While plenty of people are busy working on products that transform online content into magazine-style offerings, most of the action is currently taking place around the iPad. PressJack is a US startup working on an interesting way of recreating the experience within a browser.
The company offers a piece of desktop software, available for Windows and Mac, that allows you to transform multiple RSS feeds into a single magazine that you can upload to the Web and view full screen.
While still in early beta, the app is a good demo of what the company is building. Creating your ‘magazine’ is as simple as pulling in a bunch of RSS feeds. You can then customise which pictures and the amount of text that is displayed for each article (although this is disabled in the current version). The completed magazine is then uploaded to the Web for you to share with others.
It’s still early days for the app, so at present magazines can only be uploaded to the company’s test server. Still, the results are impressive enough – if reminiscent of Flipboard in their layout. Here’s a demo magazine I built from some of The Next Web’s feeds.
PressJack’s Hannah Baldaro doesn’t see products like Flipboard and Zite as direct competitors, and says that the company has been working in this field for a number of years. “While working with our customers to develop new features it became apparent many clients did not have design resources in-house so updating a publication was a lengthy process. We also wanted to address the matter that with a traditional publication, the content is fixed to the time the publication went to print. Readers were moving online as they demanded more up-to-date news.
“So, we started about trying to design a technology that would allow publications to update themselves without the need for any design resources and this is where PressJack sprang from. We wanted to ensure a digital edition was always displaying the latest news.”
While anyone can try out the app at present, in the future it will be directly targeted at publishers. As a result, Baldaro explains “The application does not run into any of the legal copyright issues that have been highlighted recently, for example from the launch of Zite.”
PressJack is very much a work-in-progress but shows once again that this is a hot sector right now. “We wanted to get this out to people to use, take a look and see what they think, we’re collecting some great feedback which will then shape the final release – for example some major customization features are being implemented so publishers and content creators can make their PressJack publications look and feel like their brand,” Baldaro says.
For an alternative take on ‘magazines in the browser’, see our previous coverage of Treesaver.