Six months ago, we were still quite far away from being a global company. Then, things happened very rapidly. Newscycle found us, and we found Newscycle.
Now, we are an important part of the whole Newscycle family. At the same time we are still Infomaker. We are still mainly working in the Nordic area. We are still developing our platforms.
The difference is that many of our platforms are now also reaching out to a global market and we are helping Newscycle in both US and EMEA to understand the solutions and build up competence and resource centers.
Of course, that’s a challenge and it also consumes resources. But it is at the same time really energizing and fun. And it also adds stuff. We are increasing our development resources. We also have developer- and support backup from a larger organization. Our digital SaaS-solutions are integrated in Newscycles security platform. And we are now a quite large Amazon customer, enabling us to give you an even better offering.
Infomaker is the content lab within Newscycle. We are doing the same as before, but at a larger scale.
So, let’s move on to what we have been or are working on. Let’s start with our universe:
Decoupled. We really love the decoupled approach. Decoupled means freedom, both for you and for us. Instead of building a large, old-fashioned “system-that-manages-everything”, the decoupled approach enables us to create smaller, best-in-class pieces that works together. That also opens up for you to add other, smart solutions to your stack.
Smooth. Decoupled or not, for the user it’s super important that everything seems to be “one”. The last 6 month we have put a lot of effort in creating standard setups that simplifies things. Simple is better cause of fewer bugs and a more predictable result. We now have defined standards for metadata and setups for the Digital Writer, Dashboard, App Platform and Everyware. That means shorter implementation time and smoother upgrades.
Metadata. Using the IPTC NewsML-G2 Concept Standard, we have defined a set of standardized meta data types, like authors, category trees, geo data, entity tags, channels etc. All of our solutions are moving to use those standards, minimizing migration and conversion hiccups, and simplifies metadata usage.
High-quality metadata is a foundation for AI production assistance/automation as well as for personalisation of content. We have developed the OC Concept Admin Tool to administer the meta data.
Print and Newspilot
Our overall goal is to develop things that make your print production more efficient. Print is a quite complex production process, and a set of smaller steps are taking place to reach the goal.
A more secure Newspilot Platform enabling us to move parts of the work to web clients or automated processes. For you and your users this is an almost invisible part, but it means that you can trust on web browser-apps as well as AI/algorithms mechanisms connected to your print system. All access and restriction rules are applied at the server backend for all kind of clients. This work is in the final testing phase and will be delivered in Newspilot 5.
Digital Writer integrated in Newspilot. The idea of the built-in integration works like this:
The Digital/Content first approach
Write the Digital Article in the Digital Writer. If you're working in Newspilot, the Digital Writer is opened inside Newspilot. Otherwise it’s opened in a browser tab. The Digital article is stored in Open Content, available for any digital usage. A “Digital Master” is stored in Newspilot. It’s automatically in sync with the Digital Article.
Plan or use a copy or an alias of the Master Article to your Print product(s) as with any print article. Break the live link when you need to edit the print version.
The Print first approach
Write the Print article in the Newspilot Writer. Make a digital duplicate or an alias. The digital version will be available as a Digital Article in Open Content.
Put it together
• You can start with a Digital Article, and write it in the Digital Writer.
• The Digital Writer is available inside Newspilot, or in a browser.
• Plan a copy or alias of the Digital Article to Print pages.
• Or do the opposite. Start with print in Newspilot. Do a digital duplicate or alias. Continue with the digital work in the Digital Writer.
The integration described above is in place in Newspilot since version 4.9. Now we are optimizing and simplifying the integration.
Print in the Digital Writer
Some customers have asked for the possibility to work with the print version of the article in the Digital Writer, enabling their reporters to work with digital and print in the same tool. The risk is of course a loss of digital focus. To create top quality digital that your readers are willing to pay for, we think you need a digital focus.
Nevertheless, many media houses, or smaller departments within a media house, have limited resources. And if your are in a situation where the reporter needs to be responsible for both digital and print, then it’s more convenient to do the work in the same tool. So - now we are working on adding write-to-fit capabilities in the Digital Writer.
That means you can:
• Create, plan and re-plan a Print version(s) of your Digital Article
• See print version(s) of the article
• Write-to-fit using a preview of the print article on page
Some of the on-going sketching below:
More info is on its way as this is work in progress. Let us continue telling you about Automated print.
We are working on several tracks towards a more simplified and automated print production process. Some of them are on the sketching stage, some are in the lab, some are moving to the lab during the autumn. To increase efficiency and to utilize new technology, it’s also important to understand that a module-based, clean and logic design needs to be created and used.
Elastic layouts. Adds automation to the print process, auto-adapting the layout to the content instead of the opposite. This gives us the opportunity to look on articles more like fixed modules - the reporter focus on the content. The time needed for page production and planning will be reduced thanks to automation.
Assisted page production. Adds automation to the page editing process. Gives the page editor a suggestion of the layouted page using Dynamic layout modules.
Algorithm-based planning. Uses data and machine learning to select (=plan) and prioritize content to sections and pages.
AI-editing of text. At some point, it will also be possible to use ML/AI to edit and shorten an article. That mechanism could then be used to move an article from one text-length-group (module) to another.
Clouded SaaS Print Engine. The replacement of traditional print-engines. Everything clouded in a common installation, delivered as SaaS. This is more as a long-term goal.
Contact us if you want more info.
The Everyware web presentation platform
Our short-term goal is to speed up the publication process. The time from hitting the Publish button until the content is published on your site is too long. We fully understand and know this is really annoying.
The slowness depends of the different cache mechanisms Everyware are using. We are now in the late stage of the development of a new near real-time-cache for Everyware. That means the time from “Publish” to “Published” will decrease from 5 minutes to 20-30 seconds.
