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Twixl Publisher 5 will be released in June 2016. This major release is bringing new features and possibilities in different areas. It excels at giving readers the extra value that mobile is expected to bring to your content.

  • Lower the content creation cost
  • Increase the flexibility and speed of publishing
  • Enhance content promotion and presentation
  • Respect the traditional publisher environment
  • HTML input in addition to InDesign and PDF content
  • A shift from a publication-based approach to an article-based approach
  • A 100% customizable kiosk
  • Automated production workflow capabilities

Twixl Publisher was developed based on 4 pillars

1. Lower the content creation cost

Twixl Publisher 5 introduces HTML articles in addition to InDesign and PDF articles

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.

Working with HTML articles offers different advantages:

  • HTML can be made responsive
  • HTML articles can be pushed directly from a content management system
  • It is smaller in bytes and so faster and cheaper to download
  • It offers easier workflow integration
  • It is easier to update

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 now open our solution to HTML content next to the existing formats (Twixl publications from 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 Twixl Publisher 5 to be flexible and offer the option to work with different types of content: InDesign, HTML and PDFs.

2. Increase the flexibility and speed of publishing

Article-based workflow

In Twixl Publisher 5, we are introducing an article-based workflow in addition to the existing publication-based workflow.
The main reason for this is flexibility and download cost.
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 what a publication is in the current Twixl Publisher solution, but it is much more flexible in that you can organise it as a number of articles, but also link to sub-collections. You can provide parts of your content for free and others as paid content.

An article can also belong to different collections and when you publish a new article or an update of an existing article, only that one article needs to be downloaded and not the entire collection or publication. This makes it easier to publish, and also allows for faster downloads and optimal use of bandwidth.

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 articles 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.

Integrate different types of content sources

We started with InDesign, later we added support for PDF and now you can use HTML-based content. But that’s not all: Twixl Publisher 5 offers a new concept called “content sources” that allow you to integrate any type of RSS feed, a YouTube or Vimeo feed and CMS-based content in your apps.

Integrate in automated production workflows

Having an article-based approach also makes for easier integration in cross-channel publishing and automation environments. There, having the option to work with HTML-based content and responsive designs and templates is a match made in heaven.
Twixl Publisher 5 provides 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 5. 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 solutions 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 source available.

The ‘Automated Content Sources’ option provides extra capabilities for automated publishing of content. It allows you to e.g. integrate an RSS feed into your Twixl Publisher 5 apps. This lets you fetch content from such popular platforms like WordPress and Drupal automatically, or effectively any web site that offers an RSS feed. In addition, you can also integrate a YouTube or a Vimeo channel feed.

3. Enhance content promotion and presentation

Perhaps this is the biggest change in Twixl Publisher 5, or at least the most visible change for readers.
But to be clear: this does not need to have an impact on the way you publish today, i.e. we are not forcing you into a new model, but are just providing more options.

What was previously called the ‘kiosk’ or ‘storefront’ has now become one or more browse pages that introduce your content and guide the reader through 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.
These browse pages are managed from your Twixl Distribution Platform account. Per browse page that you want to include in your app, you can define a specific grid and define the layout of this grid.

Like the examples displayed above, this approach offers a whole range of possibilities. But do understand that a traditional publication-based approach with fixed publication dates remains possible.
Twixl Publisher 5 just provides additional options to offer your content to readers in a more attractive way.

It is also important to understand that the configuration of your browse pages is fully server-driven, so any change you make on the platform is reflected in your app on the fly. This means that there is no need to update the app itself when you want to update the look and feel and the organization of your browse pages.

4. Respect the traditional publisher environment

Moving from a publication-based to an article-based approach does not necessarily mean you can no longer publish the way you are used to.
For many publishers the publication frequency remains essential. “We need this moment to attract readers and our readers are looking forward to this.

Switching from a publication to an article approach is just a matter of flexibility. It makes it easier to update (parts of) your content, and offers more ways of publishing it. With the article approach we introduce the concept of a collection. A collection of articles can be compared to what is currently called a “publication”, but with the added option that the same article can be part of different collections and a collection itself can consist links to different collections.

Every publisher can evolve at his own pace, e.g. keep the focus on a weekly or monthly publishing frequency, but regularly add new articles in-between. Or create special interest issues next to the regular publications.
Publishing on mobile is not just a copy of print, that much is clear. Twixl Publisher 5 offers the capability to surprise your readers, to offer that extra value.

Not convinced yet? No problem, we do not force you to move to the new article-based approach, and you can continue to work publication-based if you prefer. All we are saying is that the new article-based approach provides more options and is far more flexible, both for the publisher and the reader. Up to you to make the move when you feel ready for it.

Showcase app ‘Giltedge’

A first app created with Twixl Publisher 5 is already available in the App Store: ‘Giltedge Travel – Luxury African Safaris’ was developed by The App Lab in London. This app demonstrates the new approach to introducing the content with browse pages and collections. Article content was created with both WoodWing Inception and Adobe InDesign.

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Downloads

Until now, we counted publication downloads on your Twixl Distribution Platform account. As a consequence of moving to an article-based approach, we will be changing this to count bandwidth instead of downloads: each type of subscription will come with a specified number of terabytes (TB) included.

In an article-based app, readers will now only download the articles they are actually reading. The option to use HTML content will also mean less bandwidth usage. For the same type of application we expect the bandwidth volume to be at least 50% lower than it is today.

In addition to this, we multiplied the volume of downloads available per type of subscription by 4. That means an actual increase of 800% in bandwidth or an unlimited offer for 99% of our customers.
But we still had to define a proper use limit. If you would happen to exceed this bandwidth volume, you’d still have the option to buy extra bandwidth, obviously.

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Conversion from 4 > 5

It is clear that if you make the choice to move to the new Twixl Publisher 5 approach, you will need to update your app and convert your legacy content.
The good news is that converting your legacy publication content into article-based content will be possible using an automatic conversion tool on the Twixl Distribution Platform, a one-click process.

Creating your browse pages will surely require some tweaking, but then it will also allow you to offer something new and exciting to your readers. And updating your app is never a bad thing, it might even remind some of your readers to look at it again, and shows them you keep improving your offering.

If you intend to use Twixl Publisher only to create single-issue apps, we’ll offer Twixl Publisher Classic as a replacement for the current Twixl Publisher Single.  Note that Twixl Publisher Classic can only be used with InDesign-based content. This product still remains the perfect entry-point for starters and occasional publishers, but it should be clear that moving to a more professional article-based approach offers far more capabilities and opportunities.

Twixl App Reviewer

To test and share your content while creating content in InDesign you have been using our Twixl Viewer app with Twixl Publisher 4. This app will now be renamed to Twixl Viewer Classic.

For previewing and proofing Twixl Publisher 5 article-based apps, we will introduce a new app called Twixl App Reviewer that will let you login to your Twixl Distribution Platform account and be able to preview your article-based apps.

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Valéry Girou

Valéry Girou

D.A. / DIGITAL / WEB / PRINT / Co-fondateur du site ELECTRICNEWS.fr / Consultant & Formateur Digital / Web / Print

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