How to track page views in PDF documents for page flip publications using Google Analytics

Tuesday 28th January 2014

PDF files typically act as a external component inside your web page and interacting with them from your web site isn’t typically possible, therefore tracking how your visitors view your PDF files can be tricky. This tutorial shows how to track your visitors reading habits for your PDF documents when using FlexPaper.

Publishing documents in FlexPaper can be done in multiple ways. The easiest way to convert a PDF document to a web publication is to use our desktop publisher. Desktop Publisher features the ability to add your Google Analytics tracking code without any programming knowledge. It is available in both Mac OS X and Windows.

The first step is to fill out the field with your Google Analytics tracking code. It typically looks like something this: UA-10199999-1. The screen shot above shows where to enter your tracking code inside desktop publisher. Now all you have to do is to publish your publication (using the “publish & view button), upload the contents to your web server and wait for the statistics to roll in. 

After logging in to Google Analytics, the statistics for your documents can be found under "Behaviour” and then “Events”. You can see the path to the analytics pointed out in the screenshot below and marked with [1] and [2]

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You can choose to view the analytics by Category, Action or Label. We have chosen to view them by label as this also shows how many times each page in the PDF document has been viewed. You can see the page views in the screen shot above marked with [3].

We hope this tutorial helped you in understanding how to start tracking your visitors and their behavior inside your PDF documents using Google Analytics! 

Free cloud web hosting for your PDF flip books!

Tuesday 21st January 2014

Who doesn’t love a free lunch every now and then?! If you don’t have a server to upload your pdf flip book to then you can actually use DropBox for hosting your pdf documents! This guide will show you the few steps you need to go through if you want to publish your document using our desktop publisher and then host it for free on Dropbox. 

1) Download Desktop Publisher for Zine from the following location (it is available for both Mac OS X and Windows):
http://flowpaper.com/flexpaper_flip_zine.jsp

2) Open a PDF document in Desktop Publisher

Click on the top left button to open a PDF document you want to publish. Adjust your style and make your necessary adjustments for the document you want to publish
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3) When ready, publish the document it using the “Publish & View” button in the top right corner.
Clicking the “Publish & View” button will bring up the publishing dialog which lets you adjust the settings for how you want to publish the document. Leave all settings as they are without modifying them.

4) Click the “Publish” button and wait for FlexPaper to finish processing the document

Clicking this button will trigger FlexPaper to start processing your PDF document and convert it into required HTML5, HTML4 and Flash files so that your flip book publication can be viewed across multiple devices

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5) Click the “View folder” button when the publishing process has completed. 

Clicking this button will show you the files you will need to copy to your DropBox folder. You can also chose to preview the publication by clicking the “View in browser” or “Mobile preview”. 


6) Copy the files into your DropBox Public folder
The DropBox Public folder is a folder where you can place files you want to make available to anyone and where you can host web files. Create a sub folder in this folder and call it “pdf-flip-book-publication”. Now copy all the files that Desktop Publisher has produced for you into this folder. 

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Voila! All done! If you want to try your publication in your browser, simply right click on the “index.html” file that you have copied into your destination folder and choose “Copy Public Link”. This will copy the URL for your publication into your clip board. You can paste this link into your browser to view your pdf publication. The link should look something like this:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/13295266/pdf-flip-book-publication/index.html

HOW TO USE DROPBOX WITH YOUR DOMAIN (for advanced users)
Dropbox can also be used with your own domain name if you prefer to share this as opposed to the dropbox.com domain. The following tutorial shows a good example on how to do this with CNAME records:

http://www.techairlines.com/custom-domain-dropbox/

FlexPaper 2.2.2 Release notes

Sunday 19th January 2014

We hope everybody had a good start on their new year! This release was initially planned to contain our new offline publishing capabilities but due to bugs in the latest Google Chrome browser’s javascript engine (Chrome 32) which we had to work around in order to maintain stability, we decided to push this release into production without the offline capabilities. Google will most likely fix these issues soon but we felt the need to respond quickly to make sure you don’t have to wait for Google’s fix. You will only be affected by the bugs in Chrome if you have published your document in html5 mode.