We have also added a new content cache to Open Content. I’s a simple but super-efficient short time-to-live based cache built on top of Ledge technology. The new Content cache can be used in Everyware, in the app platform as well as in any other solution. The Content cache is built into the OC Front end server layer.
We are adding support for the OC cache in Everyware. We are also replacing the current time-to-live-based Everyware front cache with a new near real time updated front cache, driven by our Live Content Cloud Service that we are using in the app platform.
As part of the global Newscycle company, we are now onboarding more resources to the Everyware platform, both for core development as well as for customer site development.
The content backend: Open Content
OC is really the heart of our universe. The last year we have added a lot of new functions to OC, like:
• Higher performance. Overall optimizations have increased the throughput.
• Content cache. As described in the Everyware part above, we have added an (optional) cache layer to OC. The cache protects your Public OC from burst traffic, like for example a push to the today’s morning edition.
• The OC cache helps you to lower the costs to run your backend.
• Nested Properties. Minimizes the amount of requests needed to fulfil your needs. As a web site or a news app, you can query for the latest sport articles, and for each of them gather properties from related objects like author, images and concepts without flattening that info into the article. That minimizes overhead and gives you as a developer a lot of comfort.
Latest version of Solr. In the next to-be-released Open Content we have updated Solr to the latest 7.4 version. The latest version of Open Content is currently 2.2.
As the next step, we are focusing on scaling. OC is quite scalable as-is, but we want to increase or remove the limitations.
We want OC to be able to index “unlimited” amount of objects. Media houses are growing and are also consolidated. That means larger amount of content. And the global market has bigger players with even larger needs. We want OC to be able to serve almost unlimited amount of requests. The trend is more personalisation, more front ends and apps, more readers, more real time. We want an OC without any “single-point-of-failure”. Digital readers are online 24x7, expecting everything to be available.
We are also adding more resources to the OC team to speed up the development.
On the roadmap is also:
• Support for IMID.
• Content Editing API. Edit and Create the content (articles, concepts, images...) without the need of a deep understanding of the NewsML universe. Instead of building a lot of business logic in each application, the Content API will take care of much of the work.
• Content presentation API. A more high-level Presentation API that adds comfort to front end developers.
Digital Creation Tools - Writer and Dashboard
The Digital Writer is the Authoring Tool. We are now integrating the IMID authentication to the Digital Writer. We are taking steps towards a “Writer-as-a-service”, like we do with the Dashboard.
There is now a partial update function in place, enabling 3rd parties to change metadata of an article, even if the article is opened by other users. The changes are automatically distributed to all Writer-users that has that article open.
A new Binary Service Lite is now available for 3rd parties, making it easier to upload images to an article, or upload Digital Writer-useable images, this makes that process a little bit more simple. We are working towards a Content Editing API enabling 3rd parties to add/edit content in a smoother way.
On the Dashboard side, we have done a lot of works both with the Dashboard itself, but also with apps to the Dashboard.
• Publication Planner. The dayparting publication planner.
• Article Search. Search for articles in OC.
• OC Search. Search every kind of object in Open Contents. Kind of a “mini XLibris”.
• Concept Admin. A tool to administer the Infomaker metadata univers.
• Lists and Packages. Create, edit and publish lists and digital editions.
We are now working on the Newsroom Planner. It’s about who is doing what and when. In Newsroom Planner you will have views for Calendar events, Planning cards and Assignments.
Login and authentication - Infomaker ID
In the old days, every system also contained a user database and user management. That approach is really outdated - but still you need to manage, authorize and provision users.
That’s the reason we have developed IMID.
All new products and services, like the Digital Writer and the Dashboard, are using IMID.
IMID enables a seamless single sign on experience for users of Infomakers web based content creation tools. Built on the industry standard of JSON Web Tokens (JWT), IMID integrates with organization's existing identity provider using OpenID Connect. OpenID Connect ensures compatibility with all major identity providers such as Google, Facebook, Azure AD and many more.
We are moving to use IMID in the majority of our products. That means that you will have a central repo for your users. If IMID is integrated with Google, the Google platform will do the authentication process. If IMID is integrated with Microsoft Azure AD , the MS platform will do the authentication process.
IMID also gives your users the comfort of single-sign-on. We are starting the roll-out of IMID during the autumn. The current, temporary user management solution used in the Dashboard will me moved to the IMID platform shortly.
Let us know if you want to have more info about IMID.
ePaper and News Apps
Let’s start with the App Platform. During the spring, we released a major update of the whole platform. Everything is now 100% native, giving your readers the best possible reading experience. We have also added a set of new modules to the platform.
Login and authentication. The platform integrates with your digital subscription system at the backend. In the app, you are able to configure native views for your login workflow.
“Top News”. Use Lists in the Dashboard - exactly the same lists that we are using in Everyware, to view one or more edited lists in a native view. A Typical usage is a Top News Tab, or a Sport Tab.
Digital Editions. The Digital Editions module lets you tell your stories by curate and publish stunning digital editions of your news, magazines or newspapers with a superiors user experience. With a minimum of fuss, editions can be created and published, delivering a beautiful mobile reading experience.
Personalized Content. In addition to the predefined feeds, like Latest, Top or Economy the platform let your readers create their own feeds and follow specific topics, geo locations or authors. The personalized feeds are instant updated with local notification and optional push notifications. And everything is available in the out-of-the-box standard package.
On the short-term roadmap is support for in-app purchase in AppStore and Google Play, with optional backend integration to your digital subscription system, like Tulo Payway.
To minimize the implementation project there is also a pre-configured News app using an pre-designed theme. Using our standard theme together with your content, you can be ready to go live within a few days. Of course, you can do minor changes to the theme, like logo, colors and fonts.
Thanks for reading all the way here!