Blog & News.

December 27, 2012

A life sign…

Hey everybody,

it’s been an incredible year for me. But at the same time, there is a lot to do. That’s why I couldn’t invest as much time into Laker as I wanted. I know there some problems at the moment regarding the Table Of Content, which need to be fixed, but the reality is, that I don’t have the time at the moment to work on this. I’m sorry. I guess writing a book, producing a dvd, running your own studio and be engaged in several other projects is a lot of stuff – and it seems that my week also only consists of seven days.

I’m incredible thankful for all your nice words and comments and I would like to encourage you, to work with Laker in the future. But to be honest, I think after this long time it really needs a basic overhaul. It’s OK at what it does, but I think the following things need to be addressed in future updates:

  • Clean Code
    The Code is really messy at some points. Really need to clean that up (especially the CSS’s)
  • Get rid of the CSI Library (which loads content on the client side dynamically)
    It’s no big secret: It slows things down, is complicated and is not needed that often. We have to find a workaround for this, which is easier
  • Simpler, Cleaner, Easier
    I think everything should be simpler, cleaner, more modern. There are a lot of files, it needs to be stripped down to the essentials.
  • Target additional Devices
    I heard about FRIAR, the port of Baker to Android. Maybe a future Version should support screensizes beside iPad and iPhone
  • Support the library-function in upcoming Baker versions
    Finally they added it in 4.0! Great job, guys! Laker should support styling and co. also.

You see: There is lots to do. I don’t know when I will be able to work on these issues, but I really want in the future. Until then I want to say thank you for the incredible feedback and tipps I received over the year.

And please: Continue doing so and mail me if you wanna talk. I’m always interested in fresh minds and new opinions! ;)

Have a happy new years eve and see you all in 2013!
Florian

May 30, 2012

It’s here! Our book is available NOW!

Hey everyone!

I already teased it a couple of months ago and today it was finally released! My first book, which I wrote together with Johannes Ippen. You might heard from him, he is one of the minds behind Aside Magazine.

It’s in german and it’s called “Apps mit HTML5 und CSS3″ (Amazon-Link) and covers the development of apps with web technologies. We talk about design, frameworks, concept-phases and much more! So if you’re fluent in german, grab a copy!

In addition to that, we build a small website: http://www.html5rockt.de.
And be sure to follow our twitter account @html5rockt

Cheers!
Florian

April 10, 2012

Laker 1.3 released – fix for TOC

Hey everybody,

a few people mailed me, that the Table of Content doesn’t show properly on iPad. The Baker guys updated Baker, so that the width and height of the Table of Content gets calculated automatically depending on content. It seems, that that interferes with the include-Script I am using. Therefore I disabled it for the Table of Content and placed it inside the index.html. Now it should work.

You can grab the current Laker Starter Pack 1.3 in the Downloads section.

If you have any feedback, please share it here. Also glad to here, that the Baker guys implemented a browser within the app. A friend of mine, steiny2k, helped with the integration of the browser! Thanks! Great!

Otherwise I’m feeling pretty good at the moment. Been’ to switzerland for four days and tomorrow I’m moving into our NEW! (and first) office spaces! Wohoooooo! No more Home-Office! Yeah! I’ll keep you guys updated with the progress of starting the agency.

Best,
Florian

January 19, 2012

A few thoughts about the new iBook Author

Hey everyone,

as you probably may heard, Apple released today iBooks 2 alongside with a new authoring tool named “iBook Author” for creating digital, interactive textbooks. There are a few major publishers already on board and so you can grab your own copy of one of these new books from the iBooks Store. “Life on Earth” is a free (but hefty 980Mb) download and definitely worth checking out.

The layout and how you interact with these new textbooks reminds me of “Our Choice” by PushPopPress. Sadly the guys of PushPopPress decided not to further advance the technology and joined Facebook (see this article over at TechCrunch).

The textbook are built in a very linear way, which is not a bad thing. At the bottom of the screen in landscape-mode, you have an overview about the pages within a chapter. By pinching, you can enlarge these pages and from there on slide between them with your finger. It’s nicely done and very visual and clear. In portrait mode, the layout adapts to be more emphasized on text. You scroll through the text of that chapter and all interactive elements are presented with thumbnails on the left.

