Magazine Reader application

I really shouldn't discuss this publicly, because one hates to set unrealistic expectations, but at the same time, I'd really like your input.

If you've ever seen the Times Reader application available from the New York Times (discussed here, here, here, and here, among many other places), then it probably comes as no surprise that this is an idea we've been bouncing around here at TechNet Magazine Headquarters for some time. The idea of a full-fidelity electronic reader experience - one which works both  online and offline, allows you to search content, take notes, share with your friends, and print articles in a refined way (in other words, without the URL at the bottom and the sides chopped off) - is very appealing to us. What's more, a reader application of this sort can be built using the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and a standardized RSS infrastructure (the Times Reader is), allowing for a very rich, yet flexible, visual experience.

Is this something that interests you? We know that many of you experience TechNet Magazine and MSDN Magazine content online via our Web sites, but if it allowed for a richer visual experience (and also provided an alternative to our CHM files for offline reading) would you be willing to download a free client-side application?  What kind of features would you like to see included?  What would add value in an application of this sort for you as a reader?

Our hope  is to be able to deliver something like this to you in the not-too-distant future. I can't promise it of course, because developers cost money <g>, but it is an idea that's pretty high on our priority list. We'd really like to get your input though, and make sure that if this is something you're interested, that your feedback goes into the process very early on.

Drop us a line and let us know what you think, or add your comments to this post to continue the discussion.  And make sure to check out the free 30-day trial of the Times Reader application. It's a great example of the kind of experience this sort of technology can offer.



Comments (6)

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s great to know, Mike.  Thanks!

    I don’t forsee us going down the PDF road any time soon, just because posting lots of individual files becomes cumbersome.

    That being said, if we do end up creating a Times Reader-style application, we have no intention of removing the CHM file downloads. Those are very easy for us to create, and they have a very small footprint, file size-wise.  Our intention is to enable you to experience our content in whatever way works best for you, and we’ll do that by providing as many options as possible.

    Thanks again,


  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Kevin!  Great to hear.  Fortunately, WPF allows for some great flexibility when it comes to re-flowing text based on the screen layout. We’ll certainly take that into account though.  

    Keep those suggestions coming. Thanks again!


  3. Kevin says:

    Yes! I would most certainly use this. I loved the Times Reader interface.

    One important aspect I think is the ability to reflow. I use a tablet pc, and it is very annoying when something I am reading will not reflow to take

    advantage of the different screen format.

  4. mike says:

    I really enjoy the chm format because I can read the magazine on my pocketpc with microOLAP’s CHM ebook Reader.  I wouldn’t be able to read the electronic verions in the Times Reader Format on my PPC.

    I could deal with it in a PDF version but I really don’t need or want another application to maintain and patch on my machine for just 1 magazine.  I would probably have to go back to reading the print copy instead.

    – Mike

  5. Krishna says:

    definately would be interested. i think its great and the market is not very rich for this sort of application. especially the mass market.

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