August 20, 2013 Last Updated 12:38 pm

Simple WordPress app from Kurdish blogger a bit nostalgic

In the course of any given week I must look at dozens of mobile and tablet editions from newspapers and magazines. Recently I have started to write less about the apps simply because there is not much new to say. More and more magazines, in particular, are opting to create native editions rather than replicas, but many magazines from countries outside the U.S. and Europe (and Australia, I should add) still lean towards replicas.

Thoughts-wppage-lgBut I downloaded a very simple app today than was actually fairly nostalgic. Thoughts from Iraq is from the Kurdish blogger Hiwa Osman. The app is about as simple as they come, just a news app that is driven by the RSS feeds from the blog.

In this case, the blog uses WordPress and so I noticed a couple solutions being used: WiziApp and WPtouch, but the app could have any of the DIY app builders.

These were the types of apps we used to see regularly back in 2010. Writers who wanted to make sure their content would be read by mobile and tablet owners released lots of these in the early days. Then things got both more sophisticated and more commercial (look at all the Newsstand apps being released by developers only interested in suckering readers into paying an annual subscription then not delivering any issues).

One could argue that there is no real need for these kinds of apps but we still many newspapers chains still using them. Both McClatchy and the Digital First newspapers (Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group) are still years behind in digital and continue spitting these out.

Talking New Media used to have one of these apps, but it was finally pulled it from the store because they made little sense – a good, responsive website will do a better job.

But this new app brings us back to what the new digital publishing platforms were supposed to be about to begin with – a way to reach out to readers. In many ways we are finding that the app stores are better at this basic function than they are at being a viable commercial enterprise for publishers.

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