We’re almost finished with the huge task we undertook earlier this year of incorporating HTML5 into the Digipage system. This has been a much larger job than just adding a bit of HTML5 code and pushing it out alongside our current offering; we saw it as an opportunity to reinvent Digipage for the next generation of tablet/touch-screen devices.
Our focus was on creating a solution that seamlessly integrated within the existing Digipage offering; a solution that wouldn’t require additional work in the control panel, wouldn’t require mobile and tablet users to install individual apps or special pieces of software and, most importantly, would enable desktop, mobile phone and tablet users alike to view Digipage documents in Flash and HTML5 all from a single link.
We’re pleased to announce that this vision is now coming true and, thanks to our new cloud-based hosting, it’ll even work faster than it ever has before.
Clearly, this whole process requires that we make some significant changes behind the scenes. In order to make sure these changes happen as smoothly as possible, we’re going to stage the launch of our new integrated Flash-and-HTML5 solution into a number of smaller steps. Whilst we are making every effort to ensure there are no issues during the upgrade, at every step you’ll still be able to access our old system should anything not work as expected.
Changes to the linking system
We’ve mentioned previously that we’ll be changing the linking system. As of this moment, the old linking system will still be the default option when you upload a document, however in order to use either our cloud-based hosting or the HTML5 version, you’ll need to use the new linking system. To recap, our current system works something like this (note these are not functioning links):
You’ve previously been able to link to a Digipage document by userpath:
or by link ID:
The new linking system looks more like this:
This change was required in order to support our plans for cloud-based hosting, however we also believe it helps simplify our links, especially when using link IDs.
Enabling these new features
We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible to switch the new features on. To this end, we’ve added a single new drop-down menu in the eBook Editor (within the Digipage control panel) titled ‘Delivery Method’. From here, you simply select the delivery method you require, click the ‘apply’ button and then click ‘preview’ to view your document.
The available delivery methods are as follows:
normal – This uses the current, original linking method and disables HTML5. Essentially, this option ensures you can carry on using Digipage with no changes whatsoever.
html5 – This option uses the new linking method detailed above and forces Digipage to always deliver the document in HTML5, even if the user’s computer supports Flash.
flash – This option uses the new linking method and forces Digipage to always attempt to deliver the Flash version, regardless of whether the user’s computer has Flash or not.
auto – This option uses the new linking method and detects if the user’s computer supports Flash. Desktop PCs and Apple Macs with Flash installed will see the Flash version of Digipage. All other versions will be given the HTML5 version.
In almost all cases, the option you’ll most want to use is auto. Eventually, this will be set as the default for any new documents and the normal option will become a legacy delivery method primarily used for supporting older documents and links that are still live. During testing before publishing a document, you might want to select the html5 option in order to check how it’ll look in HTML5 while using a desktop PC/Mac that would otherwise support Flash.
The next step in our plan is to enable cloud-based hosting for Digipage documents. We’re already testing this new feature, so if you’d like to be included in early testing, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cloud-based hosting has a number of distinct advantages over our current server system. Most importantly, it means we are tapping into a vast array of servers located across the globe, ensuring that your Digipage content is delivered to users via servers which are closest to them – leading to faster response and download times. Furthermore, our Digipage content is cached on these servers, giving us greater resilience in the event of a fault in our primary server centre.
Currently, the primary focus of our testing has been on the view.digipage.net domain. While we are supporting the use of this new system for customers who use their own custom subdomains, please be aware that in some cases, it may be necessary to make some setup changes before the subdomains will work on the new links. Therefore, if you find that your subdomain is not functioning properly, please inform us and we’ll look into it as quickly as possible.
Please also note that current subdomains will not be able to make use of the new cloud system. It will be necessary for subdomain customers to make some changes to their subdomains in order to support the cloud. More details will be available regarding this once we have the cloud system fully operational.
Our HTML5 system is still in its infancy and naturally, there are a number of features we plan to add as time goes by. This early version was developed primarily with tablet users in mind, so therefore a considerable amount of our effort from here on will focus on ensuring the best viewing experience to mobile users – whether they are using an iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, Windows 8 tablet, or the vast myriad of Android tablet and mobile phone devices that are on the market.
Further to that, we’ll also be making efforts to ensure as much of the Flash Digipage product is available to HTML5 viewers. Currently, only standard links drawn in the page editor will appear on HTML5 documents. We’re expecting to have rollover links and video added very soon and then we’ll focus on adding more and more HTML5-specific features.
To our Digipage customers: We thank you for your continued support of Digipage, and your patience while these new features have been developed. We’ve had to make a lot of changes behind the scenes to get this new system up-and-running, so we’re pleased to be able to finally share these developments with you.