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HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 24, 2010, 12:20 PM
Sorry, if this has been asked before, I need a very quick- but definitive- answer. Here's what we're wanting to do...

We've got a couple of video files and a couple of PDFs that we are wanting to load on an iPad and open and display them in the iPad way.

We would really like to be able to customize each of the icons of these files with graphics we've designed.

Then, when we are in an upcoming session, we want to show our iPad with these icons on screen right from the start, not have to click through a few things to get to them. I'm assuming this part will be easy by already being in the folder when we turn on the iPad in the session. Is that right?

Can we customize the icons? If so, what is the easiest way to do that? If there are lots of steps, I'd much appreciate the step-by-step. Please include a link if we need a bit of specialized software.

I know we can go down the custom app path, but we don't really need an app (hopefully). We just want to be able to show the icon representation of each our files with icon graphics of our choosing, and have them on screen from "power on" as if they were apps right on the usual (first or home) screen.

Possible or impossible? Does 4.2 change your answer?

Thanks for any help. And again, if someone says yes, we really need to know for sure, not a "it's likely", which is where we are right now. On Macs, I know this is trivial stuff; but I'm not sure about iPads.



Intell
Sep 24, 2010, 12:30 PM
I think if you find the media in your iTunes library and show all it's info. You can go to the Artwork tab and add your own artwork.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 24, 2010, 12:44 PM
Can anybody confirm it would be that easy?

vastoholic
Sep 24, 2010, 02:36 PM
Can anybody confirm it would be that easy?

Yeah as far media is concerned, you can change the artwork just like ^he said.
I'm kind of confused by your question though. You won't be able to have movies or PDF's directly on your home screen anyway. You will always have to open another app to get to them. So yes, as long as you went into standby mode with that app open, you can come right back to it.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 24, 2010, 04:31 PM
vasthoholic, thanks for the confirm. As to the confusion, what we're wanting to do is not have to open an app and then open the video or PDFs. What we want to do is click the video or PDFs and have them open and play or display.

On a Mac, I'd just put them all in a folder. Imagine 4 video files and 4 PDFs in a folder. Then, I'd make the folder window full screen. When I wake the Mac from sleep, I'm immediately presented with the 4 video files and 4 PDFs. I could click on a video and Quicktime would open to play the video; I wouldn't have to open Quicktime first and then the video. I could click on a PDF and Preview would open and display the PDF; I wouldn't have to open Preview first and then open the PDF. Can I replicate this on an iPad? If not now, does the new iOS update's folders bring this possibility?

Night Spring
Sep 24, 2010, 04:58 PM
vasthoholic, thanks for the confirm. As to the confusion, what we're wanting to do is not have to open an app and then open the video or PDFs. What we want to do is click the video or PDFs and have them open and play or display.

On a Mac, I'd just put them all in a folder. Imagine 4 video files and 4 PDFs in a folder. Then, I'd make the folder window full screen. When I wake the Mac from sleep, I'm immediately presented with the 4 video files and 4 PDFs. I could click on a video and Quicktime would open to play the video; I wouldn't have to open Quicktime first and then the video. I could click on a PDF and Preview would open and display the PDF; I wouldn't have to open Preview first and then open the PDF. Can I replicate this on an iPad? If not now, does the new iOS update's folders bring this possibility?

No. iPad doesn't have folders like on a Mac. There is no way to get at files other than through an app. The "folders" coming in the iOS update are only to organize apps on the iPad's home screen. Personally, I've never had a problem with not being able to directly open a file in iOS -- it's a totally different work flow from a Mac, and you just get used to it.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 24, 2010, 05:32 PM
I understand, we just need that ability for a specific short-term purpose. It looks like we'll have to build an app or use some other pad-like device in the meantime. I was hoping the iPad could do it.

blackNBUK
Sep 24, 2010, 08:51 PM
I understand, we just need that ability for a specific short-term purpose. It looks like we'll have to build an app or use some other pad-like device in the meantime. I was hoping the iPad could do it.

