This has been a great year for our hometown of Chicago. The Cubs won the World Series, the city survived the after party, and then life went back to normal. As we near the end of this great year, I want to take a moment to provide an update on the progress made in READynamic, our eBook client-server solution that we introduced over the summer. Since our launch, we have been working diligently to enhance aspects of the product in response to customer requests. As a result, an updated version 2.1, is now available.

The new version is available for both potential customers looking to evaluate the solution and for existing customers, looking to upgrade to the new features. Our demo server has been updated – contact us for more information, as well as the Android and iOS apps.

This update continues our goal to give our customers new tools to efficiently deploy our solution and to further develop content and business models that can better serve their education needs. The key changes include:

  • Loan support
  • Revamped server installation process
  • Strengthened content protection
  • Improved reading experience by adding page numbers to EPUB books.

The most visible new feature to system and end users in this update is the addition of loan support. This is often a key feature for school and corporations providing document access. We can now better support business rules based on expiring content, such as textbook rentals and time-sensitive corporate content. Once content access is assigned to the user for a given period of time, the content will not be readable past this period. To make this feature easy to use, the expiration period can be set through the portal interface manually by the owner (administrator) of the book during the process of granting access to users; or, set using the server API.

To make the loaned book distinguishable from other books, a small clock icon has been added to the book’s thumbnail image on the bookshelf,  both in the user’s bookshelf on the web portal and on the READynamic apps on devices. If you are implementing your own bookshelf that replaces the portal in READynamic, you can add the loan indicator icon in the manner that makes the most sense for your portal and your reading audience.

For someone reading content like trade books, it may not be critical to be able to see page numbers. In classroom settings, however, a teacher often needs to point to a specific location in a book, typically by page number. To support our user’s learning experience, we started honoring the page numbers in EPUB books. For EPUB files with explicit page number tags, we will display them as they are defined. Unlike PDF files, EPUB files do not always come with the distinct page numbering system. So if an eBook does not have page number tagging, the system automatically provides an estimate, making certain assumptions about the page size of the book. This information is then applied consistently to a book regardless of which device or web browser on which the book is being displayed.

We’ve also strengthened the content protection. We’ve obfuscated the content when they are stored on the devices, so books cannot be retrieved in plain, unencrypted form. In the browser, copying and re-assembling content from content streaming is made more difficult with these changes. For the new obfuscation to take effect, books need to be uploaded and processed after the server is configured to obfuscate content. For existing customers, any existing books will need to be re-processed to be able also to take advantage of this change.

Last, but not least, we redesigned the product installation and update process. We moved away from a manual installation process that could take up to 3-dozen or so commands with resources in many locations. You can imagine the potential points of failure. We’ve now taken it down to a few simple commands, then let the Docker container perform the rest. We were aiming for precision and accomplished it. Previous installs took many hours, or even days to complete, depending on what kind of errors happened along the way. The new installation process has reduced the time and points of failure drastically, so you can get started and complete the install in no time.

If you like the changes you are reading here, give us a shout. Let us work with you to take advantage of the READynamic solution, built for classroom learning and business publishing, as well as managing the distribution of content while giving users a rich interactive experience. Stay tuned for more exciting product news in 2017!

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