Moving from a publication-based to an article-based approach is just a matter of flexibility. It offers more options in all aspects and offers the ability to evolve whenever you are ready to make take the next step.
With an article-based approach you can continue to publish with the same frequency you are used to, but you could also move to more continuous content approach or even a mixed model.
Let’s face it: we all know that creating pixel-perfect content for both tablets and phones (sometimes even multiple tablet renditions) is a time consuming process. This makes mobile publishing projects often very expensive.
Adobe InDesign is the standard! And we are well aware of this. Twixl Publisher 5 continues to provide a plugin for InDesign, but we firmly believe HTML will be part of the future of mobile publishing. This is why we have opened our solution to HTML content in addition to the existing formats (Twixl publications created in InDesign and PDFs).
We believe the future of mobile publishing is a combination of HTML and InDesign content. A number of articles will be created in HTML in a more automated fashion, and for certain articles publishers will still feel the need to take the time to create pixel-perfect, illustrated and enriched layouts. That way the total production cost will become affordable and mobile will still offer its own added value.
The move from InDesign to HTML will take time because it is about people and habits that are changing. That’s why we wanted to be flexible and offer the option to work with different types of content: InDesign, HTML and PDFs.
In terms of flexibility we introduce the concepts of articles and collections. A collection can consist of a set of articles or it can also link to another set of collections.
A collection can be compared to an issue in a publication-based approach, but it is much more flexible in that you can organize it as a series of articles, but also link to sub-collections. You can provide parts of your content for free and others as paid content.
The article now becomes the foundation and from there on you are free to define how you publish it. If you decide to keep publishing collections (formerly ‘issues’) using a regular publication schedule, that’s fine, but if you also want to publish some extra content in-between normal publishing dates, you can now do that too. And if you want your mobile app to evolve from a magazine to a continuous publishing channel, that is perfectly possible as well.
Perhaps the biggest change in comparison to the issue-based approach is the interface you can create to guide your readers to your content.
What was previously called the ‘kiosk’ or ‘storefront’ has now become one or more browse pages that introduce your content and guide the reader to what you have to offer. It can provide a better and more flexible overview of your content, can attract the attention of your readers to specific points of interest, emphasize specific articles or collections, and it is 100% customizable.
These browse pages are created and managed in the Twixl Distribution Platform back end. We provide a graphic user interface that lets you visualize what your design will look like, both for tablets and phones.
Like the examples displayed above, this approach offers a whole range of possibilities. But do understand that a traditional publication-based approach with fixed publication dates still remains possible with this model.
With the article-based approach we just provide additional options to offer your content to readers in a more attractive way.
The article-based approach offers a new concept called “content sources” that allow you to integrate any type of CMS-based content or RSS feed in your apps.
It makes the integration in cross-channel publishing and automation environments much easier. Having the option to use HTML-based content and responsive designs and templates is a match made in heaven.
We provide different ways of integrating external content.
The ‘Integration API’ option lets you push content from different types of content management systems to article-based apps created with Twixl Publisher. This allows you to easily and transparently manage (i.e. add, update and remove) the content items in your apps.
You can e.g. push a Twixl article created in Adobe InDesign from editorial systems like WoodWing Enterprise or vjoon K4, or you can push HTML articles from WoodWing Inception, TruEdit or Canvasflow. Basically the Twixl Distribution Platform Admin API allows you to push content from any external CMS available.
Another way to get content into your app is by pulling content using RSS feeds. Any RSS feed can be integrated into your app and generate an automatic content feed. This lets you fetch content from such popular platforms like WordPress and Drupal automatically, with zero configuration, or effectively any web site that offers an RSS feed. In addition, you can also integrate a YouTube or a Vimeo channel feed.
The configuration of your browse pages is fully server-driven, so any change you make on the platform is reflected in your app on the fly. This means that there is no need to update the app itself when you want to update the browse pages or your content.
In an issue-based app, you needed to update the complete publication when you wanted to make update only a single article.
In an article-based, you only need to update one article, even if an article belongs to different collections. When you publish a new article or an update of an existing article, only that one article needs to be uploaded to the platform and not the entire collection. This makes it easier to publish, and also allows for faster downloads and optimal use of bandwidth.
Because you now publish article by article, the reader is also able to download an article at a time and start reading it immediately.
The reader has direct access to the browse pages and from there he only downloads the content article per article and not necessarily the complete collection.
Once he selects a specific article from a collection subsequent articles in that collection will be downloaded in the background.
The content cache for an app has been set to 750 MB, to avoid that it would take up too much disk space. Once the cache becomes larger than 750MB, the oldest accessed articles will be removed from the cache. But the user still has access to all the content he is entitled to.
Each collection can also be fully downloaded for easy offline access.
Here the user is in control and if he requests such a download, he’ll be informed how much disk space the collection will use.
A downloaded collection is separate from the 750 MB app cache, and will not be removed automatically at some point, unless the reader decides to remove it.
Publishers also have the ability to publish in full offline mode. That way all content of all collections will be downloaded completely when first starting up the app. This is ideal for sales apps, where people don’t always have internet access when they are on the road.
Talking about what you can expect working article-based is one thing, but it’s even better when you can judge for yourself how such an app looks like.
Here are two apps that perfectly illustrate the potential of article-based apps.
You can find more examples on our showcases page.