A few weeks ago I was contacted by Florian Franke, who was telling me about his Laker project, and what I saw excited me to no end. Initially produced as part of his diploma thesis, Laker is a package of frameworks and files that allows you to produce HTML5-based digital publications. The advantage of a system like this is that whatever is created should work fine on iPad, iPhone, and theoretically, in your PC browser or basically in anything that has a modern browser.
Florian’s system was made to produce an iPad/iPhone app, and it’s there free for anyone to try and use — you’ll need access to Xcode to be able to export the app. He had submitted a demo to the iTunes App Store — what you see in the video that plays on the front page of the Laker site — but it was rejected because Apple doesn’t allow “demos.” He’s currently trying to update that “New York” magazine with real text, so that he can submit again, and so that we can all directly see what can be produced.
And then yesterday, Andrew pointed out to the release of another HTML5-based system, this time in the demo form of a magazine, Aside, that is viewed directly in your iPad’s browser. Sure, the performance on it is crap right now — and the creators, Nico Engelhardt and Johannes Ippen, are aware of this, saying that they’re still working on improving things — but if you give it a try (or watch the video below) you’ll see that you get something that’s oh-so-very close to what a lot of magazines in app form are doing right now.
Now, there are still a lot of issues with creating something that’s web-based — it’s not as easy to charge as selling an app, and you always need to be online to view it — but having the ability to create one publication that could/should work anywhere (tablet, phone, PC) is a beautiful thing indeed.