How to create an app in 2 days using Adobe DPS

by Lucie Bertiau
26 May 2015
2 min read
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How to create an app in 2 days using Adobe DPS

I recently attended a 2 day bootcamp to learn more about the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). During this bootcamp I learnt to create my own working app available to download and test on an iPad.
Adobe created DPS to transform any print publication into an exciting interactive tablet experience. It is used to create, publish and optimise content-centric tablet or mobile Apps.

The best thing about the DPS is that you don't require any coding skills to create your app. It leverages existing designers like myself and the tools we are already using. 
It also has great features such as built-in analytics to help you know who your users are but also social media integration, push notifications, content encryption, geo-localisation, and list goes on. You can also personalise your content with entitlements and define who reads what.
The App itself is, by default, made of a 'Library' that contains all the publications you upload. Each publication is a separate InDesign file that you create - you can upload or modify as many publications as you want.

This is what my default library looks like, you can see I've created 3 different publications:

Default DPS App Library

You can also change the way your Library looks by creating a 'Custom Store Front', as shown in the Hyundai app below:

Hyundai Custom Library

The great thing about publishing content using the DPS app is the level of interactivity you have with the user compared to a printed document or a PDF.
Using InDesign you can add some interactions such as a slideshow of images, linkable buttons or embedded videos. You can also create animations (using Edge Animate for instance) and import them into your InDesign file. You can even load an actual web page.

Watch the explanatory video here.

There are 2 steps to have your app ready in the App store. 

  • First, creating the content that will sit in your app.
  • Second, the creation of the actual app. 

You also have the option of creating the app first and then populating it with content later. This makes it handy if you decide to change your content at the last minute.

To build your app, you need

  • A developer license so you can get your certificates and push certificates.
  • The "App Builder" app which is free to download from the adobe website.
  • Finally you just need to follow the steps on the screen (add your app icons, uploading your certificates etc.) 
  To create your content, all you need is
  • An "Adobe Creative Cloud" account to create your content
  • A DPS app account
  • And of course a decent knowledge of InDesign.

There are a lot of resources out there to help you create content and add interaction such as the “DPS Tips” app.
Once you have created your content and your app, you can start publishing your content using the "App Builder" app.

And that’s it! You have an app!

The benefits of using DPS over a regular app is the minimal development costs.
Indeed, you don't have to worry about software updates so you don't need ongoing developing fees. You can add and upload content in your app at any time and it's updating immediately. Anybody in your company can create content and publish it in minutes.

Examples of brands using Adobe DPS

Hyundai have done a great job with animation and interactivity. They’ve built a 360 degree car rotator and an interactive gallery allowing you to click on different parts of a car to get more information. You can even book a test drive within the app.
The "House of Representative Australia" started by creating an interactive floor plan. Realising the potential of the app, they ended up meeting all of their communication requirements. Now the representative can log in, and get a specific content depending on who they are or where they are. For example, when they are travelling they have access to plans, maps and suggestions on where to stay etc.
Sotheby’s wanted to reduce their print cost so they built an app to list their auction items.
Now their users can add notes and comment on these items. The company is then able to see who is interested in what, hence marketing to their customers better.
It’s interesting to see how, what started off as, a simple exercise of putting static brochures inside an iPad has now become a rich, engaging and interactive experience for the brand’s audience.

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