Experimenting With iBooks Author and Widgets

January 31 2013 by Justin Miller

While most of my time is spent working on the MapBox iOS SDK and helping developers make great native apps, I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to integrate MapBox technologies into mobile devices. One thing that I came across recently was Apple’s iBooks Author app, which allows even non-developers to create multitouch-capable textbooks for the iPad. There are a number of templates and drop-in widgets like popups, embedded video, and sidebars, but through the use of regular HTML – the same simple, copy-and-paste-capable tool that’s used to build web pages – you can build your own widgets for other content.

Using Apple’s custom widgets guide, I was able to craft a small map-embedding widget so that anyone can use their own MapBox maps and easily get them into their own custom content for the iPad. This could be used in iPad-equipped classrooms to more directly engage with a unit on explorers and geography, or it could be used in a training session for employees to discuss global reach and marketshare. In any case, allowing a person to explore the content at their own pace right in their own hands has much more impact than a static presentation on a big screen.

If you would like to experiment with this technology yourself, you can download the following tools that I’ve put together:

As always, feel free to contact me on Twitter or open a support ticket if you have any ideas of your own for better integrating MapBox tools into mobile environments.