The history of Baker Framework -
Computol is proud to be a supporter of the great Baker Framework. Using HTML5, developers can produce fantastic newspaper, book, or magazine content that runs as a standalone iOS App or as a Newsstand App with full support for subscriptions and In-App Purchases.
This brief article comes straight from one of the Baker developers and details its rise as one of the premier frameworks for Newsstand development on the iOS platform.
Anatomy of a Hack -
Ars Technica speaks to hackers who demonstrate the ability to crack mildly-complex passwords with relative ease. By “mildly-complex” I mean the kind of mixed-case, alpha-numeric, symbol-containing passwords that so many security experts stress are better alternatives to “letmein123.”
Is the future of passwords in jeopardy thanks to super-fast brute-force methods (thanks to GPU acceleration) and giant rainbow tables?
How to keep up to date on Front-End Technologies -
There is an ongoing debate on this very topic, and here Scott Hanselman throws his two cents into the pot. Worth a read.
Which hashing algorithm is best for uniqueness and speed? -
Hashing algorithms work best when they produce unique results. Here is a look at common algorithms’ speed versus collisions for those developers who love the number game.
Baker Framework Server Solutions -
Baker Framework is an iOS HTML framework for building applications - especially periodicals such as books, magazines, and newspapers.
With Newsstand support, Baker 4.1 now offers content creators a meaningful way of selling content in Apple’s store. Computol is proud to offer back-end Newsstand services for Baker 4.1 iOS applications. Using our hosted solution is the simplest way to get your Baker app functioning with Apple’s Newsstand - just login to our portal, update your issue data to match iTunes Connect, and your Baker application will just work.
Check it out at the link above and contact us with your questions.
LukeW: Responsive and Responsible -
While web page performance should always be on the forefront of every developer’s mind, our industry’s push into response web design over the last couple of years has been focused on user experience and visual polish.
Luke Wroblewski takes a look at some common points of pain for RWD performance (including his trademark statistics), and offers a few tips on optimizing performance across devices.
Obscure C -
For those low-level-loving developers out there, here is a look at some programming oddities, unconventional coding, and unexpected behavior in snippets of C code. All these examples are perfectly readable bits of code that upset compilers or produce unexpected output.
Baker Framework is a fantastic platform for building HTML-based iOS apps. While its “standalone” mode is useful for building single-use, content-driven applications, the addition of iOS Newsstand support in version 4.0 plays to Baker’s strengths as a simple platform for periodicals.
In order to fully support all of Newsstand’s features, however, a critical server component is required - and Baker does not yet provide this robust solution for integrating issue and subscriber management with iTunes Connect. The whole Newsstand model can be slightly confusing, so for those working with Baker, here is an overview of how Newsstand and Baker work together.
The iOS Newsstand is a special type of folder that lives on the iOS home screen. Your app’s Info.plist should contain the Boolean value “UINewsstandApp” set to true. This flag automatically places your application in the Newsstand folder and groups it into the Newsstand section of the App Store.
In the case of Baker, this flag is already set up to enable Newsstand support, and should only be changed if your app is going to be standalone.
The Newsstand Store Model
Newsstand applications must provide a subscription option and must periodically publish new issues. There is no getting around this, so at the very least, Baker must be configured to offer a free subscription. This will enable a “Subscribe” button in your Baker app that is required by all Newsstand apps.
If you wish to offer individual issues for sale (via In-App Purchases) or paid subscriptions, you must consider a few important points:
That last bullet point is important. It is up to you to manage user receipts, subscription status, and issue access. This requires a significant server application. If you intend to offer your own subscription option outside of the App Store, it is also important to consider that a sign-in mechanism is required to validate your users - something that Baker does not currently offer.
The External Server for Baker
At this point, basic issue information should be set up in iTunes Connect. Issue name, cover image, description, and a link back to the actual content is stored by Apple so that your periodical is searchable within the App Store. As stated above, the actual content of the issue is not hosted by Apple - that is your responsibility.
For a free subscription, you mainly have to host your issues (“.hpub” files) and Baker’s “shelf.json” file, which identifies all issues available for download.
For paid issues and subscriptions, you also need to handle App Store receipts, maintain user subscription status, and be able to reliably manage users who subscribe outside of the App Store.
In order to pull down new issues, update the shelf, manage In-App Purchases, and setup iOS notifications, Baker 4 has several RESTful API endpoints that it will try to hit. A robust server application should be able to handle all of the following:
The Computol Solution
While Baker Framework 4.0 is a fantastic way to easily create HTML-based iOS periodicals, its integration with Apple’s Newsstand and technical requirements can be somewhat confusing.
Computol is currently hard at work creating a hosted Baker server solution that will allow content creators to manage subscribers, update issues, and handle App Store receipts with minimal fuss. Everything this article covers will be integrated into one application with full support from Computol.
In the mean time, feel free to send Baker-related questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we can assist you in any way with your Baker-Newsstand integration.
I Was an iPad Skeptic -
The iPad was released in 2010 to just about every possible reaction: excitement, exhilaration, confusion, and mockery. Nearly three years into the “tablet revolution,” Ars Technica takes a look back at how the iPad has changed lives, affected workflows, and become the go-to device for all sorts of casual computing and light work.
Computol is a company filled with iPads, and we most definitely use them extensively. Gaming provides healthy competition among everyone, Trello’s fantastic iPad app keeps us on task, and countless meetings have been made easier with quick and easy access to emails, files, and presentations.