Tag Archives: apps

Deploying Your AppCobra Apps

Advertisements

Why AppCobra is the Best Choice for Education

Why AppCobra is a Better Tool for Students and Education.

AppCobra is a serious tool.

Apps, the mobile web, and HTML5 are the future. You already know that. That’s why you are reading this.

You want your kids, and/or your students to be get a great head start into that future. A future where the skills they learn now will be indispensable.

And that is where AppCobra comes in.

And in this document, we are going to show you why there is nothing like AppCobra. Nothing. Not even close.

You see, AppCobra is a serious development tool.

AppCobra does more than string a few pictures and words together and put them on your iPhone.

With AppCobra, you can do almost anything. AppCobra takes full advantage of all mobile and HTML5 features, not just a small subset.

And AppCobra is tremendously scalable. Not only can you put together Apps much like you might put together a PowerPoint presentation, but more experienced users can delve into JavaScript, and the AppCobra API, and really put their skills to good use.

As a final plus, your kids will be creating apps that run on all platforms. iPhone and iPads. Android. Blackberry. Windows 8. Macintosh. Even Smart TVs.

Let’s Have a Look at Some Examples

On the following pages, we will be looking at the sorts of things your kids and students can create in AppCobra.

You will be surprised at the extensive range of features available – how easily they can be implemented, and just what your kids will be creating.

And you’ll also be pleased to see you are not limited by a few pre-set templates. You have complete control over how your apps look and operate.

Choosing anything else will limit your kid’s imagination.

Help, Examples, and Interactive Tutorials

Just before we get started, and important note.

AppCobra includes an extensive online help system (http://www.appcobra.com/help), a support forum (support.knowledgepresenter.com), a huge range of examples (including the source AppCobra projects) (http://www.appcobra.com/uni/examples), and a free and extensive series of Interactive Tutorials (http://www.appcobra.com/uni).

We even have a series of blogs that provide constantly updated hints, tips and guides (appcobra.wordpress.com).

Nearly fifty interactive tutorials are provided for help you learn AppCobra.

Dozens and dozens of interactive examples complete with source AppCobra projects.

Multimedia

Using AppCobra, you can record or import voiceover, insert YouTube videos, or your own videos into Apps.

Above – a multimedia children’s book. Each page contains animations and audio.
The user can navigate from page to page automatically, using the buttons, or on
touch devices, by swiping.

Here, inside AppCobra, is the project used to create the App above. See how easy this is? You get to see exactly how things will turn out.

Insert Youtube videos, or your own videos, into any app.

Not only can you add audio, but you can customize play and pause buttons, and
synchronize events to audio to create elegant multimedia animations.

You can also apply sound effects that play whenever an object is touched or
clicked.

E-learning and Assessments

The App and mobile marketplace promises to reshape education no other idea mankind has had since the invention of the printing press.

Let your kids share their knowledge, and create their own apps – create their own e-learning. And effective e-learning is more than just asking a question. In this fast paced world, you need to be able to grab attention – and keep it.

With AppCobra, you can create assessments in e-learning using a range of
question types.You determine how they look, how they are presented, and what
sort of feedback is given to students.

Using Hotspots,creating interactive software simulations is very simple.

Presenting Information.

Here is where the creativity and imagination of your students can shine. Information can be presented in so many interactive and dynamic ways.

Because AppCobra allows so much customization, you can create your own custom interaction and question types.

When teaching concepts, you can set up your information so the
user views what they need to view, when they need to view it – and even to skip
it if they don’t.

Mouseovers and touchdowns are wonderful ways that AppCobra allows you to create custom, dynamic, and interactive apps.

Above, we’ve set up some hyperlinks in the text – which wraps
elegantly round the image of the snake – to present some photos. These
hyperlinks could also display new windows of information, or simply link to
another step in the app, or perhaps even play video or audio.

Here is an illustration of how images can be automatically set to
enlarge, if the user wishes to see content at a larger size.

Create books that automatically flow based on inserted images and text – and
even allow searching…

Or create more static books, with fixed layout – and exactly the same layout –
on all platforms.

Navigation

Once again, AppCobra here shines.

Apps should be more than just click here to continue information presenters.

You can:

  • Present information in a linear fashion
  • Allow the user to branch based on selections
  • Branch based on user performance (score)
  • Provide automatic indexes, bookmarks, and thumbnails to allow the user to navigate.
  • Allow swiping on mobile devices in any direction.

Let’s have a look at some of the other ways you can set up navigation and branching within lessons.

Above, we’ve illustrated how you can add thumbnail navigation to your app.

Indexes (or tables of contents) are just as easy to create and maintain. You
determine what appears in the index, and how it appears in the index.

