KMagazine is a software solution that allows users to easily create and manage digital magazines to be published on Apple and Android online stores.
This publishing system consists of three main levels:
- content management system, through which the contents formatted and prepared according to design specifications are provided to the front-end, for viewing on the various devices;
- publications management system for managing the storage and synchronization of published issues;
- front-end system (also known asAPP) that enables end users to interact with the digital magazine.
Each magazine issue consists of:
- graphic cover with resolution to suit each store and device used;
- content, i.e. the magazine itself, including all multimedia content such as images, audio and video;
- an identifier (unique code) to be used in Newsstand;
- a set of information such as the publishing date, table of contents, external links, category, description of the current issue, etc…
Available offline: As mentioned, the publications downloaded from Newsstand are stored in the local filesystem, in a specific folder where they can be backed-up when syncing. Users are allowed to either download the publication or “store” (delete) it. This information is then recorded in the datamodel of the publications management database, enabling a new download in case the file is deleted locally.
The magazine management and viewing App must be connected to a content management system (CMS) and must access an XML file containing the magazine details (cover image, publication date, etc..) and the location of previous publications or those “now on Newsstand”.
The individual publications are provided in zip format, to ensure faster download, and then automatically decompressed and installed in the viewer App. End-users can monitor the whole process and all they have to do is specify the publication they wish to download, wait for it to download (the system will display the download progress percentage) and then browse through the magazine.
In principle, for each publication the XML file should contain information such as:
- publication name;
- magazineID unique for Newsstand;
- description this is displayed in Newsstand and provides information about the magazine contents;
- iconpath application icon at different resolutions;
- teaser cover image sized according to the standard set by the Apple store;
- publication code unique and consecutive number for each issue;
- productID unique Newsstand code for each publication;
- publication date;
- coverPath cover path;
- issuePath path for downloading the publication in compressed format;
- issuePrice publication price (or free issue where applicable).
The compressed file in ZIP format contains the entire publication: i.e. it also contains multimedia material, such as images, video and audio. The file size will vary depending on the contents of each publication.
Front end side
The app supports the latest Newsstand features, including background downloading and dynamic app icon (the icon in Newsstand is automatically updated to display the cover of the latest available issue, according to the XML file information contained in the server).
When the user selects a magazine from among those included in Newsstand, the download process begins the app requests the XML file from the server and begins downloading the information to be displayed on the magazine main page (the main page may simply be a full screen quality image displaying a download indicator or it can be a more complex interface displaying use information, entertaining users while the publication is downloading).
If the user is not connected to the Internet or if there is any problem during download, the latest information available is displayed (such as previous publication or the default information provided in the apps main bundle).
The cover of the latest issue is displayed on the left side of the publication main page, with information on the magazine displayed at the top and buying instructions at the bottom, including details on how to subscribe, for free or otherwise (where applicable).
The magazine information will include:
- publication name;
- publication date;
- publication price;
- a buy/download (in the case of free publications) button;
- a button to subscribe to the magazine.
When pressing the download button, the information about the download progress is displayed and the buy/download button turns into a view button, which is disabled until download is complete. After download the publication is automatically saved in the local filesystem, in accordance with Apple latest guidelines on document storage and the back-up of the issue/issues is ensured through iCloud or iTunes sync. If the user selects the subscribebutton, the publication is automatically downloaded when a new issue is available. In this case the most recent issue is downloaded in the background, according to Apple Newsstand specifications.
This last point is worth emphasizing: in this way the user has automatic access to the magazine latest issue, with no need to specify a magazine issue or manually start the download.
If you wish to automatically inform the reader that a new issue is available, you will have to activate the so-called Push Notifications, which are outside the scope of this proposal.
Where Push Notification is enabled, users are notified through a numeric icon on the app, in the device, and through an information message via the iOS5 notification system.
During and after download, the app displays a magazine information area (description included in the XML file). The size of this area will vary depending on the amount of information available.
In order to ensure the availability of previous issues (either previous issues or issues at the time the user purchases/downloads/subscribes to a publication), a special screen displays information on:
- publication date;
- cover image;
- availability offline (if the issue was already downloaded);
- the information is displayed as a table showing three publications per line.
On the basis of the information displayed, users will be able to:
- determine which publications they have already downloaded;
- start downloading the publications;
- delete (store) publications previously downloaded;
- viewing the magazine.
This section is for purely illustrative purposes only, as no user interface design or graphic design is specified.
Users can navigate through the pages of the publication by swiping left or right. Users can view particularly long pages by scrolling them vertically.
A button on the main interface provides access to the publication home/main page.
The application supports http:// links which will open in a specific window inside the app (users do not have to exit or quit the app).
Adding a new publication
When you have finished developing a new publication, you can make it available in Newsstand by updating the XML file on the server and uploading the zip compressed file at the location indicated in the app specifications.
Apple periodically checks the file and, when a new publication is available it informs users displaying a numeric icon.
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