App Studio, version 2: Quark Adjusts for the Real World Market

In the year since Quark released App Studio, many publishers have used it to produce interactive magazines and books. Based on their feedback, Quark has now adjusted the way App Studio works, making it simpler to use and less expensive, and at the same time added more robust features.

As Quark’s press release below states: “App Studio is now the only digital publishing solution that allows users to create customized apps with HTML5, QuarkXPress®, InDesign, and XML.” Not only that, but they have expanded its ability to create apps beyond the iPad to the iPhone, Kindle Fire, Android Phone and Android Tablet. Here’s a chart that illustrates its capabilities:

Improvements:

Responding to the challenges of users maintaining an app-generating program on their local computer, and the difficulty of distributing in-progress apps to workgroup members, the new App Studio is hosted online and delivers completed apps to workgroup members as they need them. The App Studio is where you assemble your articles into issues and manage publications.

Because App Studio is used via a Web browser, previewing interactivity in articles is much easier than before: just open an article in a Webkit-based Web browser such as Safari or Google Chrome.

Workgroup members can preview an issue on their iPad at any time by simply opening it into the Issue Previewer app.

Rather than requiring QuarkXPress, App Studio now also accepts files from InDesign, as well as from any tool that generates HTML5 or XML, such as Hype or Motion Composer.

Because App Studio’s output is mostly HTML5, its file size is smaller — up to 75% smaller than files from competing systems. Also thanks to HTML5, all the text is searchable — in just the current issue or in ANY issue of a publication.

Rather than forcing you to design a new layout for every viewing device, App Studio can resize your designs to adapt to the slightly different dimensions of each device, then export an app for that device.

The new version also retains the ability to share and update content across orientations for you (i.e. vertical vs horizontal), as well as its multi-layout family structure, where adding, removing or rearranging pages in vertical format also changes horizontal format (or vice-versa).

The new HTML5 “behavior tagging” palette replaces the previous palette in QuarkXPress (a similar plug-in is available for InDesign CS5 and CS6 a well), providing “enrichments” for page items such as these:

Each slide in a slideshow can now be cropped and scaled using the standard tools in QuarkXPress, rather than in a disconnected dialog in the App Studio palette as before.

Other improvements include controlling the start position and stop position for animated pan & zoom, as well as its duration. The user can also zoom in and pan around photos if you let them. To create a button, you now just drag out an area on the page, then assign actions. Buttons can now control slideshows and show/hide items. You can use this to display an entirely different layout when a user clicks the button.

Scroll Zones have been enhanced: just drag out a box to define a scroll zone, then select Scroll Zone on HTML5 palette. It can then link to an existing QuarkXPress layout, or generate a new one. The Scroll Zone then creates a new Composition Zone that’s linked to the other Layout. Scroll Zones are fully HTML5, so they can have videos or anything else inside the scoll zone.

Synchronizing content has been simplified — just right-click an item to “share” it with other layouts.

Quark has added a fail-safe feature for choosing fonts: App Studio highlights the fonts that are native to the iPad —you can use others, but App Studio will export the text as a picture (which also loses searchability).

Pricing:

Pricing has also been reduced and restructured to reflect the current requirements of publishers, ranging from $199.95 for one publication on one device, to $495.95/month for one publication with unlimited issues, on any supported device, allowing integration to a subscriber database. Anyone can create a trial publication for free (which expires after 30 days), but to generate a permanent app requires purchase of App Studio.

To put this in comparison with Adobe’s DPS, producing a single edition with App Studio costs half as much as with DPS; producing a monthly magazine with App Studio costs 80% less than DPS; App Studio allows a larger number of downloads before requiring purchase of additional download licenses, and those download licenses cost 40% less than DPS charges.

See Quark’s chart below for further pricing details:

The new version of App Studio will be available in the next 30 days. Meanwhile, don’t miss Jackie Dove‘s meaningful story about App Studio at TechHive.

Quark’s press release below provides additional details:

————————

New App Studio Enables Digital Publishing with HTML5 via the Cloud

Create and Collaborate Online to Produce Fully Interactive Apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, and Kindle Fire with QuarkXPress, InDesign, and XML

DENVER, CO – October 9, 2012 – Quark announced today the new App StudioTM, the next generation digital publishing solution that pushes the bounds of user experience without the high cost and effort associated with custom app development. By combining the market-leading HTML5 technology from the recent acquisition of PressRun with Quark’s existing digital publishing technology, App Studio is now the only digital publishing solution that allows users to create customized apps with HTML5, QuarkXPress®, InDesign, and XML. Through a managed cloud environment, designers, authors, and extended teams are able to collaborate to create rich, interactive content that can be delivered across multiple platforms and devices.

With HTML5 at its foundation, apps created with App Studio:

Go beyond static, boring PDFs

  • Feature searchable, fully selectable text
  • Promote sharing, tagging, bookmarking, and other social media interactions
  • Deliver small file sizes for quick download (titles created with App Studio are typically one quarter the size of apps created with alternative solutions)
  • Reach iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle Fire now
  • Deploy quickly to new devices as they are released
  • Utilize QuarkXPress or InDesign for content creation and larger organizations can combine rich design with XML automation
  • Keep content in an open standard that does not lock customers into proprietary formats

“Not surprisingly, smartphone and tablet users favor rich, engaging app experiences,” said Shaun Barriball, Vice President of Mobile Products for Quark. “Our aim is to remove the complexity around creating and delivering the best app experiences. With HTML5 at the heart of the new App Studio, content creators can start with their favorite design tools to deliver highly visual, interactive apps across devices – all from within a cloud environment.”

App Studio is the next generation HTML5 solution for app creation that helps designers produce engaging smartphone and tablet experiences. In contrast to competing first generation solutions, App Studio combines the advantages of HTML5 with native tablet and smartphone app functionality. This hybrid approach allows apps created with App Studio to be highly interactive, output in smaller files sizes, and deployed to emerging devices quickly. The advanced functionality of App Studio has been trail-blazed by award-winning apps such as Metro, BBC Good Food, My Ford, the British Medical Journal, and Stuff and Top Gear magazines.

App Studio will be available in the next 30 days. For more information and to sign-up and get notified as soon as the new App Studio is available, please visit www.AppStudio.net. The new App Studio is compatible with InDesign CS5 or higher as well as the soon to be released QuarkXPress 9.5.

Existing Customers

The transition to App Studio will be seamless for current PressRun customers. PressRun is being retired as a brand, and current PressRun users will be transitioned to the new App Studio automatically. For more information see www.pressrun.com. Current App Studio customers using the AVE file format will have the choice to continue with the previous App Studio technology, powered by Aquafadas and now renamed Quark AVE or migrate to the new, HTML5, cloud-based platform.

Pricing

With multi-issue apps starting at $99.95 a month, the new App Studio is not only the most advanced, but also one of the most affordable digital publishing solutions for creative professionals. Up to 80 percent less expensive than the alternatives, App Studio pricing is tiered to offer solutions for the small or individual designer through to large, enterprise teams with complex digital publishing requirements.

About Quark

Quark’s software enables organizations of all sizes to meet customer demand for engaging, relevant communications when, where, and how they want them. Our solutions combine the power of XML with flexible layout and design to automate the delivery of customer communications to print, Web, and interactive experiences on the latest digital devices. Financial services firms, manufacturers, and governments around the world rely on Quark solutions to elevate customer communications to new levels, reduce time to market, and lower costs.