September 5, 2014

Q3 Feature Release

New features to help you build better apps with App Press.
Grant Glas
grant@app-press.com

As co-founder and CEO of App Press, Grant created his first app in App Press, and has since built 300 more with over 1M+ downloads.

We’re wrapping up a busy summer here at App Press, and are proud to release new feature updates that will help you build better apps with App Press. We are adding documentation and tutorials in the help center as quickly as possible and are here to help answer any questions as you start using all of these great new features.

Custom Maps

Add custom maps to your app with Mapbox

All App Press customers are now able to create custom maps for their apps. We’ve integrated support for MapBox, an innovative, easy to use service  you use to design beautiful maps with different colors, data visualizations and highlighted points of interest. This fun new feature requires a Mapbox account (there are free and paid account options available at mapbox.com). We’ve enjoyed using Mapbox to create maps that match our app designs, and are certain you will too! 

Broadcast & Targeted Push Notifications API

Send push notifications using our push notifications API

This exciting new feature allows our Enterprise and Agency plan customers to send targeted push notifications to app users based on any set of user preferences. Send targeted messages with personalized updates, deals, or discounts to increase app usage. Contact your account manager or Support to begin integration of your user database to App Press servers. Currently available for iOS projects, we’re working to finish Android support as soon as possible.

Layer and Page Actions

Use actions to create seamless transitions

We’ve greatly extended the actions previously triggered with hotspots. Not only can you assign actions to any hotspot, image or shape layer, you can also assign actions to the page. The new Actions panel is available via the main toolbar. Select a layer to attach specific actions for it or with no layer selected, you can assign actions to the page. This feature also enables triggering different actions for different inputs and gestures. Individual layers support single tap, double tap and long press. Pages support Swipe Up and Down (left and right are still reserved for navigation within the section), Pinch In or Out, Double Tap and Long Press. Remember, you can view existing layer actions or create new ones in the Action Panel and selecting the layer you want. With no layers selected, the Actions Panel will show the page’s actions.  

Timed Page Transitions

Thanks to customer feedback and requests, one of the page action types in this release is a Timed trigger. Be sure no layer is selected, open the Action Panel, Click "add action" at the bottom of the panel, Choose the “Auto” trigger, specify the destination and the Actions panel will display the delay time before the action will occur. Only one Auto action can be associated with each page. All App Press plans can use this feature to transition from your launch page to another page after the delay timer expires.

Advanced Embed Layer

Our amazing customers continue to use the Embed Layer in all sorts of innovative ways to implement complex features that are not yet available in App Press’ standard tools. Forms, social feeds, calculators and more are all possible using Embed layers. To help keep external dependencies under control, you can now reference assets in your project from within the Embed Layer. This enables you to access project images, CSS file, or any other asset you have in your project from your Embed Layer. This feature is currently available only on iOS but we’re working to bring it to Android as soon as possible. We’ll be posting examples to the Help Center shortly but using this feature is as easy as replacing your external image withasset://<asset name>.  

Example:

<img src=”asset://app-press-logo.jpg”> will load a logo stored in the asset drawer and use it inside of a prebuilt form without ever needing to fetch it from the network.  

In App Authentication API

Add use authentication with our in-app authentication API

Business customers (Agency and Enterprise plans) can now protect sections of their application behind a registration or login form. Our beta testers have already used this feature to put key sections of their application behind username & password authentication (with support for both local and server based verification) as well as for marketing purposes to register email addresses. Any section of your app can be protected by the authentication API and you control how long the login/registration is valid. Speak to your account manager or send us an email via Contact Support item in the Help Menu to get started with this feature. Because we’ve not yet finished the authoring interface for this feature, App Press staff have to help enable this feature for your project.

Scroll Locked Text and Embed Layers

Text and Embed layers now have a new property setting allowing all App Press users to force them to a fixed, non-scrollable display. No more automatic scrollbars! Scrolling is now disabled by default. Your text or embed layer will display whatever text is visible within the frame you draw. Those layers will also be locked in position and not appear to scroll or bounce when tapped upon in the device. HTML embed layers also have a Scale to fit option that forces all of the embedded content to fit within the view frame you’ve allocated. Note that these attributes take effect on the device only (in the Previewer or in your live app), not in the authoring UI. Also if you have an existing app published to the App Store, you will have to submit an update to take advantage of this feature. All existing text and embed layers in projects default to having scrolling enabled because that was the behavior prior to this release.

Color Picker Improvements

Check out our improved color picker UI

Were color pickers giving you a hard time? Fear not, color pickers finally allow you to type in a color value directly and also show recent colors you’ve used. This will make it much easier to get exactly the color you want. We have many other color improvements we’re planning and would love your feedback as well. Color palettes, Eye dropper, multi-project color schemes are some of the capabilities coming in a future update so think of this as a small first step towards multi-colored bliss.

All of these features are live in the Studio but you may need to reload your browser page if you leave App Press open in a tab as we do. To view the new features on your device, update App Press Now. To add these features to your already published mobile app, use the “Publish To” menu and submit a new publish request for iOS and/or Android.

This release is just another sign we’re working hard to build a better tool at App Press. As always, please send us any feedback related to our tool as well as any suggestions for future features. We’re constantly looking for new ways to help you create something awesome with App Press. Enjoy these new updates and stay tuned for the next release!

Over the next couple of days we’ll be posting additional details for the bug fixes included in this release and increasing the frequency of our blog posts. We want to give you, our customers, better visibility to what changes and improvements are coming to your mobile authoring platform. App Press: very simple, yet extremely powerful.

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