Offline publishing through Desktop Publisher will be made available at the end of January/ beginning of February.

How to update:
This release does not require you to republish any of your documents so if you want to install the update without republishing your documents then simply copy and replace the following resources from the distribution file that you are using:

  • FlexPaperViewer.swf
  • js/     (directory)
  • css/    (directory)

Enhancements and corrections in this release:

  • Issue fixed where some 1-page documents would fail to load in IE8 when using HTML mode

  • Adjustments to image quality in publishing to Flash from desktop publisher
  • PDF2JSON updated to escape all control characters and version bumped to 0.68
  • Mouse wheel zooming now tracks the mouse movements in Flash and HTML5 mode of FlexPaper Zine
  • Read only mode now possible to set through the UIConfig file in Zine. Desktop Publisher also made more clear about where to find this mode. Trial users of Desktop Publisher are now also able to try this mode.
  • Missing retina icons included in Desktop Publisher for Windows
  • Classic viewer improved to use the supplied thumbnail images
  • Accuracy of navigation improved in thumb view mode for the classic viewer to avoid unintentional clicking on thumb nails
  • Issue fixed where links on single page PDF documents were mispositioned in HTML5 format
  • Desktop Publisher now retries in more scenarios if publishing fails on first attempt 
  • Support for file names with brackets ([,]) added to desktop publisher
  • Safari version 4 and below now displays thumbnails in Zine HTML4 mode properly
  • Issue fixed where going into true full screen twice in a row in Classic Customizable build caused the viewer to resize improperly
  • Landscape documents now display thumb nails in correct proportions when using HTML5 mode in IE version 9
  • Issue fixed where the current search match would disappear when scrolling through the Classic viewer in HTML4/HTML5 mode
  • Issue fixed where links,video and images would not be repositioned/resized properly if the viewer was resized or repositioned in HTML5 mode while using the flip book mode
  • Issue fixed where images added to our flip book viewer would be incorrectly loaded in some scenarios when using the flash viewer
  • A first version of highlighting using Adobe XML added to API for the HTML4/HTML5 viewer
  • Support for mail address links added to Desktop Publisher
  • All locale settings now fully supported in FlexPaper customizable classic
  • It is now possible to bind links to images in desktop publisher when using the add link button
  • Earlier versions of Safari (below 5) are now supported in the HTML4 mode
  • Desktop Publisher now exports hidden text as well to better support OCR scanned documents
  • HTML5 rendering routine updated 0.8.894 (build #ac91047)

A word on privacy and security in our web based pdf viewer.

Sunday 12th January 2014

In light of the details that has surfaced around how NSA operates, we feel the need to comment on how this possibly affects FlexPaper and the way our software works. 

Staying in control over how our clients choose to distribute their PDF documents has always been a priority for us. We believe that you and only you should decide how and where your pdf documents are distributed and who has access to them. As a consequence, all our components run independently on your own server and desktop. None of our (or any other external) servers are involved in the publishing process. This means that you can take FlexPaper with you and perform work regardless of if you’re in a offline or online environment and you are not depending on any of our servers being online in order for your content to be available to your visitors. None of your content is available online unless you decide to upload them to a server of your choice. 

FlexPaper desktop publisher also has the ability to protect your content by encrypting the original PDF and adding signing functionality around the published files. Desktop Publisher provides you with full access to the PHP files used to protect the content. This means that you can add your own checks and controls to decide who gets to access and view a certain publication. To access this functionality, simply expand the “Advanced Settings” part of the publishing dialog. Don’t have desktop publisher installed yet? Download it and add page turn effects and mobile support to your PDF documents in a whiff!

http://flowpaper.com/flexpaper_flip_zine.jsp

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Tutorial: How to convert and publish a PDF as a flip book publication on your WordPress blog

Wednesday 8th January 2014

Our WordPress plugin for our PDF document viewer has gained a lot of attention and we receive a lot of questions around how to use FlexPaper together with WordPress in cases where you can’t use the on the fly publishing mechanisms. Sometimes the server provider you are using doesn’t support third party plug ins installed so this tutorial shows a way of publishing a document to a WordPress blog (or any other blog in fact) without being dependent on our WordPress plugin. 

