App Press, the provider of a Web-based CMS designed to enable the creation of code-free iOS and Android apps, is positioning itself as a direct competitor to the well-established Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). This is a bold move on the part of App Press, so lets briefly review the main features and functions of each solution and compare and contrast what they offer app designers.
App Press Targets Convenience, Artists
Promoting its platform as having no software to install and a user interface that resembles Photoshop, App Press is clearly targeting users who seek convenience and flexibility in developing iOS and Android apps.
The vendor touts its signature platform as providing app developers with a “blank canvas” where they can upload content layers with touch-enabled functionality. “Hotspot layers” allow links within the app or to external sites with linear or non-linear navigation.
Layers are stored in a Photoshop-style “Asset Library.” According to App Press, the platform is aimed at graphic designers who are more familiar with creating art than coding apps, and even enables a designer to create an app as a “true Bohemian artist.” Varying levels of service and support, including help in creating asset libraries and designing apps, are available in differently priced packages.
Adobe DPS Targets Technical Users
While App Press targets users who are seeking convenience and may be of a more artistic than technical bent, Adobe slants DPS more toward enterprise users and users from a more traditional IT background.
There are three versions of DPS: Single Edition (for individual designers and small studios), Professional Edition (for mid-sized companies seeking an off-the-shelf solution) and Enterprise Edition (for larger organizations seeking a custom solution). DPS is a hosted solution, meaning there is also no software to install, but still requires establishing SaaS links that are not necessary with App Press.
All three editions of DPS allow users to create an unlimited number of .folio files, preview interactive content on desktop and iPad, share content, and sell single-folio applications through the Apple app store.
The Professional Edition allows users to sell multi-folio apps through several online app marketplaces and also to have access to prebuilt analytic reports and integration with Adobe InDesign. The Enterprise Edition includes all of these features as well as additional capabilities such as creating private apps behind corporate firewalls and providing content access to existing readers and customers through direct entitlement.
App Press appears to be mainly challenging Adobe DPS at the single-user or small business level, and is specializing in graphic designers as opposed to technical app developers. The app development field is now broad enough that there should be enough room even in this niche space for more than one provider.
Adobe does have the advantage even among small users of its widespread existing user base, which App Press tacitly recognizes by using Photoshop as its UI model. If App Press can deliver its promised convenience and graphic design capabilities, it has a fighting chance of surviving in a DPS-dominated world.