Use pop-up, flyout, or drop down menus to provide another means of navigation.

With a single click, you can add a bookmarks interface to allow the user to
save and navigate to their own bookmarks in your app.

With AppCobra, not only can the user swipe left or right – you can cntrol
scrolling and swiping in any direction you like.

There is even a series of features so you can create your own
comic books.

You determine exactly how your app looks and operates.

Layout

When creating apps, it is important that your app looks on all platforms how you designed it to look. What looks one way on an iPad may look different on an Android device.

Not with AppCobra, however. Your app can look the same everywhere.

AppCobra has a feature that allows fonts to be created as images. This means
that your app looks exactly the same on all platforms – and exactly the
same as it does when you design it. Use any font you like.

In this app, you can see it is important that this main paragraph
takes up exactly the correct amount of space. In other development tools, this
would be almost impossible to ensure.

When adding things like Math Symbols – once again – a great feature of AppCobra – you need to know exactly how those symbols will appear on all platforms. With AppCobra, this is not an issue.

With most development tools, if you select a font that the end
user does not have on their device, it will be substituted with a different
font. Not only will spacing change, but the whole appearance of your app can
change. Not an issue with AppCobra.

Another couple of examples where exact layout is crucial to how an app appears and operates. This sort of thing – as amazing as it sounds, can simply not be done
with other tools.

Apply static and dynamic styles, textures, borders, and outlines to objects.

A range of image editing features are built right into AppCobra to enhance your
illustrations.

Because AppCobra can render text as an image, this allows such features as drop
caps to be applied to the text.

Use AppCobra features to generate object backgrounds and borders of any shape,
color, or size.

An interactive solar system app, complete with audio. Note that
the layout will look exactly the same on all devices and browsers.

Layout Consistency

We’ve already mentioned that when you create an app in AppCobra, it plays back exactly the same way – and looks exactly the same on all devices.

Using AppCobra University as the example, here is the proof.

On the left – a device running Android Honeycomb. On the right, an iPhone.

On the left, an iPhone running Chrome – on the right, the same app running
directly in the Safari browser.

On the left – running on the iPad in the Safari browse. On the right, running
on the iPad after it has been saved as an app.

On the left, FireFox in Windows. On the right, Internet Explorer 10 in the
desktop.

On the left, FireFox in Windows. On the right, Safari in Windows..

On the left – Safari on a Mac. On the right, in IE10 in the Metro interface.

Choose Your Layout Size and Orientation

Although AppCobra can and will size your app as required on any device, you can, if you wish, target your app for a specific device, and match the resolution of that device.

Below, you can see the same app resized for three different devices – from top to bottom – iPad (1024 x 768), Windows 8 Tablet (1366 x 768), and iPad vertical (768 x 1024).

image067

Saving as an App

There are several ways you can save your app to any device.

First, using a product like PhoneGap, you can save your AppCobra app as a native app, ready to go into the Apple App Store, Blackberry World, or Google Play. AppCobra takes care of all the preparation for you – including all icons in various sizes, all required metadata (including keywords, descriptions, and more) – even the same screen shots required for the app stores.

Second, you can use the features found on most devices to save the app directly to the device desktop. Combine this with the HTML5 download feature supported by AppCobra, and you have the equivalent of a native app in minutes.

On the left, an app created in AppCobra saved to the iPhone home screen.
AppCobra takes care of the icon, and startup screen. On the right, the app in
action, as launched from the home screen.

The same as the above example – but this time on the iPad.

Above left, we’ve added the app we created in AppCobra as a bookmark to the
Android Honeycomb home screen. From there, it looks and operates almost exactly
the same as a normal, downloaded app. Once again, AppCobra takes care of the
icon and startup screen.

On the left, the Learning Windows 8 icon has been added to the Windows 8 start
screen. AppCobra allows you to select your icon, and prepares it correctly for
you. You can also customize the name as it appears in the icon tile – even the
background color of the tile.

Here, we used the features found in the Chrome browser to add our app as an application
shortcut
. Once again, the icon and shortcut name is taken care of for you.

See the top left corner – near the Orange FireFox tab – the app has been saved
as a pinned tab, and can be started at any time immediately.

PowerPoint Import

AppCobra allows you to import PowerPoint presentations.

These can be imported as:

  • A series of images; or
  • A series of editable objects – so all the content of the presentation are editable after import.

Using our PowerPoint Developer’s Guide, you can even pre
apply events and actions in the PowerPoint presentation, and they are applied
automatically as the presentation is imported.

Interaction

Ahhh – interaction. The lifeblood of a real app. And by interaction – we don’t just mean click here to continue. We are talking about complete and engaging interaction – not just for navigation, but to actually create results unique to each user.