REQUIREMENTS
To follow the steps in this tutorial you will need to install FlexPaper Desktop Publisher for Zine. The desktop Publisher is available for Mac and PC and you can download it here:
http://flowpaper.com/flexpaper_flip_zine.jsp

1] OPEN YOUR PDF DOCUMENT IN DESKTOP PUBLISHER image

Make the adjustments you want to make to your page flip publication. You can adjust whether you want the PDF should be converted from PDF to HTML5 or PDF to Adobe Flash. You can also select a secondary format such as HTML4 so that older browsers can still view the publication even if the more modern formats are not available. 

2] CLICK ON PUBLISH & VIEW AND PUBLISH YOUR PUBLICATION
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Clicking the publish & view dialog will allow you to select a local folder to publish your pdf flip publication. This folder can be anywhere on your computer. This dialog also allows you to sign and protect your publication so that only users you have given a password or otherwise authorised are able to view it. 

You can preview your publication on mobile or in a browser when you are done publishing your document. 

3] UPLOAD THE PUBLICATION TO YOUR WEB SITE
The files you can see if you click the “View folder” button are the files you will need to upload to your web site. 
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A lot of people use FTP to upload contents to their servers and other people use something like SCP or a web based uploader. If you use FTP to access your server in order to upload contents then we recommend using a free tool such as FileZilla

4] EMBED THE FLIP BOOK PUBLICATION ON YOUR BLOG USING THE IFRAME TAG
Once you are done uploading the contents of the folder outlined above, you are ready to add it to your WordPress blog. We have uploaded our example into a folder we have called “catalogue”. Add a new empty post inside WordPress and switch over to the “HTML” view mode of the post. Paste the following snippet as shown below:

http://yourdomain.com/catalogue/

imageAs you can see in the code snippet, we’re using the url “http://yourdomain.com” and the subfolder “catalogue”. You will need to replace the domain name with your domain and the folder with the folder where you have uploaded your document. Voila! All done! Click publish to have a look at your newly published document.

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Merry Christmas!

Sunday 22nd December 2013

Christmas is almost here and we just wanted to send our best wishes to all our great customers we have had this year. With our classic viewer continuing to be a popular choice we have also seen our Zine viewer make great progress with thousands of flip books published using Zine.

2013 has been a great year for FlexPaper and with some great ideas we hope to to make 2014 even better! 

Merry Christmas!

FlexPaper 2.2.1 Release Notes

Tuesday 10th December 2013

We have started rolling out version 2.2.1 today. Our Zine viewer is the first viewer to be updated. Annotations and Classic builds will be updated at the beginning of next week.

