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5ml v2.6: We’ve Only Scratched the Surface

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Sotiris Frontend Developer | 5ml
August 26, 2013

Another development cycle ended and another 5ml release saw the light of day.  The new version, marked 2.6, focuses on bringing 5ml’s projects closer to the end users’ hands, as well as exposing them to an even larger audience than before.

 

You Don’t Need to Immigrate to Become Native

In a post that Eraclis (our QA guy) wrote earlier this year, he described how he managed to take a 5ml project and convert it into a native application for iPhone through 3rd party services.

We liked how easy he managed to do that, especially since he had no prior knowledge of native app building whatsoever, and since then we’ve been discussing and thinking about how we could improve on that.

As such, in 2.6 we introduce the Hybrid App Builder feature!

In a nutshell, 5ml now allows you to export your project as a natively built application, that acts both as an application and a webpage (hence the term “Hybrid”), and that can then be submitted to the app stores for iPhone, iPad, Android and Mobile Windows 8.

Of course, you will need to have the relevant keys, certificates and developer accounts with each of those platforms and app stores.

 

 

All is done in very few steps and clicks:

  • Enable the target devices that you want to build an app for in the project’s settings (while at the same time configuring their names and icons).
  • Then, select Native Builds from the project’s menu, choose the devices that you want to build an app for, enter your developer credentials for each build, and then download the built package on your machine which you can later publish to the app stores.

 

You Scratch My Screen, I’ll Scratch Yours

Regardless of how effectively you’ve replaced paper in your every day routine for its digital equivalent, at least once in your life you’ve scratched the graphite off of a scratch card. Be it a top-up card for your mobile phone or a lottery coupon, we’ve taken the concept of scratching the surface to reveal what’s hidden underneath, and made it into a new widget called “Scratch It”. But don’t take our word for it–give it a go on this “Scratch & Win” 5ml project and you might even win some imaginary money.

Making a scratchable surface is fast and easy:

  • Drag the Scratch-It widget to the stage, select the top layer (the one that will be scratched away) and change its color. It can be a solid color, a gradient color or even an image.
  • Put the content that you want to be revealed in the bottom layer.
  • Fiddle with the options, such as the opacity, softness and border of the overlay, the fingertip size, and the percentage of the revealed content needed to activate an action
  • Done!

Include anything you want in the content layer–it can even be animated, or in 3D.

You can also use this widget in many innovative ways. For instance, put an image in the content, and set the cover to white with 50% opacity. It will look like a fogged window that you can wipe through with your finger.

 

That’s a Great Project You Got There…Now Make It Into An Ad

Consider the following cases:

1.  You have been working on an exciting project for the last 3 hours, and then you realize that you have selected the project type to be a rich media ad by mistake, when in fact you wanted to build a website.

2.  You built a nice website project for your company, and your manager wants to use it as a rich media ad.

3.  You built an interstitial rich media ad project, only to realize that the media outlets require a two-part expandable one.

 

Up to now, all of the above would be terrible news, as it would be required to start the project from scratch, selecting the proper project type. In 2.6 however, we have added the ability to convert projects from one type to the other. Just back your project up and re-import it into 5ml. During the import process, you can select the type of project you want your project to be imported as. Crisis averted.

 

There’s A Berry On My Window

The powers that be have bestowed us with exciting new devices and new operating systems with extended capabilities over their predecessors.

We went ahead and made sure that 5ml and its widgets will perform and render as expected on Windows 8 equipped devices (and by extension, Internet Explorer 10 on desktops), as well as the new Blackberry  Z10 and Q10 sporting the Blackberry OS 10.

Note: While Internet Explorer 10 on Desktop and Mobile Windows 8 devices now supports CSS 3D Transforms, it doesn’t yet support it fully (for instance, you can transform a single rectangle in 3D, but you cannot make a cube). Microsoft has pledged to address this issue in a future version of Internet Explorer.

 

Life, Made A Little Bit Easier

Sometimes, it’s the little things and details that speed up development and make our lives easier. We managed to pack some usability improvements into this release.

  • In the Assets library, you can now see and upload simultaneously ALL types of assets (Audio, Video and Images) instead of being forced to filter them by one type only.
  • Search functionality added in the Administration pages of the Organization’s Super Admin. You can now filter the results (organizations, brands and projects) by names and creation dates.
  • The Brand Name that a project belongs to is now also visible in the Project’s Settings page.

 

And Finishing Up With Insecticide

Just as there are infinitely more ants than people on this planet, there are also infinitely more bugs than developers. We spotted quite a few of them, sprayed them with BugFix Ultra™ and now they’re gone.

 

As this post’s obvious pun in the title suggests, we’ve only scratched the surface. There’s a wide array of new and exciting features that we have planned to include in the next release of 5ml. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog, as we’ll be giving you a sneak peak… Soon™

 

 

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