We have been away for a number of months, preparing one of our most critical major releases made to date. Beside a re-development of our reader, this update has major features added to all our products.
Read below for more details.
Updated Reader v2.0
A clean re-development has been made to our reader using modern frameworks so that it's lighter, faster, and more scalable for future development. This has been a 3-month undergoing effort with a lot of details involved. New features added to our reader from now on will be added to v2.0 so it's better to get accustomed to it as soon as you can. And let's just say, we are rapidly adding new features. So how can you start using the new reader?
In Kotobee Author, when exporting any ebook apps (in any format), you may now choose between this new Reader (v2.0 Beta) or stay with the current default (v1.1).
Note that the reader version is not shown when exporting to standard formats like EPUB, Kindle and PDF, since those are formats which do not carry a bundled reader.
Library or hosted ebook owners can also switch to the new Reader from the respective settings. We have focused hard to prevent any breaking changes in the updated reader. But since this reader is yet in a BETA phase, we are more than happy to give you an additional library or hosted ebook to try and test your work first before deciding to migrate completely!
Kotobee Library Changes
Library View Enhancements
We're excited to announce that you may group your book titles into "library sections", an interface similar to Netflix. Users will be able to horizontally scroll through the book titles in each section.
This is extremely useful if you have a large number of titles and large number of categories. If you are already making use of categories in your library, then you can apply this view by simply editing the display format settings for the category and choosing "Use as a library section".
Among other enhancements we've made is that accessible books will now appear at the start of the book listing. Also in the case of mobile and desktop apps, downloaded books will appear at the start of the book listing. Library book covers should load much faster than before.
Prepackage Books Into Your Library App
Instead of having your users download your library (as a desktop or mobile app) followed by an additional step of downloading one or more books, you can now choose to prepackage books into the app itself. This means the user will be able to open the app offline and read the books immediately, without having to download them. The downside of course is a larger app file to be downloaded, so please use wisely if the book file size is large. This option may be accessed from the book's dashboard settings, under Permissions and Pricing and you may set it for each book independently.
A nice feature that can help you with your business is the possibility to add custom banner images of your choice in the library app's book listing. In combination with the "library sections" view mentioned previously, you may choose where each banner displayed, between which sections.
You can select the type of response when your users click on each banner. The library can open a specific book, filter to a certain category, or open an external URL. You can control the banners dynamically without having to re-export your app. You can find banner settings from the Banners tab under the library's Categories section.
Library Starting Page
An existing option allowed you to set the starting page of your library, whether it's the book listing, or the categories section. You may now additionally specify a certain book to be opened directly once the library is opened. This is available from the library's general settings.
Start With Last Opened Book
If the user has already visited the library before, this option forces the library in future visits to open directly into the book he opened last. This is also available from the library's general settings.
FBX 3D Models
Kotobee Author now supports adding 3D models of the popular FBX extension, owned by Autodesk. This increases the possibility of finding ready-made 3D models to add to your interactive ebooks. You can find and download free FBX models from many websites such as Free3D or TurboSquid.
Convert Mini-Apps Into Widgets
A requested feature, followed by the success of Kotobee Mini-apps, is to integrate those mini-apps inside the book content itself. In other words, to have them behave like book widgets. Starting from version 1.8.0 you can convert any mini-app into a standalone widget file, from the Customize screen. This allows you to use them in different software as well.
PDF Outline Extraction
When importing a PDF, you may now extract the PDF outline (if one exists) and the nesting structure of a PDF file. This is available for the PDF import modes: Accurate & selectable and Editable content.
Since the number of customization options increases with every minor release, we decided to give the customization panel a fresh look along with a usability enhancement. That is the option to find a certain customization by typing in a few letters in the search bar.
Grading and Reporting
Question Expiration Date
It is now possible to set a start and end date for one or more questions in your ebook. You can also set a daily time range during which the question(s) will be visible. Along with question reporting, this is a great way to assess students in a time-limited environment and set their grading.
You will find the setting under the question's Options tab, and can be set for each question set independently.
Enhanced Question Reports
We have added more data and metrics to help you collect more score details and summaries from your self-assessment questions. View the reports visually in Kotobee Author or export them as XLS sheets.
