Prss Magazine Publishing Tool for iOS
Is there room for a cloud-based iPad magazine publishing system? Prss, a Netherlands-based company thinks so.

Prss released an iPad-targeted publishing solution of the same name, and it hopes to do for tablets what, say, Tumbler has done for blogs -- use the medium to create an easy-to-use tool. Prss was developed after travel writer and photographer Jochem Wijnands and entrepreneur Michel Elings decided to build their own iPad-based travel publication, TRVL.

Began with WoodWing

They initially used the WoodWing publishing system, which is based on output from Adobe’s venerable but print-oriented InDesign. TRVL has since become a very popular travel publication, with more than a million installations and achieving the distinction of being the highest-rated magazine on the App Store.

Prss uses iPad-based gestures throughout its interface, such as swiping up to reveal more information or pinching to close the magazine, instead of menus. Wijnands and Elings optimized the solution for fast loading and made use of such technologies as Apple's Core Text, which handles fonts and text layout, to reduce magazines designed for Retina display from 200 MB to under 40 MB.

Words are conveyed as text and images are displayed first as placeholders, with the files being loaded from the cloud as articles are read, in order to improve performance. The company points out that users can just "tap and read" and do not have to wait for content to download. Additionally, an issue can be saved for reading off-line. "We wanted the magazine publishing app that Apple forgot to make," Elings said in a statement.

iPhone Version Coming

The application also utilizes such native iOS elements and APIs as core animation, Objective-C, Newsstand, Mail, Share Sheets and Maps, it can handle multiple languages, and it provides analytics about how long readers stay with an article, whether they interact with an ad and other parameters. App users design layouts and templates in the cloud and advertisers can employ such iPad functions as gestures. A tap on an image can bring up its location on the Apple map if there is geolocation data, text can be read aloud by the iPad, and content can be shared over social media.

Instead of WoodWing’s business model, which includes application licensing costs, Prss is free to use but publishers are charged a small fee for each download (although Prss has not revealed how much it charges). The company plans to release an iPhone version soon.