Why move to an article-based app?

Laurent Gerniers 22-05-2019 News

What is the difference between issue-based and article-based?


  • An issue-based app will display the list of issues in a kiosk.
  • The foundation is a complete issue.
  • You can only publish InDesign and PDF-based content
  • The reader needs to download a complete issue before having access to the content
  • The reader experience is predominantly linear


  • An article-based app lets you publish collections of articles with a flexible interface you can manage yourself.
  • The foundation is a single article.
  • You can publish HTML, InDesign and PDF-based content, but also movies, images …
  • The reader only needs to download one article before he can start reading the content
  • The reader moves from one point of interest to another but can also have a linear approach

What does an article-based app offer that can’t be done in an issue-based app?

  • Publish HTML content
  • Integrate with an external content source, an HTML editor, an editorial system, any CMS.
  • Integrate web services in your app
  • Publish RSS feeds in your app
  • Work in full offline mode (in-house apps)
  • Allow collection downloads for offline reading
  • Access the complete app experience (i.e. content and browse pages) in a browser;
  • Define which content you show to your reader in relation to the reader preferences and to the app properties

Advertising needs a different approach because the reading experience is different. For this we refer to one of our previous blog articles.

What are the advantages?

The interface

You can easily introduce your content to your reader. With an issue-based app you just had a cover for your issue and a small intro to convince a reader to download it. With an article-based app you can have a full page to introduce different aspects of the content you have to offer. You can introduce specific articles, you can offer a free preview of some articles, introduce different chapters, … 

You define the interface of your app and how you want to present your content to your readers. Are you going to do this with one intro or overview page, or are you going to have an introduction page and an overview page per chapter, and possibly even an overview page for back issues. 

You even have a separate navigation with a hamburger menu where you are in control the links that you put in there. Is it going to offer specific functionalities like search, login as an entitled user, access to your website, is it going to provide an overview of the structure of your magazine or is it going to be a combination of both?


Perhaps this is the biggest advantage of article-based publishing.
With an issue-based app the reader has to wait for a while to start reading the content because the complete issue needs to be downloaded first.
With an article-based app the reader downloads article by article, and can start reading almost instantly. 

The app has a content cache that is limited to 750 MB. This makes sure that the app doesn’t consume too much disk space. Still, if a user wants to download specific collections for offline reading this is possible. We limit the cache of the app but readers can still decide to store more content on their device, if needed.

For in-house apps we also offer the possibility to work with an offline mode: in this case all content of the app is downloaded the first time the app starts up, but for updates it is only the new/updated content that will be added. 

Downloading article per article will also have a positive impact on bandwidth usage. The volume of content that will be downloaded will be lower because many readers do not read a complete publication.

The future

Article-based content apps are the future.

In terms of content and app creation it offers a tremendous flexibility to bring content to your app and to optimize your workflow. 

In terms of publishing your content you can now guide your reader to your content, attracting his attention with the browse pages, helping him with the navigation and even guiding him directly towards specific articles using push notifications.

The future is also providing content in relation to the preferences of the reader. Well this is also possible!

The cost

For most publishers moving from article-based to issue-based is not a big effort in relation to content creation. It only offers more possibilities making it also possible to optimize your workflow.

The big difference is the interface. First you need to create it, it is not a standard layout any more, secondly you need to update it frequently, as new content is being added. This is an extra effort but this is just what will make you more successful and what will provide your readers with a better experience.

The positive thing is that you can continue to work with your existing subscription and that from our side no extra costs will be involved.

How to?

On our Learning & Support portal you’ll find more details on how to migrate from an issue-based app to an article-based app and also plenty of documentation on how to create the interface of your app.

But remember that our partners are also able to assist you with this process. The big cost of converting your content is now off the job, it is just about creating a refreshing interface and for you to learn to manage it.


Here are a couple of examples of article-based magazine apps.

Test Aankoop

A Belgian consumer magazine using the intro page to provide access to their publications but also to a number of services. They use the navigation to login or logout and to provide access to back issues.

Ride Bikestyle Magazin

A Swiss mountain bike magazine. They use the intro page for practical information and guide their reader to a second page to access their publication.

Camping & Caravanning magazine

Is using the intro page to introduce its last issue, back issues and certain specific guides.
From there the last issue is introduced with a specific page. Back issues have a specific page and each back issue on its own again.

MIT Technology review

A basic approach in terms of interface but optimized their workflow integrating content from WoodWing Inception into their app.