• iBooks proprietary ePub3 format

    After the announcment from Apple and its new iBooks 2 for iOS and the new iBooks Author for Mac, I just wanna give you a sneak peek inside the new textbook format and compare it to the ePub standard.

    Comparison of iBooks VS ePub

    1. File extension

    iBooks:

    First of all what you get by exporting your freshly written textbook as iBooks, is a file with the ibooks extension.

    ePub:

    The normal file extension is epub.

    2. Mimetype

    iBooks:

    The textbook format has a mimetype of application/x-ibooks+zip

    ePub:

    Here we have application/epub+zip


    3. Directory structure

    iBooks:

    Describing the contents of the book with all its files, Apple uses the OPS directory and inside the normal *.opf file outlining the structure of this book. Inside this folder there is also an extra container called assets. This is where all the “magic” is happening. You can find CSS, Javascript, SVG.

    • assets
      • CSS
      • hints
      • images
      • ncxExtensions.xml
      • search
      • svg
      • thumbs

    Only looking inside the ncxEntensions.xml file unveils a normal Apple Properties PLIST. That means, no ePub 3 standard.

    Look inside the search folder. There are files used for fast searching, not only for the written words, but also to the stem of the word. All precalculated on the powerful Mac hardware, instead the iPad itself.

    The META-INF directory is the same like in ePub.

    ePub:

    There are no SVG or search folders.

    Conclusion

    As we can see, Apple extended the ePub format and by changing not only the file extension but also the mime type, the resulting textbook is only readable by iBooks. You can try to change the ibooks extension to epub and sometime your ePub reader will open that file, but the result is not good looking.

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  • Thoughts on how much it cost to develop our iPhone application

    Yesterday I read the answer from Twitterific Craig Hockenberry on the question „How much does it cost to develop an iPhone application?“. This made me think of our developing costs for YellowThing Sprachtrainer.

    Here is our situation:
    We are two developers, both of us were new to Objective-C and we are developing in our free time. So we started our first run on iPhone back in February by testing all developer tools and learning the basics from Objective-C. After we got that basic understanding, we started with our real App „YellowThing Sprachtrainer“ on the end of March and got the first version finished in late July. All the time each of us worked about 30 hours a month on developing, designing and testing.
    So our final hours on the first App for the iPhone are about 60h for both through 5 and a half month. This sums up for 330 hours of work for that project. The rest of the time we were busy on founding the company and registering with the Apple developer program. So far we had no client work, so I can’t calculate with the price for that. But if I underly the price on $120 per hour as a mid practiced Objective-C developer, the bill would be 330h * $120 makes $39,600. And that does not include the cost for all the drawings and the speaker. This would be another 50 hours * $120, counting in at $6000.
    So I come to a cost for that iPhone App at about $45,600. Nothing less.

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  • RapidWeaver as an website editor tool

    About two month ago I bought the MacHeist Nano Bundle 2. I noticed the included RapidWeaver, but it was not the reason I bought that bundle, so I left it aside.

    Meanwhile I develop an iPhone game and wanted to setup a website for it. At this point I stumbled upon RapidWeaver and I must say, I love it. There are so much possibilities and tons of themes and plugins. And it’s so easy to create great looking sites for the web. Thats much better then hacking your code for a website in a simple editor or even eclipse.

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  • Perian – Video Codecs for the Mac

    I recently bought an iMac and as I use it I love it more and more. I learn a lot of new stuff that I also want to share with you. So I will start a new Category that is called MACHELP. Get ready for the first tip.

    I have a lot of home videos I filmed with my Digital Hi8 camcorder and after editing I encoded most videos in xVid. So I wanted to watch those videos on my new iMac. Apparently there is no out of the box playing that kind of videos on a Mac, so I had to search for something I also knew from the PC-World. I needed a codec pack for video and audio to playback.

    And I didn’t had to search long, I found one Codec Pack that fits my needs on the official Apple site. It is called Perian, it’s free and it works quite well.

    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/video/perian_christopherforsythe.html

    So if you have any probelms with video or audio playback try Perian. If you know another one, feel free to post a comment.

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