iBook Author blurring the lines of App development... so to which to choose?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by Borjan, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Borjan macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2004
    Hi there.

    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, but thought I would get more of an expert opinion here.

    I was recently thinking of an iOS App idea. Obviously without giving away any ideas, think of it as a comedic/satirical guide type thing. Basic idea would be users pick categories, which open up individual ideas that will have some humorous pictures and text, possibly a video or two. So all in all a very basic app. I wouldn't be looking to draw information from online or anything.

    BUT THEN. iBook Author. This appears to do everything I want to do, plus would be relatively easy to do. Am I wrong in thinking that the new types of textbooks that Apple are touting are more App than eBook?

    Of course, there is the whole issue of iBooks being way less popular than Apps (for now) and what that would mean in terms of potential sales...

    As a disclaimer, I have the most minimal experience perl coding for one semester, so I know I'm not exactly an expert at this. But I've researched my idea in terms of trying to find if its been done before and after an hour of searching I'm not finding anything. I can definitely see it 'working'. And no, I'm not looking for mega riches, it would just be a fun side project.

    So yes, could someone more knowledgable than me explain the pro's and con's of developing my idea from an iBook vs App standpoint, bearing in mind the simplicity of what I'm looking to do, that would be great.
  2. forum user macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2008
    Well, an iBook is all about content. Text, pictures, maybe movies are arranged into an interesting package. You want to present the content in the best possible way. Think along the lines of an author writing a document and how they don't care about bits and bytes or if-then-elses. An author would care about font faces, kerning, dpi and stuff.

    Programming is about solutions. A possible solution can be to present content. And, yes, you can write an app to present your content. Although you would want to consider what is the best tool for the job at your hand.

    That might be true "on average". You don't care about average. You want your book to be read.
    There is a large quantity of apps in script-kiddy-style that lower the average quality. And the same is true for books. Same as there are too many flashlight and fart apps, there are way to many books about Sun Tzu Art-of-War-in-who-cares-what (for example).

    In other words: If your content does interest the people it might even sell... ;)

    Just my 2c

    - Olaf
  3. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    How long do you want development and production to take? Not as an ideal value, but as an upper limit. If you don't care how long, then learning how to develop apps is just a question of time and practice.

    If you care about the content, and you care about how long it takes, then learning how to develop apps seems like the less expedient approach.

    Ultimately, it's something you need to try and find out for yourself. Try iBook Author. See what it can do. Not just in demos, but in actually producing what you want to produce.

    If you're happy with it, stick with it for a while. If you quickly hit its limits, then look into learning app development. If that turns out to be too complex, then maybe you should rescale your expectations for the content so it fits within available tools and skills. There's nothing wrong with that. It happens to app developers every day.

    I haven't looked at iBook Author, but I think it's unlikely that highly interactive and detailed behaviors are completely free of all programming. I doubt there's going to be a "connect the boxes" level of development (as in Automator) that semi-magically results in a highly detailed physics simulation. So at some level of complexity, it's likely that a programmer would be needed, and that's probably someone familiar with JavaScript and CSS. You might trade for those skills, find a volunteer, learn them yourself, or pay a contractor. Cross that bridge when you come to it, if ever.
  4. newtoiphonesdk macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2010
    Don't forget that while submitting may be free, you have to provide a isbn for each thing you submit with iBooks author. That can be as much as $125 for every production, if you develop lots of apps, it could get expensive trying to do all in author.
  5. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    Map out your app/book flow, learn iBook Author, see if your idea fits into that. If not, then look at alternatives. Perhaps a full app, or a combination of app and the web framework would work.

    You mentioned that "users pick categories". I wonder if that would really work in an app designed to create a book. What would you use, chapters maybe.
  6. amorya macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2007
    It's only that costly if you buy them one at a time. You can get 10 ISBNs for $250, for example.
  7. newtoiphonesdk macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2010
    Still, it is not really a FREE way to get content out there. If you develop 10 apps it costs $99/year. Just basically a lot of costs that were not stated at their press event...everyone thinks...cool way to make stuff and get it out easily, and then realizes there are a lot of pains to it.

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