There may be a way to do what you want through a home-screen bookmark. Safari let's you bookmark pages and let's you access them directly from the home-screens. iOS also lets Apps register for certain URL schemes (eg. ghttp:// will start up GoodReader's internal browser). So it might be possible to construct a URL that invokes a video from a bookmark on a home-screen.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 25, 2010, 10:21 AM
blackNBuk, could you elaborate? Step-by-step if possible. We really do need a way to accomplish our goal. It doesn't absolutely have to be that our files (with icons of our choosing) must be on the home screen; we just want them to be immediately available when we turn on the iPad for our demonstration. Does the iPad always have to start at the home screen, or can it pick up with where it was put to sleep?

Thanks for any more details.

Capt T
Sep 25, 2010, 03:33 PM
It picks up where it went to sleep.

Goodreader will play videos as well. You could set up your PDFs and videos in a folder within Goodreader. They show up as a list on the left but can have a preview on the right side of it. There may be other apps that will do the same thing.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 25, 2010, 04:10 PM
Thanks very much!

So, at this point, we've got the suggestion to use iTunes to set the icon graphics to our custom designs (presumably using .png, .gif, or .tif files)

And this goodreader app is apparently the best way to closely approximate what we want to do which is have our custom-iconed video and PDF files on screen as soon as we turn on/wake the iPad, as if they were app files on the home screen.

If anyone has any other suggestions, or if you know this won't work as summarized above, please post. Any alternative suggestions are also welcomed. We just need this for a specific type of demonstration coming up very soon, after which we'll address it in a better way, probably via a custom app.

ciaran00
Sep 25, 2010, 06:23 PM
Just have iBooks and Videos app on the first page of iPad home screen and move everything else to a different page.

Load your PDFs and movies with covers edited through the More Info window in iTunes.

That's it..

LinkMx
Sep 25, 2010, 08:08 PM
So, at this point, we've got the suggestion to use iTunes to set the icon graphics to our custom designs (presumably using .png, .gif, or .tif files)
This will work with videos, but not for PDF's.

And this goodreader app is apparently the best way to closely approximate what we want to do which is have our custom-iconed video and PDF files on screen as soon as we turn on/wake the iPad, as if they were app files on the home screen.
Goodreader will show you the files, but on a list and without a thumbnail, you can preview a file but it's just one at a time and there's no way to customize the icons for the file. You can see a video of goodreader here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD6DyQkLN2U

You can try this new app called Minimal Folio (http://www.simonheys.com/minimalfolio/) which does somewhat what you're trying to achieve, but again I don't think there's a way to customize the thumbnail.

blackNBUK
Sep 26, 2010, 03:49 PM
blackNBuk, could you elaborate? Step-by-step if possible. We really do need a way to accomplish our goal. It doesn't absolutely have to be that our files (with icons of our choosing) must be on the home screen; we just want them to be immediately available when we turn on the iPad for our demonstration. Does the iPad always have to start at the home screen, or can it pick up with where it was put to sleep?

Thanks for any more details.

Unfortunately I was rather thinking out loud and now that I look at the idea again there is a crucial step that I don't know how to do.

First a couple of explanations. Safari lets you bookmark web pages as icons on the iPad's home screens. Just touch the '+' icon and choose 'Add to Home Screen'. I've done this with the BBC iPlayer web-site and starting it up is just like starting up an App.

The iPad also lets Apps register to handle certain URLs. To take GoodReader as an example:-


Add some files into GoodReader.
Select the "Manage Files" section.
Select a file.
Choose the "Link" button. This places a URL of the form "gropen://..." into the clipboard.
Goto Safari.
Paste this URL into the address box and hit "Go".
GoodReader will start-up and the selected file will open/play.


If it was possible to combine these two ideas you could start files playing directly from the home screen. Unfortunately I can't see any easy way of doing this. Safari starts the associated App as soon as the URL is entered and doesn't give you any chance to add it to the Home Screen. Maybe the URL could be hacked in by editing the iPad config files (either through a Jailbreak or a backup) however that doesn't sound like an easy answer.

If you don't have to have icons on the home screens then an App based solution would probably make more sense. Minimal Folio does look pretty good except that PDF support is on the upcoming features list. GoodReader supports loads of file types but it's interface is much more functional than it is attractive. I would guess that there are other options in the App Store.

Alternatively if you're guaranteed to have loads of bandwidth then you could create you demo/presentation as a web page(s) and link to your video and PDF files.