LTI V1.3 Support
Your libraries and cloud ebooks now support the latest LTI version: v1.3. The latest version of LTI gives more security as well as enrichment with new features such as reporting grades (see next feature).
Report Grades Through LTI
Self-assessment question grades can now be reported automatically through LTI, and stored into the LMS gradebook.
Importing and Exporting
Importing Promo Codes
If you have a long list of predefined promo codes you want to import into your library or cloud ebook, you can have them available in an XLS sheet and import them with a click from the promo code's Actions dropdown menu. A template XLS is provided for your guidance.
Export Books as XLS
You may now export an XLS report of all your library books along with the respective information for each. You may find this at the top of your book listing.
Backend API Updates
Through the backend API you may use the following new endpoints:
|api/v1/book/download||Downloads the content of any book by passing its ID.|
|api/v1/library/list||Displays an array of all books in the library, by simply passing the library ID.|
Reader API Updates
The following events have been added to the Reader API:
|preHighlight||Triggered when the user highlights a word or phrase. An object is passed containing more information.|
|preNotebook||Triggered when the user adds a note. An object is passed containing more information.|
|preBookmark||Triggered when the user adds a bookmark. An object is passed containing more information.|
|highlightDeleted||Triggered when the user deletes a highlight. An object is passed containing more information.|
|noteDeleted||Triggered when the user deletes a note. An object is passed containing more information.|
|bookmarkDeleted||Triggered when the user deletes a bookmark. An object is passed containing more information.|
|libraryBooksFetched||Triggered when book thumbnails are fetched in a library and displayed. An array is passed back containing the book objects.|
|preTransition||Triggered immediately before starting the transition animation for changing the page or chapter.|
The following method has also been added:
|setTransition||Set the page transition to one of the following values: flip, card, slide, stack, fade|
Explore all the available properties, methods, and events of the reader API by entering kotobee.documentation in the browser console.
Reader UI Updates
Tap to Hide
The fullscreen mode in the mobile customization now offers a new option: "Tap to hide bars". This option (in contrast to "Tap to show bars") allows the tab menu and header to be visible by default and then hidden once the user taps anywhere unclickable on the screen.
Fit to Width/Height
Previously for fixed layout ebooks, there was an overlaying "fit to height" button which allows the page to fit vertically on the screen. This button is now made optional (you can hide the button from the Display customization tab). A new option allows you to add an additional "fit to width" button to make the page content fit horizontally.
Hide Startup Screen
You now have the option to hide the start screen and if not, you may control for how long you would like it to display.
We have now provided the search functionality in your ebooks with "match word" and "case sensitive" options.
Colored Visited Links in TOC
You can now customize the color of visited links in the Table of Contents.
There is now support for the page-progression-direction EPUB spine attribute. This allows you to control the direction of content navigation (left-to-right or right-to-left) regardless of what user interface language (and direction) is used. This is useful in case you want to be reading an English book through an Arabic interface, or vice versa.
Disable Event Tracking
You now have an advanced customization option which is to disable event tracking. This will let the reader app stop collecting user events, which are used to build up your analytics dashboard. This will lead to faster reading performance, at the cost of losing analytics.
Custom Reader For Enterprise Users
Our infrastructure now supports creating deeply customized readers as an enterprise solution for those who would like a very different design or deep functional changes to our default reader.
Open Extracted EPUB
You can now open an extracted EPUB archive directly. This may be useful if you already have an extract EPUB folder and don't want to archive it back, or even for simple troubleshooting.
EPUB Discovery Metadata
Discovery metadata is now added to exported EPUBs to comply further with EPUB 3.1 specifications. Specifically, the following discovery meta properties have been added:
schema:accessMode, schema: accessModeSufficient, schema: accessibilityFeature, schema: accessibilityHazard, schema: accessibilitySummary.
Countless bugs have also been fixed in this release.
Needless to say, our developers worked very hard to make this release possible, especially with the reader upgrade. So special thanks to them.
Go ahead and download this release from https://www.kotobee.com/products/author/versions and do not hesitate to give us your feedback.
Best of luck and stay safe!