre-installed on the iPad (and iPhone)?

When creating digital media based on web technology, e.g. HTML5 websites, web apps or ePub3, and which do not have any webfonts embedded or linked, then you rely on the fonts that are pre-installed on devices.

Apple’s iPad (and iPhone) actually have quite an impressive list of fonts pre-installed, for example

  • Arial
  • Avenir (in many faces)
  • Baskerville
  • Futura
  • Gill Sans
  • Helvetica
  • Palatino
  • Snell Roundhand
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet
  • Verdana
  • Zapfino
  • and others

The website iosfonts.com lists all of them and also shows you which version of iOS added them on the iPhone and which on the iPad.

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.