Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Danger: Do Not Duplicate an *.iba File - Use Templates Instead

The setting. I wrote four eTextbooks (of six planned) for a private iTunes U course that I am teaching. I used names such as Unit.01 Getting Started, Unit.03 Capture and so on.  These were uploaded to iTunes U via the iTunes U Course Manager. 

The bad move. Once I got the design of Unit.01 decide upon, I duplicated the *.iba file for Unit.01 and edited it to make the shell for Unit.02 and so on.  What I should have done was to create a template and work from that. Bad move.

The reason. After a bit of back and forth with some very diligent folks at Apple involving both the iTunes U and iBooks Author teams, we discovered that my bad move caused the *.iba files to have the same internal ID and that caused all of the resulting *.ibooks files exported from them to inherit that identical internal ID.  

The cure. So I opened each *.iba file and made a template from it, closing it and adding the prefix "old_" to its file name in the Finder, just to have a fallback in case something went wrong.  After that, I created a new IBA project file from the just created template and saved that under the old name (no prefix) and exporter a new *.ibooks file replacing the old , defective, identity-challenged *.ibooks file. Rinse, repeat with each of the other eTextbooks.

Testing has shown that all of these eTextbooks have regained their individual identities. Opening Unit.04 always results in opening Unit.04. Success.

The moral. Make templates, don't dupe an *.iba file.