The Chronicle's new web app for iPad is based on the Financial Times app released last year
Washington newspaper the Chronicle has launched an HTML5 web app for iPad, which is available as part of its paid-for website, print and app subscription bundle.
Inspired by the Financial Times web app which launched last June, the Chronicle's app is integrated with the publisher's subscriber database offering a "seamless extension of the subscription model", Scott Karp, CEO of Publish2, the platform behind the app, told Journalism.co.uk.
The web app offers a native-like iPad app experience and allows users to customise sections, save stories for reading in offline mode, and login with Facebook and Twitter.
As with the FT's app, users access it via the iPad's Safari browser, bookmarking it to add the app icon to the tablet's home screen rather than downloading the app from Apple's iTunes Store.
The publisher also bypasses Apple's restrictions, circumventing the 30 per cent levy and managing its own customer data.
The Chronicle pays an annual licence fee to Publish2, which powers the app, rather than sharing revenue.
Adverts in the Chronicle's app are served by the publisher's ad server and usage is tracked with analytics software.
As the app is powered by its "platform for integrated digital-first publishing" and not by the Chronicle's web CMS, it is a distinct product from its website.
The app also offers content from Publish2's network, including non-profit investigative news site ProPublica and TechCrunch.
The Chronicle app has Facebook and Twitter integration, enabling social sharing, gives readers the ability to save stories to be accessed in offline reading mode and there are gaming elements to "[encourage] users to read more".
The app also remembers the story or section readers had open last time they opened the app.
Android support for the Chronicle app will happen "very soon".
"Unlike native code apps, our Android version won't be a new app, but simply this app optimised for loading on Android devices," Publish2 said in the release.
Publish2 has a number of other publishers on its core platform but this is the first full web app release of this type.
The releases of several other news web apps are in the pipeline, as smaller publishers without large teams of developers welcome the opportunity to develop web apps, Karp said.
The Chronicle uses Publish2's web interface to set their own sections, combine multiple sources – including blogs – and define keyword filters and other metadata, which can be automated, hand-curated, or both.
"We've got a powerful back end, not just the front end," Publish2 said in the release. This "enables the Chronicle to be truly digital-first, creating content for the app and web first, and then flowing the content to InDesign for print."
The Chronicle's publisher, Christine Fossett, said in a statement: "Frequent change is inevitable in our work and personal lives. If business is going to keep pace with the desire of customers they must embrace that change.
"We have been very happy to have partnered with Publish2 to facilitate change at the Chronicle.
" ... We look forward to our continued partnership as they move our paper onto the iPhone, and then Android platforms in the future."