You can set any object up so that it can be moved, rotated, and/or scaled – by
mouse or by touch.

Create and use sliders to allow the user to get involved – with dynamic
results.

You can even construct dialog boxes to allow users to control what is visible,
or how something operating, in your app.

This example uses the features found in the AppCobra API to
create a simulation of speeds of various people and animals – and they race
onscreen. The user can select what person or animal to put in each lane.

Here, drag features are used to track where and how the user drags an object on
the screen. Usg the API, you can track each movement and drag release to the
pixel.

This example uses movement – and checks where the user touches or clicks on the
screen to create an interactive game.

Create surveys, where the results can be emailed directly to you from the app.

A classic hangman game created in AppCobra. Try that with any other tool.

Here, the AppCobra jigsaw feature is used as a basis of a jigsaw game.

In this interactive game, the user fills in a series of text boxes in order to
create a dynamic story. The resultant stories can be saved to the userdevice,
and reloaded at any future time. AppCobra fully supports saving and reading
data to the local device using localstoreage APIs.

Other Automated App Elements

With a single command, you can add all sorts of objects and elements to your apps.

Add and control clock objects.

Create your own digital clocks and timers.

Add calendar objects with a single command – and control and keep a track of
them using the AppCobra API.

Add and redraw interactive graphs with a single line of code.

Add domain or password level support to your apps.

Progress bars are a snap.

Add other web content, such as web pages and PDF file directly inside your
apps.

Create tables with the built in table editor. Format individual cells, and even
add images.

Mobile Features

In order to create really cool apps, you’ve got to be able to take advantage of all mobile device features. This includes:

Geolocation

Geolocation. Geolocation works on all devices (assuming a modern browser is
used – as well as, of course, on mobile devices.

Accelerometer

With AppCobra, you can check the device accellerometer to see if the device
moves on the x, y, or z access – ar around 50 times a second.

Touch Interface

We talked a little earlier about how AppCobra allows the user to swipe from
page to page – and also up and down – and also individual objects. You can
also, with a simple click – support a page curl like effect as the user changes
steps.

We looked at this image earlier – but we wanted to reinforce that full touch
interface is supported by AppCobra. In this example, the user can use standard
touch gestures to scale, move, and rotate this object – or any object.

Download to Local Device

AppCobra fully supports the HTML5 download feature. This allows apps to be
completely downloaded, and run on a user machine, with no Internet interface
required.

Working with Images

HTML5 includes some wonderful new opportunities to create exciting animations and truly interactive and useful apps – thanks in one way to a HTML5 object called the canvas object.

Thanks to the canvas object, with AppCobra you can create apps like this:

This app is an image editor, which runs totally in a browser. The user can
select and edit their own images. Note that to use this feature in AppCobra,
you don’t need to know all the JavaScript related to the canvas object and how
it works – AppCobra takes care of all that for you.

You can even create your own drawing apps.

You can even create an app that allows the user to drag an image onto app to
add it start working with it.

Here, we added a slider – which the user can drag to cross fade one image into
another.

AppCobra supports the highest quality images available.

AppCobra also allows automatic and manual compression of
images.

You can include images at really high resolution for Retina display devices.

AppCobra will automatically resize and resample images during the app export process. This means that no matter what size it was when imported, it always ends up at the perfect size when you create the app – and will always be a lot quicker to download.

An added feature is that during export, AppCobra will examine all files and images in your app – and remove and redundant images to improve download speed and tighten app size.

Timing

AppCobra uses a range of timing features to allow your apps to look professional, and to create your animations.

For every object, you can determine an appearance delay, and a disappearance delay.

These appearance and disappearance delays can be synchronized with an audio file, if you wish.

Every step can contain one or more timeouts that activate events after a certain time – like display a message, move to another step, show a movie – whatever you like.

A range of timers are available – like a maximum app time, an app timer, a step timer for each step, and a timeout timer.

Add and control clock objects.

Here, a timer displays how long is left in the current step.

Using timing and other AppCobra features allows you to create time lapse apps –
play the time lapse, in this case, automatically, or manually – even in normal,
or slow motion.

The Future of App Stores?

What is the future of app stores? Will they be required in the future? Apps – yes. But app stores?

Just a few short years ago, making an app meant getting it into the Apple App Store.

It’s a lot trickier now. Apart from the Apple App Store, there’s Google Play, Blackberry World, Windows Store, Amazon App Store, Mac App Store, and the Chrome Web Store. Among others.

The Apple App Store and Google Play are estimated to reach over 1,000,000 apps during 2013.

