In 2010, Treesaver arrived, started by a small band of people who believed the future of publishing involved HTML5. Through the new Savory platform, the technology has now been opened up to a wider audience, enabling people to create a hosted Savory site for a monthly rate, and edit it using a CMS. "The service is for publishers, or writers and editors who are ready to be publishers," said co-founder Roger Black, talking to .net about the service.
According to Black, the service differs from a typical website in providing a responsive Treesaver publication: "Content is automatically laid out in pages that fit any size viewport. Readers click or swipe through content like they would an eBook. Savory is tuned for narrative content – for reading. And that's what most publications are all about."
Currently, themes are limited to 'glossy' (magazine-style), 'newsprint' (for newspaper-oriented publications) and 'hardback' (a classic book design). Black told .net the company was keen to get the CMS right before expanding, but that it would "next bring out a bunch of variants and a number of new themes to broaden a publisher's choices. Meanwhile, there are enough grids in each theme to make each publication distinctive".
We also asked Black if services such as Savory point to a further shift away from native apps, following the lead of the FT. "A Savory pub is really a website, and so I don't have to download anything. It works on my phone, my tablet, my laptop and my PC – even though they have different operating systems," he said of the benefits. "If I want to share a story on Twitter, Facebook, or by email, my friends can follow the link wherever they are, and on whatever device they happen to have."
In part, Black argued this trend was down to publishers being scared by Android's growth outpacing iOS, meaning they're no longer content with an iPad or iPhone app: "Frequent OS updates, new devices and new screen resolutions cause code rewrites and increased support. No publisher welcomes the cost. HTML5 is looking better and better!"