News consumption on tablet computers is growing fast
Not all news organisations feel the need to create a dedicated iPad and Android-friendly app
Many take the view that standard websites can easily be read on such devices
Which is true, but which ignores the particular look and feel of such tablets. They are particularly good at creating an electronic equivalent of the pleasure of consuming a glossy magazine on paper, for example.
What's held many individual journalists back is the fact that, to create an iPad app has generally required a knowledge of coding, or hiring an app developer at some cost.
So when I noticed that Google Campus London was welcoming a new startup called Fliplet, which promised "an app-building platform that lets users create a professional-looking app without needing technical or design skills" I decided to check it out.
Fliplet proved very straightforward to use - I could create an app as easily as I might plan, design, structure and build a Wordpress site, and there’s a free trial while Fliplet is in beta.
The Getting Started blog post from Fliplet is the place to go first
The advice you get there can be summarised as:
- Decide what your app is for
- Gather your content: "You can upload text, images and videos into Fliplet as well as link to external websites."
- Build your first screens: "Fliplet already has a variety of layouts preloaded to make life easy."
- Preview your app on the iPad
- Go through the Apple app publishing process (they help you)
For the purposes of this exercise i'm taking content I already have, for a website that is the companion to my textbook Brand Journalism.
Key question - what will it cost?
It’s going to be a minimum of $74 per month and can be up to 10 times that, but they say: "During Fliplet’s beta you can build your app on the starter plan with unlimited users and storage. 30 days notice will be given before the beta ends and this offer expires."
We'll look at actually building your app in the next screen. First, just to make sure you know exactly what is involved, we'll go through what you need to do to get it published.
Once you have created your app you can preview it on an iPad, but to get it published you must go through the process Apple requires.
Fliplet helps you with this.
But it's complex. It takes 5 weeks to get approval if you are starting out, and costs $99.
But you can review the apps you create without submitting them to the app store