Most, apart from the big or very successful players, choose one or two stores. And that can be expensive and painful enough. And even when in an app store – you may truly be one in a million. And getting noticed among those numbers is not easy.

Each of those stores have their own software development kits, developer agreements, and submission and review procedures. Wouldn’t it be good if you only had to develop once, and your app worked on all platforms? Wouldn’t it be good if you determined what your app looked like, how it worked, what it contained, and where and how it was deployed?

You can. With HTML5.

So why doesn’t everyone develop in HTML5?

Firstly, there is a distinct lack of decent development tools. AppCobra is the standout here. Without something like AppCobra, creating an ‘app’ from scratch using HTML5 is a lot of work. Different platforms use different touch support and code, and CSS standards are mired by custom prefixes that perform the same function. What metatags are required for what platforms? Why doesn’t my startup screen appear? How do I provide my icon so that it works on all platforms?

Secondly, all browsers render text differently. What fits on four lines on an iPad may need five in Android, throwing your carefully laid out app into chaos. And, apart from Arial and one or two others, there are no standard fonts. So Arial it is. HTML5 does support downloadable fonts – but please.

AppCobra allows you to use any font, anywhere, and the text layout can look the same on all devices.

Look at the following examples.

ipadiPhone

androidAndroid

ie10IE10 / Windows 8

chromeWindows Chrome

Third – the cornucopia of screen/devices sizes and aspect ratios. How is it possible to make your app look good on all devices without having multiple copies? It is possible, of course, to create a HTML5 app that will reflow content based on screen size. For some apps, this may work. For others, like games, this is more difficult. It’s a pain. And a compromise like this never really works.

BlackBerry Emulator

AppCobra apps will resize as required – and keep all layout as you designed it. It looks the same on all platforms. Touch and mouse support can be included in the same app.

With AppCobra you can create an app at a standard phone size, create all the content and logic, save a copy, and resize to a tablet based app. Finally, adjust look and feel.

Fourth – you want to earn money. Getting into one of the app stores is still the best way to do this. But times are changing, and this won’t always be the case. However, using software like PhoneGap, you can, if you wish, turn your HTML5 / AppCobra app into a native app for iOS, Android, and other platforms.

Some HTML5 app advantages:

  • HTML5 leverages existing HTML and JavaScript skills.
  • Apps work on all platforms.
  • During development, can be shared and tested by anyone you wish, on any device.
  • Apps can be converted to app store native apps using PhoneGap, if required.
  • Apps can be deployed when and where you like. Your app can be saved directly from your website to the iOS home screen. Or the Android home screen as a bookmark. Or to the Windows 8 Start screen. From there, it looks and feels essentially the same as any app.
  • There are no developer agreements to sign. No review or submission procedures. No waits to make changes. No fees to pay. Nothing to license.
  • HTML5 apps can contain more features than you realize. Below, we list some of the features you may not realize exist. This list does not include standard HTML features of which you are probably aware.
    • Access to user photos. You can load photos directly from the user machine or camera.
    • Photo and Text manipulation. The HTML5 canvas object allows you to modify images and text in any way you like – right down to pixel level.
    • Drawing support. Allow the user to draw – right on the screen.
    • Geolocation. Get the latitude and longitude of the user.
    • Accelerometer. Access the device accelerometer to sense device movement.
    • Full control of audio and video.
    • Complete touch and gesture response.
    • Complete animation, movement and appearance control.
    • Orientation. Determine device orientation.
    • HTML5 Manifests. Allow apps to download and run offline.
    • Offline storage. Store much more content on user devices.
    • Drag and Drop support. Drag objects directly onto the browser.
  • Add the features above to the features that AppCobra also provides, like:
    • Automatic index generation.
    • Thumbnail support.
    • Clocks and calendars. Math symbols. Drop down, fly-out, and popup menus. Progress bars. Button generators. Hotspots, tables, user generated graphics.
    • Automatic creation of app icons for Android, iOS, Windows, Macintosh, and other platforms.
    • Automatic startup screen generation.
    • Automatic save of app position.
    • Automatic ‘nonapp’ and ‘orientation’ detection and warnings. Show different content based on orientation. Dynamic resize of pages.
    • Complete assessment and scoring engine. SCORM support. Remote submitting of app results when app taken offline.
    • Set objects to allow users to drag, resize, and/or rotate.
    • Dynamic hiding and showing of content and multimedia. Synchronize events to multimedia.
    • Retina display support. Mouse wheel support. Keyboard support. Shake detection. Full page movements, swiping, and page curl swiping.
    • Custom API support.
    • Complete timing control.
    • And a lot more.

All this might make you at least think – shouldn’t I be developing in HTML5?