How to Publish News without Becoming a Programmer
by Rainer Heckmann, Publishing Consultant
When Apple introduced the iPad earlier this year I was instantly reminded of Apple’s Knowledge Navigator video from the late 80s. (Those of you who are too young to know a world without the Internet, just search for “Knowledge Navigator” on YouTube.) I had fun watching that old commercial again. Although the Knowledge Navigator was just a cardboard mockup, the video showed the essential characteristics of the future of communication: digital, current, personal, and multimedia.
Today over a third of cell phone owners, along with millions of iPad users, access news on their devices, either on the Web or through apps. For anyone who publishes news – newspapers, magazines or marketing departments – apps are beneficial:
- They enable a direct connection with the consumer.
- They combine the best of the print and the Internet world – high-end design and interactivity.
- App stores provide a distribution channel, and, in case you want to get paid for your news, enable billing, too.
So far, so good.
But how do you create a newsreader app without developing it from scratch, and how do you actually publish your news to your app? To keep the effort at a minimum you should use proven technologies that are easy to employ.
Here are three essential steps to publish your newsfeed to the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch quickly and at low cost.
- Use an app framework to build your app. The programming has been done already and it only requires customization–through an intuitive, non-technical user interface–to create a branded newsreader app.
- Convert your content into an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) format. Whenever possible start with start with sturtured which makes the conversion easier. RSS formats are specified using XML, and a RSS document is called a “Web feed.” Web feeds enable you to syndicate content automatically.
- Publish the RSS feed through either your Web site or through a professional news aggregation site. Most Web content management (WCM) systems provide RSS feeds out-of-the-box, and if you don’t have a WCM, you can use aggregation sites such as Google or NetNewsWire.
Your readers simply download your app and click on a relevant category and updated news will be delivered to the reader automatically.