  • Issue fixed where performing a search in FlexPaper Zine flash followed by switching into a different view would cause the viewer not to show the document
  • Improvements to the annotations build making the note widget easier to resize on touch devices
  • Issue fixed where a selection from a lower point to a higher point would create an incorrect annotation mark in the Classic Annotations viewer
  • Issue fixed where it wasn’t possible to select text inside annotation notes on iPad
  • Issue fixed where annotations would not be repositioned properly on resize of the browser window in HTML5 mode
  • Regression issue fixed where the annotations viewer would not resize on rotating a device
  • Fixed an issue related to external urls missing the leading “http://” which would not work in the flash mode of Zine
  • Optimizations for landscape documents in Flash mode within FlexPaper Zine
  • Issue fixed where publications with their thumbnails hidden in Zine would in some scenarios not show in IE10
  • Fisheye thumbnails improved for Zine in IE9 and IE10 when using FlexPaper in flip book mode with rendering mode set to HTML4 or HTML5
  • Mouse wheel support added for Zine (when viewing your publication as a flip book)
  • Issue fixed where fisheye thumbnails in Zine would appear in full screen even if turned off if the viewer was using PreviewMode. This was affecting the flash viewer only
  • Validation of documents containing non-JSON (non printable, control characters) compatible characters further improved in Desktop Publisher
  • Improved accuracy of selections in HTML4 and HTML5
  • FlexPaper in HTML5 mode now allows documents to be loaded from a Uint8Array. An example of how this is done will be posted on our blog.
  • Improved android pinching support in FlexPaper flip book mode
  • Rendering quality further improved for Android devices in flip book mode
  • Rendering quality further improved for iOS retina devices in flip book mode
  • Issue fixed where Zine would zoom unintentionally when dragging the corners of the pages in HTML5 and HTML4 mode
  • Links will now give a link hint when hovering a page in Zine in both Flash and HTML5
  • New Zine style property: Link color. Use this to set the desired link color in your publications
  • Issue fixed where the mobile preview in Desktop Publisher would respond to single clicks as opposed to double clicking which is what mobile devices do

HTML5 browser support : a study using the ability to create PDF flip book publications for the web

Monday 9th December 2013

The support for HTML5 is still growing rapidly and while it is quite easy to estimate how large the market share is for HTML5 compatible browsers, it is much more difficult to make an estimate as to which devices that are powerful enough to really make use of the HTML5 technologies that are being used.

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Mobile browser market share November 2013, source: netmarketshare.com

 

While most Android devices are using the latest super competent versions of Google Chrome, they still lack in CPU to really be able to make use of all features. Mobile Safari is in our experience still the most performant mobile browser, but is still to date (5 years from its initial release) experiencing stability problems and intermittent crashes when you push it to use more advanced HTML5 features. There are no official statistics on how frequent these crashes occur, but many studies point to Safari as one of the most crash prone browsers.

To overcome problems with memory and CPU usage, a mobile version which reduces the CPU usage is still the only real way through this. As an example, FlexPaper uses a mobile-optimized version of its HTML5 flip book viewer (see example here). This version only uses browser features which have been proven to be less power and memory hungry.

 

OUR ESTIMATE OF THE ACTUAL MARKET SHARE VERSUS THE USABLE
There are many different sources for browser statistics. For example W3Schools, StatCounter Global Statistics. Together with statistics over browser features, from sites like HTML5Readiness and findMeByIP, it is relatively easy to  make an estimate as to how large the market share is for browsers supporting the majority of HTML5 features is today. Our current estimate is that 90% of all browsers are HTML5 compatible in a reasonable sense.

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To get some sort of sense of how large portion of the market that can really use these features, you then have to take a look at the devices that are out in use. From looking at these statistics, we believe that an accurate estimate today is somewhere in the range of 70-80% of how many browsers that are actually useful in a HTML5 sense. You can find the above illustration in more detail on our “HTML4, Flash or HTML5” page. This page also outlines which features that are supported on the major devices and browsers.

 

CONTINUOS FLEXPAPER IMPROVEMENTS

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We’re continuously improving our HTML5 rendering mode for mobile devices. Our upcoming December release gets to enjoy even higher rendering quality for retina devices. Contact us for a pre-release!

A guide on creating interactive PDF flip book publications: adding images or videos with jQuery or with an app

Sunday 1st December 2013

Creating interactive PDF publications with videos or overlaying the PDF document with images or links often requires programming or other technical skills. With this guide, we try to clarify and explain the different ways you can make your PDF interactive both for offline and online scenarios. 

CREATING INTERACTIVE ONLINE PDF PUBLICATIONS

If you want to publish your PDF document to the web, then using a solution with support for multiple formats (HTML5, Adobe flash, HTML4) is a must in order to reach all devices and browsers.

