Beta Test New Digital Publication Format

Click on the image to sample a chapter from "New Woodworker's Guide to SketchUp" in a browser-friendly format.

Click on the image to sample a chapter from “New Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp” in a browser-friendly format.

One might think that digital publishing in the 21st century is an easy matter. It is if what you publish is mostly text or if all you want is a replica of a printed book. That’s like driving a horse and buggy down an interstate highway – it works but it doesn’t make the most of the technology.

Why not include video where it makes sense? That’s what I’ve done with my SketchUp books and the format works really well when you read it on a computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader. But what about the iPad and other tablets? You can open PDF files, but the interactive features – the videos – don’t work. Other options exist, but they require too much time, too much money, or giving up control of what the book looks like.

You can tell how much of a geek you are by what get’s you excited. I updated my page layout software yesterday, browsed through the “new features”, and discovered something I’ve been waiting for for the last five years, a method to publish online that includes video and doesn’t trash the page layout. I conducted an experiment on one of the chapters of the “New Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp” and it looks good to me, but it’s still “under development”. Before I go hog-wild, I thought I’d let my readers take a sample for a test drive.

toolbarThe images in this post link to the online version of chapter two. Have a look, especially if you’re on a tablet, and let me know how it works for you and what you think of this. If all goes well (and we figure out how to serve this) there will be an “iPad/browser version” of both of my SketchUp books in the near future. Those versions will be included with new purchases and everyone who already bought a book will have access to the new version. This will be a supplement to, not a replacement of the PDFs

When the link opens, all you see at first is a single page on a black background. It takes a little while for the chapter to load.  If you move your cursor down to the bottom, a toolbar appears along with arrows to the side that let you move from page to page. Hover over the icons on the toolbar and text appears that explains the icon function. There are a couple of hyperlinks in the text that apparently didn’t make the transition, and I’m curious to hear how it looks to you and any oddities you might encounter.


SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE EITHER BY LEAVING A COMMENT BELOW, OR SEND ME AN E-MAIL (Please what me know what kind of device you used to read this sample)

Bob Lang





Beta Test New Digital Publication Format — 2 Comments

  1. I have an iPad2 and the videos don’t play. You can see them with the play icon but clicking them doesn’t do anything. The text and formatting are okay but it did lock up on me at one point. Clicking full screen in the tool bar fixed the lock up.

    My device is running iOS v 8.3. Admittedly, after iOS 7 the performance of my device really went downhill. If you make an update I’d be happy to try again. Good luck Bob.

  2. I really enjoyed this. Even on my Galaxy S5 the material was easily viewed. I’ve not used Sketchup because it is so daunting getting started, but this sample chapter showed me that my fears can be overcome by getting familiar with it. I may need to take a little time and start in. Thanks!