Mobile devices are becoming more and more of necessities in the workplace. In this so-called post-PC era, professionals need to access information on-the-go, whether on smartphones, ultraportable computers or tablets. If you're a web publisher, you will need to consider that an increasing number of your readers will be using these mobile devices. Some would want to create a native application for tablets, but is this really necessary for everyone?

Tablet-Friendly Content Without the Fuss

Pressly is a platform that converts web content into a format more suitable for tablet computers. Working for the iPad, Android tablets and the BlackBerry PlayBook (among others), the platform produces HTML5 versions of content that are almost indistinguishable from a native application.

Pressly comes with five pre-built templates as a starting point from which authors can customize the look and feel of their output. The service will give users a choice from a more text-oriented layout to one that favors graphics and media. The ensuing web output will then be friendlier to tablets than a simple webpage. This includes UI enhancements like swiping, finger gestures, pinching to close articles and two-finger swipes to call a context menu.

Pressly can pull content from a variety of data and feed formats, including RSS, XML, JSON or even content straight from Twitter or a WordPress blog.

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Pressly converts websites into a format that's better-suited to touch interfaces.
 

Is it Time to Turn Your Website Into an App?

However, there is a big difference with services that convert your feeds into native apps. Pressly doesn't actually turn your website into an iPad or Android application. But rather, your site stays as web content, but formatted to fit your target platform or device. Pressly doesn't even want to go there; the developers want to focus on building content for what they believe is the tablet computer's biggest asset -- the web browser.

And with the output being a regular HTML5-powered website, users can still integrate the usual additions to website content, such as ads, payment processing, analytics, search and other web-based applications, without the need to go through the intricacies of setting up special services compatible with a native app.

Presented at TechCrunch Disrupt, Pressly plans to make it to the big leagues, partnering with publishers like the Toronto Star, the Economist Group, Canadian Living and Transcontinental. Service like Pressly give publishers a choice between developing a native app and running app-like websites specifically designed for the tablet. Pressly's market are publishers that want to keep their existing subscription services without being at the mercy of the so-called gatekeepers of the app marketplace, like Google and Apple.

Pressly is currently free, and runs as a SaaS offering, with content being served from their infrastructure. They serve up content on a revenue-share basis, and so they will get a cut from ads served on tablet-bound pages.