The article-based approach is in essence about ease of use, being in control and keeping the creation and publishing cost as low as possible.
It offers a completely new level of flexibility for managing your app, your content and your offer. You can guide the reader through your content, provide a multi-device experience and on the other side optimize your workflow by integrating your CMS or editorial system with your app.
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.
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.
In addition to the browse pages, you can also provide a customizable navigation that can be used throughout your app.
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 on your right, 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.
Create your content once and publish it to your native apps and to your web site in one go.
Provide a seamless experience across different devices, phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Your reader will recognize the same environment and content on the different devices he/she is using, and if you are working with entitlement the reader settings will also be aligned.
The ‘browser client’ brings the whole article-based app experience to the web, all your content, and your browse pages. You can publish enriched InDesign content, HTML or even PDF content. All content can be published to both your app and your web site. All interactive elements are supported, all updates are instant.
You only need one solution to bring your content to your native app and to your web site.
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.
The configuration of your app is fully server-driven, so any platform change to your browse pages or your content is reflected in your app and on your web site on the fly.
In an article-based app, you only need to update one article, even if an article resides in different collections. When you publish a new article or an update to 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.
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.
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.
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.