Turn Gigantic Print Reference Content into Lightweight Apps

by Katia Shabanova

Katia ShabanovaKatia Shabanova from Paragon Software Group, provides us with a substantial essay exploring what publishers entering the mobile market need to know: an introduction to how to turn gigantic print reference content into lightweight apps with cutting-edge features

Quoting  begins The digital market is a highly variable structure, where revenue level depends on a popularity of a certain operating system. Platforms continuously replace each other, winning market share, bringing unexpected breakthrough and ruining hopes. A cross-platform approach is the core of a long-term strategy, guaranteeing no risk at any time. Quoting  ends

Since its launch in 1994, Paragon Software has brought to the mobile market more than 2,000 apps, based on the advanced Slovoed compression technology that compresses even the largest known print volumes, such as Britannica Concise Encyclopedia and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged to the tiniest apps taking the minimal memory space on the device. This Slovoed technology makes it possible for publishers to offer their titles for all available platforms – desktop, mobile or web-based – broadening appeal to a range of consumers while also decreasing time-to-market. The essentials of the digital development process include:

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1. Reliable conversion technology to re-create the brand

A publisher’s first steps to the mobile world begin with converting print content from PDF, MS Word, InDesign, MS Excel or other formats into the engine-compatible digital format. The biggest challenge and the end goal of a successful conversion is to communicate all brand elements into a mobile version. This is the developer’s ultimate goal – to present the mobile user with the same design, look, colors, logo and other layout components as the print edition.

In order to provide a complete brand correspondence and the maximum comfort and benefits for the end-user, the smart Slovoed technology structures dictionary entries by separating them into components such as usage examples, translations, phonetics, parts of speech, tables, pictures, and other groups. The structuring operation permits the developer in agreement with the publisher to add to the app new advanced features, such as colored markup, hyperlinks between articles and directions (for example, English-French or French-English), a possibility to hide or display specific information (usage examples, comments, etymology, etc.) in the article for a more customized view on a mobile device, and many other features.

2. Simultaneous multi-platform development

The key point, which a publisher should consider when entering a digital dictionary market, is that it's a highly variable structure, where revenue level depends on a popularity of a certain platform (Operating System). Platforms continuously replace each other, winning market share, bringing unexpected breakthrough and ruining hopes. Thus, some titles for Mac OS bring more revenue than those for Android. It’s all relative. This instability of the digital dictionary market raises tricky questions to publishers: which platform to choose? How to secure one's investments in case of poor performance of a new platform (bada, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, etc.)? Is there a solution to avoid these risks for publishers?

Paragon Software has it. Slovoed dictionary technology ensures stable revenue level by providing multiple platform support. The Slovoed engine supports more than 15 platforms. From Palm OS, Java, UIQ and Symbian to Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows 8, all have been covered by Slovoed technology up to date. Paragon's 18 years of experience has proved that a cross platform approach is the core of a long-term strategy in digital dictionaries. To implement the idea the multiple platform support, Slovoed technology uses Device Agnostic Data Format (DADF), which is a result of Paragon's 13 years of development process. DADF is a digital data format, which does not depend on the operating system that it has to be implemented into.

Using DADF simplifies the development of the product to shell migration only and reduces development costs per title (e.g. DADF incorporates the keyword list, articles, sound, morphology, grammar, etc.) For example, one database developed for iOS can be used on another platform (e.g. Android) without the database recast. In conjunction with multiple development teams (one per platform) that can work on many dictionary projects simultaneously, Slovoed's cross-platform approach decreases a product's time-to-market and guarantees stable revenues for dictionaries.

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