There is no official standard of what the modern day publication should be like, but most people agree that iPad’s Flipboard and Zite are two great examples to follow. Big publishers pay professionals to redesign their publications to be more iPad friendly, while smaller ones try to do everything on their own or use ready-made templates like OnSwipe for WordPress.
If you are a fan of an iPad magazine layout and you want to publish your own, or if you just want to read your favorite news in this kind of layout, you could try Pressjack – a multi platform magazine publisher that will help you produce a web magazine from RSS feeds.
Pressjack is available for Windows and Mac. It works by collecting the RSS feeds of your choice and converting them into a nice e-magazine. The service is intended for publishers, but that doesn’t mean that ordinary people like us can’t try the app to create a bundle of our favorite feeds.
Pressjack is still in its very early beta with many “coming soon” features. But all the basic features are ready, and the 30-day trial version of the application is already available to download. In the near future, the developer will offer three pricing plans, including a free plan supported by advertisements.
The main window consists of three tabs: “Content“, “Articles“, and “Output“. Let’s start by building the content of the magazine. You can use the default “My Publication” or you could add more publications to the library.
When you add a new publication, the app will ask you to give a name to the publication. You could go with a general name or you could use the article source as the name, like MakeUseOf.
Next, add the feed by clicking the “+” button above the “Publication Feeds” table. Fill in the feeder’s name, category, and the feed’s URL.
After adding all the feeds that you want in the list, click the “Build” button under the feed list and Pressjack will start downloading the content of the feeds and building your magazine.
The Articles & The (Future) Features
You will find a list of all the articles from your feeds under the “Articles” tab. You can select one from the list and preview the text and other contents of the article in the right pane.
There are several article options which are disabled in the trial version. I think it means that they will be available in the future full version.
The “Output” tab is the place to preview the fully functional final result. It’s also the place to enable or disable features that you want to include in the magazine, such as Bookmarks, Print, Help, Fullscreen, and Statistics via Google Analytics.
You can also include the option to share the magazine via email and/or social networks.
Those who want to go further can customize the “Scripts” to fit their needs. Those who don’t know what they are doing had better leave these scripts alone.
Publishing The Magazine To The Web
The final product of Pressjack is an interactive web magazine. Publishers will be able to upload the magazines to their chosen web server and give access to their readers to read them online. Unfortunately, this feature is still disabled in the trial version. What users can do is upload the magazine to the Pressjack server, and the magazine will stay alive for 7 days.
This limitation will make the current version of Pressjack unusable for publishers who want to spread their magazines to the masses. However, individual news junkies can use the application to build their own personalized web magazines.
To upload the magazine to the web, press “Publish“. This process can take a while depending on how large the article collection is and how fast the internet connection is.
When the magazine has been uploaded, a small window with links to the online and offline versions of the magazine will appear. Even though the online version will only be available for about a week, you can keep the offline version forever.
This is what the web magazine looks like. Those who are familiar with Flipboard will see a resemblance in the interface between Pressjack and Flipboard.
The first page after the cover is the table of contents. You can jump into any article from this page, or you can flip through the pages like a normal magazine.
The magazine’s features are available at the top of every page. Hover the mouse over the features to know more about them.
Ironically, even though Pressjack designed the magazine layout to mimic iPad magazines, the result is not accessible from an iPad (or other iOS devices) because it uses Flash technology.
What do you think of the “iPad magazine layout” trend? Have you tried Pressjack? Do you know of other similar applications? Share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.