Price When Reviewed: £935
Pros: Enhanced interactivity and support for rich media and more file types in ePUB and iPad-app authoring respectively; enhanced Reflow article operations
Cons: Lack of undo in some operations
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Quark’s App Studio, introduced in QuarkXPress 9.1, has been updated in version 9.2 to comply with new Apple iOS Newstand guidelines; it also now allows more sophisticated interactivity.
You can make a video play automatically in a loop on a page, while hiding the controls if you wish. For a more user-friendly experience there are interactivity actions for controlling movie or audio file, namely Play, Pause, Stop and Toggle Play. The HTML view offers a more extensive list of file types to pop up over your app content, including HTML, PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and RTF, among others.
The ePub format is now a layout choice in the New Project dialog box. This means that when authoring content in the Text Reflow view you can begin with a blank reflow article to which you add components such as text boxes, instead of converting assets on an existing print layout. Version 9.2 also allows video and audio to be added to the reflow article as a component. An audio file can thus be associated with a picture box in the ePub ebook, so that when a user clicks the box, the sound plays. A similar process allows video to be embedded and a play button added via the Interactive Attributes dialog box in the Digital Publishing menu.
Working in Reflow view has been made easier by a new Article button, as well as a Split Component command, which uses the cursor as an insertion point to set all the following text as a new component. Components can then be reordered using the Reflow Tagging palette as before. The only downside is a lack of undo for this action, so save your article before using it.
New file types such as Word documents are available to the HTML view, which brings up a Webkit-powered overlay over the App Studio content
Version 9.2 is an essential update if you want to add video or audio to ebooks. The App Studio enhancements are very welcome, with the support for pop-up media likely to improve your in-app advertising and marketing opportunities.