Aditionally there are some text-highlighting- and study-card-features, which can best be seen in one of those polished Apple-Showcase-Videos: Introduction to textbooks.

iBook Author

So far so good, what really excites me, is the new (and btw. free) iBook Author Tool for creating these textbooks. It’s an Mac-Only app and a mash-up of Pages and Keynote (I think it’s a bit more keynote than pages). I played around within the last hour and want to share my experiences so far:

Pro’s

  • It seems super-easy. If you know how to use Keynote, you’ll find yourself right at home
  • There are a lot of cool widgets, like Galleries, interactive quizzes, interactive images, 3d-Models and even a possibility for inserting you own HTML-Code
  • It seems that the new textbooks rely a lot on HTML5, which is rather impressing
  • Adding new pages, chapters is very easy
  • Performance of iBook Author and also of the textbooks are great.
  • Previewing on an iPad is quick and good
  • You can distribute your iBook also via Mail or your own website. But remember, that this is only allowed for free books. If you want to sell something, you have to do it via the iBook-Store.
  • Alternatively you can export your iBook also as a PDF
  • Cool glossar-Feature
  • It’s possible to style both portrait and landscape

Con’s, questions and wishes

  • You can’t start from scratch
    There are six  predefined templates, which are not bad, but very “apple-esque”. As a designer, I want full control over my design.
  • No way to edit the page masters of the templates Found it, thanks to Reed, first you have to display the layouts and there you can change them
    It would not be a problem to start off with these predefined templates, if there were a chance to edit the page masters. Well you can edit the fonts and stuff like that, but not the overall design of the pages (in an easy way via page master).
  • Custom fonts are not working yet
    I tried using the excellent font “Eames Century Modern” by HouseIndustries. It works perfectly fine on the mac, but sadly not on the iPad. The strange thing about it: When the preview is being refreshed on the iPad the font is correct, but after the loading finished it switches back to some default (I think Helvetica). It seems that, at the moment, only font are supported, which are also available on the iPad.
  • No master pages See above
    As mentioned above, there is no way of defining your own master pages. That’s sad, because therefore you can’t realize your own layouts.
  • No support for footnotes
    At least, I did not find any?

Yeah, yeah, I know… It’s the first version…. I just hope, that Apple further develops this software, so that it allows us all to produce feature-rich and beautiful interactive books in an easy way. But before it becomes a real opportunity for designers, it has to get rid of some of these flaws.

I’m eager to learn about your opinions and findings. Just drop a comment or say something via twitter @ffranke1985

Cheers
Florian

December 27, 2011

Laker 1.2 and a few notes

Hey everyone,

hopin’ you had a nice christmas!
It’s been quite a long time for now, but I finally managed to update the Laker website.

Laker Starter Pack 1.2

I updated the download section with a new version of the Laker Starter Pack. The Baker guys are doing a really good job of updating Baker continuously, so I decided not to include Baker in the Laker-Package. Every single feature (and many more) of the original Laker-Baker build were integrated into the Baker-Core, so there is no need for having a separate version anymore.

How-To-Guide Update

I updated the How-To-Guide to reflect the changes in the Laker Starter Pack. Furthermore I added a small section on Google Maps and on Licensing. Laker is under BSD-License. Additionally a link back to the project (within your publication) is required.

The Showcase

I opened a section called “showcase“, where I want to showcase the latest and greatest Apps made with Laker. So if you done something with Laker, drop me a line ;)

Everything else

2011 was a special and busy time for me. I graduated from university and am in the middle of founding my own design agency. There were some great challenges and some of the best party’s I’ve ever been to. Since April 2011 the Laker Website was visited by over 82.000 unique visitors, which is just amazing (as of dec 27h).