Most if not all commercially available solutions places a requirement on the end user to either have flash installed on their desktop or for the end user to use one of the later versions of one of the modern browsers (for HTML5 to work) to enable this type of functionality. We decided not to restrict our users to one technology but rather give you the choice of which technology to use. This also makes it possible for your users to gracefully fall back to one or the other technologies if one is not supported in their browser. 

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To add a video, link or image using FlexPaper desktop publisher, simply click one of the buttons located at the lower right corner of the desktop publisher design screen. This will make your cursor into a crosshair allowing you to draw an area on your PDF document where you would like to place your interactive content.

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A dialog window will pop up after creating your selection. We have pasted a YouTube url into the add video dialog as seen above. Clicking OK will finalise this process. 

CREATING INTERACTIVE PDF PUBLICATIONS FOR OFFLINE DISTRIBUTION

There are numerous tools available to add videos or images to PDF documents for offline use. Even Adobe Acrobat offers some functionality on doing this.

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* Screenshot from Adobe Acrobat X

If you’re after exporting your interactive material into a PDF document and distributing this as a file then Adobe FireWorks in CS4 is a really good way to go about doing this. The video tutorial below from Adobe is a great start on creating interactive PDF documents (and saving them as PDF).

http://tv.adobe.com/embed/107/1404/

FlexPaper 2.2.0 Release Notes

Monday 25th November 2013

  • Search abstracts added to the FlexPaper Classic viewer

  • New flat design implemented for FlexPaper Classic customizable build
  • Page loader position corrected in FlexPaper Classic
  • Touch/swipe regression issue corrected for FlexPaper Classic
  • New init view mode added for touch devices. Supplying “TouchInitViewMode” will use the supplied view mode for touch only devices such as tablets, phones. If nothing is supplied then the viewer will assume “SinglePage” for tablets/phones
  • Touch/swipe improved in SinglePage mode for FlexPaper Classic
  • +/- buttons now zooming on touch devices too, were previously using fit width/fit height
  • Pinch/Zoom for SinglePage mode on touch devices improved
  • Margin adjustments to annotation tool bars
  • Mixed Mode (optimized HTML5 loading) added to modes: ‘Portrait’, ‘TwoPage’, ‘BookView’ and ‘ThumbView’. Split mode is required to take advantage of MixedMode.
  • Issue related to loading document files across domains in Flash split mode fixed
  • Issue fixed related to loading different size documents in Flash (Portrait mode) where the resulting page would be too large (causing extra white space around the page)
  • Issue corrected where pages were not being unloaded properly in some scenarios for the HTML4 portrait and single page rendering mode
  • Fixed an issue where the selectable text would not be added properly when using split mode in TwoPage and SinglePage for the HTML4 rendering mode
  • Minor corrections for the HTML4 mode when using the Flip Book mode.
  • PDF2JSON updated to version 0.66 improving with the ability to fully describe external links
  • Issue fixed where link hints (hovering over a page) in HTML5/HTML4 mode would not be removed when rolling out of the page
  • New publication preview mode added which shows the front page of the publication with a clickable arrow. Set the ‘PreviewMode’ parameter to ‘FrontPage’ to use this new mode. The parameter ‘PublicationTitle’ can also be set in conjunction to this which will display a title for the publication if set.
  • Issue fixed where onCurrentPageChanged was not being fired in Portrait when using Zine (the turn page/flip book) in flash mode
  • Retina rendering mode for iPad in Zine improved further in performance in particular as to how dom elements are created
  • Publication preview can now be configured in the style section inside FlexPaper Desktop Publisher
  • Fixed an issue where certain links would not be clickable in very specific scenarios when using FlexPaper flash in flip book mode
  • Various performance optimizations
  • Improved dispose method for Zine in HTML5/HTML4 mode as some references to events were still undisposed after calling dispose
  • Reduced memory footprint on the flip book in HTML5 and HTML4 mode