My WoodWing Xperience 2011

“More thoughts on digital publishing”, that was the blog post I did a little while ago. Result: I got invited by WoodWing to join their WoodWing Experience conference in Amsterdam (24-25 May). I already had plans for 23 May (Adobecadabra Monday) so it wasn’t a very tough decision to stay in Amsterdam for just one more day. WoodWing has come a long way since their beginning in 2000. Just a small company which provided InDesign and InCopy users with smart plugins for better productivity and workflow. Now WoodWing is bigger and yes better, they offer still thos nifty awesome plugins (I love Smart Styles!) but they have gone further. Now they offer their Enterprise systeem with a Content Delivery Server. This means your publications can be well planned, organized and the output can be many things. Print, web, email, sms and yes…tablet publishing. Since iPad came around WoodWing was one of the first to get a well known magazine to the iPad. Time magazine. Since then it took off like a rocket both in iPad sales as in digital magazines. There you have it, a little story about WoodWing. But what did they tell me at Experience 2011?

Well let me just say it’s hard to choose between some keynotes/speakers, you can’t be in two places at the same time right? The Xperience started with the keynote given by Hans Janssen, CEO of WoodWing who took us into the digital revolution that’s going on. He introduced his fellow founder Erick Schut as well who took the stage for a brief more technical point of view. By the way if you ever get the chance to see the Chapel in the Barbizon Amsterdam, it’s fantastic! I was very curious about the next speaker, Michiel Buitelaar from Sanoma. Sanoma is a very big publisher, it owns many (print) titles and will soon have tv (Veronica, SBS6 and Net5) as well. He told us about the problems Sanoma ran into when hitting this tablet market. One of the things he really pointed out was to use the expertise of print (designers) and online for apps and tablet design. He also told us he wasn’t bothered by the 30% fee Apple charges, Apple has a really important thing going with the AppStore. Customers trust that enviroment so buying apps, magazines and/or newspapers is easy.

After this keynote it was time to get to the core of the Xperience. I went to see Victor Cardoso en Jeff Gapp (both WoodWing Evangelists) for a technical view of the WoodWing plugins to create magazines for tablets. Their set of panels is pretty neat! They have also build in Multiscreen awareness. That means you don’t have to create different files for different devices (with other screendimensions) you simply adjust the artboard. The panels are better, imho, than the Overlay Creator Adobe offers. Let’s say this: Slideshowpanel vs Overlay Creator 10-0!

Is it all that better, well not everything. I noticed everything was preview using the Apple iOS SDK. Adobe offers the preview app, that’s easier than getting the iOS SDK (mind you I know how to get it, just talking on behalf of our “lazy” designers). Victor ended his demo with a nice promise, there will be hotspot on hotspot feature within 30 days! Jeff Gapp continued with the use of widgets, an easy way to implement interactivity into your design like Twitter search, rss feeds or a “Like” button. In short your way to connect with Social Media. He showed some animation with jQueary and was really fast to already implement something with Hype.

After a great lunch, I attended the talk about OFIP. This is still in progress and it will be intresting to see if other will contribute and see if this can become the open standard. Singing: Who’s down with Oo-faai-pee? Yeah, you know me!! Time flies when you’re having fun and it was time first the lasst session of the day, Dennis van Nooij (WoodWing) showed the evolution and the roadmap for the Reader apps made by WoodWing for the tablets. There’s a lot of interesting stuff coming in very short times on all tablets. So after a full day of information we ended the day on an dinner canalcruise, a great day to speak with other attendees. I was fortunate to meet a very intresting “subject” for an upcoming nIDug Magazine interview so I can’t reveal his name right now! I wasn’t able to attend day 2, so I can’t tell you anything about it apart from the fact that my vriend Peter Villevoye a.k.a. Studea, won a Galaxy Tab!

I’d like to thank WoodWing for inviting me to their Xperience, it’s was really interesting and a lot of fun!

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