Can you tell us some more about your situation? We might be able to give some better suggestions.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 26, 2010, 04:34 PM
blacknbuk, thank you for the informative added feedback. In answer to your last question. We have a demo coming up in less than 2 weeks. We have designed graphics that we would like to use as icons for a selection of PDF files and a selection of Video files. We're trying to find a way to set things up so that when we either power up or wake our iPad, these icons are on screen much like app icons on the home screen. Then, we want to click these icons when we want to show a given PDF or video during the presentation. Our icons don't have to be on the home screen, we just want them to be readily available on any screen as soon as we wake the iPad; if some app is "owning" the screen with our icons in it when we put it to sleep, we're wanting it to still be the running app when we wake it up. We're trying to find a way to not have to click through a couple of pages or apps to get back to our selection of icons, nor run our PDF and video files by having to click other applications to then play them.

We know that we can code an app, but we don't think we can code one and get it through Apple is less than 2 weeks. We've tried to do this as web applications, but the streaming load seems to lag too much, so we're really looking for a local (on the iPad) solution.

On a Mac, we would put our PDFs & videos in a new folder, use an icon editor to replace generic PDF and video icons with our own custom ones, make the folder window full size, then sleep the Mac. When we wake the Mac, that folder window would be on the screen, we would click our file icons to open the PDF or videos, and our demo would work exactly as we want it to work.

We're trying to get as close to this as possible within anything available for the iPad. We're happy to buy an app. We just need something that would simulate the above as close as possible. After the demo, we'll probably just code a custom app, but we don't have enough time to do that now.

Still in search of the perfect solution, we welcome anyone who knows a way. Thank you in advance for pointing us in the right direction.

LinkMx
Sep 26, 2010, 06:31 PM
We know that we can code an app, but we don't think we can code one and get it through Apple is less than 2 weeks.

You don't need to get approved by apple if you don't intend to sell the app, if you're just gonna use it for your own presentations, you can just install it on your iPad without send it to Apple.

blackNBUK
Sep 26, 2010, 07:57 PM
You don't need to get approved by apple if you don't intend to sell the app, if you're just gonna use it for your own presentations, you can just install it on your iPad without send it to Apple.

While this is true, just writing a video and PDF portfolio App in two weeks sounds like a pretty big ask to me. Especially if you don't have experience of building iOS Apps already.

A quick search for "portfolio" on the App store pulled up a number of possibilities including Minimal Folio that was mentioned earlier. However at a first look only one, Flexfolios, appeared to support including PDFs. Would converting your PDFs into series of static images be feasible? Because if you could do that it would open up your options.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 26, 2010, 08:31 PM
we could do that with the PDFs, what do you suggest?

LinkMx
Sep 26, 2010, 10:10 PM
While this is true, just writing a video and PDF portfolio App in two weeks sounds like a pretty big ask to me. Especially if you don't have experience of building iOS Apps already.


Actually, creating the app they want (just show a couple of PDF's and movies) would take only a couple of hours for someone with minimum experience on the SDK. They could contract a freelancer to do this, they don't have to do it themselves.

blackNBUK
Sep 27, 2010, 10:31 AM
we could do that with the PDFs, what do you suggest?

If you use a Mac this thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=312714) gives a few suggestions for ways of converting a PDF to a bunch of images. Printing the PDF to iPhoto might work well, given that this will make getting the images on to your iPad easier. I've don't use Windows enough to help on that side.

To get the images to look good on the iPad you may need to play around with the DPI setting that the PDF is exported at.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 27, 2010, 10:34 AM
Sorry, converting PDFs to images is no problem at all (yes, on a Mac). I was asking about what to do after that, as in, if we do convert them to images, which app let's us get as close as we can to what we want to do?

blackNBUK
Sep 27, 2010, 11:26 AM
Sorry, converting PDFs to images is no problem at all (yes, on a Mac). I was asking about what to do after that, as in, if we do convert them to images, which app let's us get as close as we can to what we want to do?

Unfortunately I can't help you there as I don't have any personal experience with these portfolio Apps. I think you're going to have to hit the App Store, pick one or two that you like the look of, install them and experiment. Maybe you could start off with Minimal Folio given that it is cheap and supports both images and videos.