Can’t wait to see what’s 2012 is going to bring. Actually: I know a little bit, what it’s going to bring ;). One of the main reasons I’ve been so busy, is a project I’m doing with my friend Johannes from Aside Magazin. You may heard of him, because of his Magazine-HTML5-Only-Solution. So if you are fluent in the german language, stay tuned. ;)

Furthermore, the iPad App “Automotive Agenda”, which I did with Laker for a german automotive magazine, won an award! We did not fit in any category, but the jury thought, that it really should get awarded. So they invented a “special prize” for us. Cool stuff! ;) The award was handed over in Berlin and we had a great time with good food, champaign and a great talk by the first german, who flew with a space shuttle Ulf Merbold. Simply amazing to hear a guy talking about how it is flying into space. Here is the press release of the award (german): ERGO On.Line Medienpreis Pressemitteilung

Thank you guys for all your kind words and support over the year and keep on building publications and believing in HTML5.

Cheers,
Florian

September 18, 2011

A lot of new Laker-Apps

Hey everybody,

a few new Laker-Apps are now in the App-Store.

First of all, an app I did myself:

Automotive Agenda (a german automotive magazine)
I tried to experiment a lot with webkit animation and the new Baker-Beta with Page-Preloading. Have a look, its free!

 

Then a few from other people:

Urbanic
The Urbanic app shows the work from different young artists, photographers, ilustrators and writers.

Nazi Germany for iPad
An interactive book about the third reich and the rise of the nazis in the 1930′s. It even includes a crossword-puzzle.

 

Cheers
florian

July 20, 2011

Yeah, I’m still alive

Hey everybody,

yeah I know… You probably waiting for the next version with iframe-support and so on, but to be honest: Time is short and there are a lot of things, which I have to do first right now.

BUT there are great news: User BTermorshuizen added some “multiple-issue-per-app”-functionality! Check it our in the GitHub-Forums. I didn’t have the time to test it yet, but it makes me happy, that other people improve the compendium (or Baker or both). That’s why I published of all this stuff in the first place. To see how it will evolve over time. So give it a go and let us know in the comment how it goes.

Now to a different topic:

In “About” I talk a lot about the magazine “zuviel” I built during my diploma thesis. Unfortunately I can’t release it in the App-Store due licensing reasons, BUT I made a small video highlighting the magazine. I know it’s a bit long, but bear with me, I’m not a video guy. ;)

Link to the Video of “zuviel” on VIMEO

Please comment or mail me, if you have any questions.

Cheers and so long.
Florian

June 7, 2011

Laker Source on Git and News

Hey everyone!

I’m really excited about the newsstand app Apple introduced yesterday. I wonder which publications can be published via it. The next weeks are going to be interesting! ;)

Laker News:

  • The Laker Source is now on Github: https://github.com/ffranke/Laker-Compendium (Thanks to @philippbosch on this one!)
  • The first Laker-powered iPad App is available at the app store: Liberate Eden
  • I’m working on iFrame-Support, but my time is limited at the moment.
  • Anybody @OFFF Barcelona the next few days? If yes, let’s talk! ;)

Cheers,
Florian

May 17, 2011

Laker on github

Hey everyone,

discussion over the comment section seems a little bit complicated, so I opened a Laker Compendium Site on GitHub:

https://github.com/ffranke/Laker-Compendium

Feel free to discuss problems, suggest features or report issues! Yeah! ;)
I uploaded the 1.1 Package also to github.

Cheers,
Florian

P.S. Anybody @OFFF Barcelona this year? ;)

 

May 13, 2011

Exam & Laker 1.2

Hey everyone,

thank you all for the tremendous support over the last few weeks. I had a great time presenting Laker and the rest of my diploma thesis at my final exam this tuesday. Everyone was excited, me included! ;)

So what are the next steps for Laker 1.2?

  • Making iFrames possible
    Especially for making Google Maps work, but also for using the new embed options by YouTube and Vimeo.
  • Enabling Autoplay for Videos (maybe for dossier-start-videos!)
    I already got it working, but I need to dive in which videos iPhone and iPad can play. It seems there are some differences regarding the video dimensions.
  • Inline-Video on iPhone
    Already working in iPad, but iPhone seems to handle that differently. Have to look into that.
  • Approval of the NYC-Example App
    I’m in contact with very cool people at the moment, regarding some content for the NYC-Example-App. If you remember: The app got rejected, because “demonstration apps are not allowed”, so I need some real content on the topic.

If you have any tipps or suggestions, please comment below. Thanks! ;)
florian