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Is it possible to bundle .pdf files in apps

07-06-2012, 04:07 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Posts: 5,587
Is it possible to bundle .pdf files in apps

I'm no developer, but I figured this would be the place to ask.

I'm old school, and wish to have some documentation for my programs, at least complex ones. This has long made me wish that, If it were possible, Devs', especially those who make strategy games, could include a .pdf file with some basic instructions.

One example is Great Little Wargame. I've had it for a long time now but haven't been able to play it because I could not find rules for it anywhere, and I don't believe it includes a tutorial. I don't believe I'm just being thick; I've spent hundreds of hours playing the likes of Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, all of the Panzer General games, and Steel Panthers: World at War, which I doubt anyone would describe as simple.

So, is it possible to bundle a non-native iOS assets like a PDF file in with a game, or does an app have to be a single, stand alone file? Productivity apps often come with example .pdfs, but they are designed to manipulate them within the app.

It would be great (at least for me) to be able to buy a game, export the instructions into iBooks, my PDF reader of choice, or print them out before diving in. This coming from someone who actually read the entire Falcon 3.0 manual

If it can't be done, perhaps some designers would consider linking to .pdf's instead of just YouTube videos or websites which have to be scoured though to find any relevant info.

Just an example: I think many people who own Playdek games, at least hardcore gamers (hardcore as in gamers who enjoy complexity), would find it very helpful to have a rulesheet and cardlist available for perusing while not in the game.

If they can't be included, maybe some dev's would consider linking to pdf's.

Last edited by Greyskull; 07-06-2012 at 06:06 PM. Reason: Typos
07-07-2012, 08:53 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 194
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That's certainly possible. I've done something like this in my app. App's aren't single files anyway. Neither on Mac nor on iOS. They're camouflaged folders. On OS X you can right click any app and select "Show Bundle Content" to see what's in there. Usually you'll find a lot of resource files (images, sounds) the executable file itself and other stuff.

The problem on iOS is, that you can't access these files (except if you jailbreak your device). So you can only export these files (a documentation for instance) if the developer implemented a way to do it.

Developer of Practice Pro for musicians.
07-07-2012, 11:31 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,770
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Yes, PDFs can be included. Showing a PDF in an app is really easy too - it's mostly just a UIWebView with the PDF file as its URL source. Adding your own controls and stuff would be harder, of course.
07-08-2012, 01:51 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Posts: 5,587
Thanks...that was very informative. I knew .ipa's were bundles, I wasn't sure how the fire structure worked.

I'm trying to remember which compression format is apple (or unix/Linux flavored) specific. A long time ago, I had Escape Velocity: Nova for PC. To enable addons, I needed to use a very specific decompression program, I think it was called gzip or gunzip...this is years ago.

To gunner: I believe the file system can be accessed without jail breaking, on a PC, using a program like iExplorer. After all, you don't need a jailbroken phone to insert image files into iDos (if you still have it) or Amuelia Oldies, for example. Likewise, there is a thread on modding GTA3 using a phone explorer program.

Maybe it would be possible to bundle a .pdf that, when a link within the game was pressed, would give the option to "open in" or "send to" email, Dropbox, Evernote, etc...I think you get my drift.

Ya know, maybe I would reinstall Dangerous if this were included. Those are the types of games I buy. King of Dragon Pass, Ascendency, Orions, etc. Even if the have in-game manuals, you have to read through them and recall everything without being able to easily refer back to a specific page or search the precise info you need, when you need it.

I suppose I should buy more mobile style games for my mobile device. But then I would be the dreaded 99 cent shopper