Easy HTML5 Animations in iBooks using Tumult Hype and iBooks Author

Version 1.5 of Tumult Hype allows direct exporting to iBooks Author widgets. It’s as easy as:

  • Create an animation
  • File > Export > Dashboard / iBooks Author
  • Drag the generated .wdgt file into iBooks.
We have a number of articles in our iBooks widget support area that cover various topics in HTML widget creation. The video below demonstrates the workflow for exporting an HTML widget from Tumult Hype:

The below explanation is for version 1.0.5, but may be an interesting read if you’re interested in the inner workings of iBooks widgets.

Yesterday (January 19th) Apple announced iBooks Author, an application that makes designing rich ebooks for the iPad as easy as creating a Keynote presentation. We’ve been asked many times already whether a Tumult Hype animation will work within iBooks 2. The answer is Yes.

As you may have heard, iBooks Author uses the Dashcode HTML widget format for embedding HTML, so any HTML within that format can be embedded in a book. It’s just a matter of placing your exported Hype animation within the dashcode format. You won’t be needing Dashcode, since we’ve prepared a info.plist file for this purpose. This is the general workflow:

Hype Export → Create a Widget → iBooks Author → HTML5 Animations within iBooks!

To get started, you’ll need a Tumult Hype exported document and iBooks Author.

Note: Your exported Hype document should be 900 width × 640 height or smaller. This is the area of the widget space. Any size larger than this will be scaled down. Sizes smaller than this will produce a centered element in the widget preview space.

Creating a .wdgt file from a Hype export Folder

  1. First, export your Hype document and make sure you have both ‘Also Save .html’ and ‘Create Enclosing Folder’ options checked. If you name your file ‘index’ then you will need to make fewer changes.
  2. In the folder you’ve just created, add the file ‘Info.plist’, which you can get from our set of demo files here. Open that file with a text editor, and match up the name of your .html file to the value under the ‘MainHTML’ area. You’ll also need to match the width and height of your document. You can find your document size in the ‘Document Inspector.’
  3. Set a preview image for your widget by adding an image named ‘Default.png’ to this folder. A quick way to do this is to go to your first scene, take a screenshot by pressing command+shift+4, and then click and drag over your scene area. This generates a PNG on your desktop which you can rename and move into place.
  4. Now that you have Info.plist in order, and a default image, your folder structure should look like the image below. The final step to create your widget is to rename the folder that contains those files to have .wdgt at the end.

Importing your Widget to iBooks Author


To add your Hype document to a book in iBooks Author, go to the page where you’d like to place it, then click ‘Widgets’ > HTML. It’s best to be in ‘Landscape’ mode to do this. You’ll then see a new widget and a file button in the inspector where you can select the widget you just exported. You’ll notice that your ‘Default.png’ image is the placeholder for your animation. To preview your widget, click on it, then click ‘Edit HTML’. To see it on your iPad, plug it into your computer, then click the ‘Preview’ button.

You’ll notice that your animation will place once, so depending on the effect you’re going for, you may want a ‘replay animation’ button for your users.

That’s it! You now have an HTML5 animation within a book ready for iTunes.

If you’re trying to create more advanced animations, please check out our forums.

We’d love to see what you make. Please share with us @hypeapp or in our forums if you’ve put together a Hype-enabled ebook.

Note: At this time it seems that .mp4 videos within iBooks widgets are not supported, though there is a workaround that involves referencing an .mp4 file via an iframe.

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