15 July 2013
Experience developing iOS viewers with Digital Publishing Suite. Experience in development of viewer apps with a custom storefront and direct entitlement are preferable.
· Android devices
· Macintosh to run DPS App Builder
Original publication date: 05/30/2013
Modified: 07/15/2013 (Change log)
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This article explains how to make and deploy Android Apps, especially how it is different from creating and distributing iOS viewers, as well as the differences between Android and iOS viewer capabilities.
When you make an Android viewer app, it is important to understand which functionalities are unsupported on an Android viewer (as of R26, May 2013).
Table 1 shows what is supported and unavailable on Android apps:
|Single Folio app||Not Supported||iPad Only|
|Unlimited Single Edition folios with Creative Cloud membership||No Android apps can be created with CCM||Unlimited single-folio apps for iPad|
|In-App Subscription||Not supported for Google Play, but it is supported on Amazon Appstore for Android.||Supported|
|Interactive Overlays||Inline video, Panorama, and Webview are not supported.||Supported|
|Stop Video at Last Option||Not supported||Supported|
|Disable controls for inline videos||Not supported||Supported|
|Auto Archive||Not supported||Supported|
|Social Sharing||Not supported||Supported|
|Push Notification||Not supported||Supported|
|HTML5 Storage||Not supported||Supported|
Other functionalities are supported both on Android and iOS.
This section will take you through the DPS App Builder process.
Start DPS App Builder. Select "Android" in the first screen, then click Next (Figure 1).
Enter or select required information in each field, as you do for iOS apps (Figure 2).
App type field has Android-specific items as shown in figures 3 and 4. Note that DPS supports in-app subscriptions only for Amazon Appstore for Android as of this writing. In-app subscriptions for Google Play are not supported. DPS supports in-app billing in both Amazon Appstore for Android and Google Play.
Select "Multi Folio with Entitlement" for this example to see the difference between Android and iOS.
Here's where you select the app store in which your viewer will be made available. You can choose "Android Market" (which is Google Play), "Amazon Appstore for Android", and "None" (Figure 5).
Android Market is internationally available, whereas Amazon Appstore for Android is available in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and United Kingdom (as of October 2012). Select the one suitable for your targeted customers.
Note that as of R27 (July 2013), The folio size dimension limit has increased from 2048x2048 to 4095x4095 pixels. This allows you to create folios that target larger devices such as 10” HD Android tablets.
Strict renditions displays only 1024x600 folios for devices such as the Kindle Fire and 1280x800 folios for "xlarge" Android devices. (Note: as of Android 3.2, "xlarge" and related size labels are deprecated in favor of specifying available screen sizes.) This option is primarily useful for preventing unwanted folio renditions from appearing on Kindle Fire devices. If you have created Android renditions such as 1232x752 folios, do not turn on strict renditions when you create the viewer for the Android marketplace.
Here you will see something different from what you see when you build an iOS viewer app (Figure 6). When building for iOS, two URLs are used to connect to entitlement systems. When building for Android, an Integrator ID is used instead. This ID is obtained from Adobe Gold support. This process will take a week at most, so please make sure that you account for sufficient time before your Android Viewer app is released.
Prepare images for icons and splash screens for your app, which is the same procedure as for iOS viewer apps. Note that many of the icons and all the splash screens use different dimensions than iOS (Figure 7).
As of R27 (July 2013), splash screens you specify on Android devices are now scaled up or down proportionally to fill the target screen. For example, you can specify 2560x1600 and 1600x2560 splash screens, which are scaled down (and cropped if the aspect ratio is different) for smaller devices.
This is the same process as you do for iOS viewer apps. Select what you need for your toolbars. Create icons and upload resources for your custom storefront (Figure 8).
As of R27 (July 2013), note that icons and UI elements are now larger on XLarge Android devices such as 10” HD tablets, making it easier to tap buttons and navigate in viewers on HD devices. Also, custom navigation icons (Enterprise only) can now be 75x43, 98x52, or 214x114 pixels.
You need to set an app ID, a unique identifier for this app. A reverse domain name format is usually recommended (Figure 9).
Congratulations! \Now you have reached the final stage for building your app. Check to make sure the information you entered is correct, and then hit "Create App" to start building. When the process completes, you will see the new app that you have just built in the list of DPS App Builder (Figure 10).
Click the Android Installer (.apk) download in App Builder, sign your app, and it will be downloaded to your desktop ready for submission.
A detailed explanation for creating the necessary p12 certificates for Google Play and Amazon is available at Adobe DPS Help, under Publishing process | Android and Amazon mobile devices. Here you will find instructions to create a certificate file using Keytool for both MacOS and Windows users.
A couple of ways to install the downloaded .apk file onto an Android device are available, but perhaps the easiest way is to send it to the device via Gmail. Attach the .apk file to an email on your Gmail, then send it to yourself. Open the email application on the Android device to receive the .apk file. Tap the attached file to install it.
Please note that Amazon requires that you wrap the .apk file before you run it on Kindle Fire. If you sideload the .apk file to the Kindle Fire, the viewer app may crash when you launch it. (This crash occurs because the app is enabled for retail content, even if you intend for it to be free. The app crashes when it cannot find the sandbox.) When you create your .apk file and submit it to Amazon, you can ask them to wrap it and send it back to you for testing. However, it's easier to submit the .apk file to Amazon for approval, and then test the approved app before you announce it to the public. When submitting your app, consider adding a note asking Amazon to wrap the app if it's enabled for retail content.
As with becoming an Apple developer, in order to upload applications to Google Play, you must register as an Android developer. The current fee is $25USD and you are able to sign up via the Google Play Developer Console. Once you've signed up, log in and from here you are able to upload your application(s).
Choose your APK file from the dialog box (Figure 11):
Bob Bringhurst has created a thorough exploration of the alternatives for generating folios specific for Android devices, which can be found at Adobe InDesign Help, under Creating DPS Folios for Android Devices.
It is important to note that if you intend to provide renditions for iPad and iPhone and rely on the iPad rendition for Android, it is likely that the viewer on Android devices will download the folio with the aspect ratio most appropriate to the device. The iPhone version, being 3:2 and closest to the 16:10 or 16:9 of Android devices, is likely to be displayed on Android. Our recommendation is that if you do want to publish to iPhone, iPad, and Android, that you create a separate rendition specifically for Android.
Due to the current differences in support for Android and iOS, you may also consider using a separarate Application ID specific to Android rather than using a rendition.
The help document below also briefly covers the development process of Android viewers as well as Amazon Kindle viewers, which will be useful:
7/15: Updated article for new Android feature support in R26 (May 2013) and R27 (July 2013)
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