The Economist has given HTML web apps another shot in the arm by packaging its U.S. presidential election material in to a new Flipboard-like tablet content offering that works entirely in the web browser.
Electionism, as the new product is called, includes content from The Economist, its niche Washington, DC, sister title Roll Call, tweets and links to other web election writing.
It was built by Toronto software design firm Nulayer on its Pressly platform for web tablet publishing, which already hosts a similar service for the city’s The Star newspaper and which will soon do same for Canadian Living magazine and Transcontinental.
Despite being built for the web, The Economist says specifically: “Electionism is currently available on the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy and the Kindle Fire and will be available shortly on the Blackberry Playbook. It is optimised for tablets.” So much is it optimised for touch, it doesn’t display at all on the desktop web.
It looks and feels just like Flipboard – that is, rather slick. As close to the bone as the comparisons might be, it shows what can be accomplished with HTML.
“We built Electionism between launching two other iOS/iPad apps, the World in 2012 and the World in Figures,” Ron Diorio, The Economist’s online business development and innovation VP, tells paidContent.
“So we aren’t giving up on the native app experience. We were eager to experiment with a web/HTML5 app and Pressly offered a platform that allowed us to develop and move quickly on.
“We also continue to see reported significant browser usage on tablets and determined we should move to discover how best to serve readers in this format.”
The Financial Times, which owns half of The Economist Group, last week acquired the development firm that built its web application, which has replaced its executable iOS apps.
Electionism is free. Economist.com, from which some of its content comes, requires a subscription for older content.
Another publishing platform that tries to inject tablet apps with HTML is PugPig, developed by the team which once worked on a tablet news aggregation project for News Corp.