Today, The Batavian is releasing its new mobile app for the iOS platform (iPhones and iPads). You can download it through this link from your iOS device.
This is a completely homegrown app. I decided two years ago I could no longer ignore mobile publishing.
My initial impulse was to try and raise money for development, but as that started looking really difficult, I weighed that difficulty (and spending a lot of time with an uncertain outcome) against just writing all the code myself. The actual code writing started 18 months ago. First I built all the backend (server stuff) to support the app (building the Deal of the Day program was a "getting my feet wet again in programming" exercise), then eight months ago I started building the actual app.
It was every bit as hard as I anticipated, which is why I had avoided the idea for years, especially going through two eye surgeries and now a dislocated knee.
The future of news is mobile. It makes a lot of sense. People with smartphones and tablets always have the world with them, including their local community, and they like to check in frequently to find out what's going on. On the other hand, local news on mobile is still a specialty product, a niche. I think the website is going to be our dominant news and business promotion platform for several years yet, but I also don't want to lose out to mobile when it becomes a bigger part of how people access local news.
The people interested in mobile news, studies show, want fast, smooth access to check the latest headlines. The Batavian's new mobile app is designed to meet that need for those people looking for a fast and convenient mobile news experience. We've streamlined news delivery and what we ask in return is that those who use the app regularly pay just $2 a month for a subscription.
We also use the app to help promote local businesses. Our shoplocal.thebatavian.com local business directory is featured on the app. The directory is now only a framework for the long-term goal of creating a model for business-promotion-as-a-service for mobile and social networking, to bring local readers and local businesses together in a friendly, safe and mutually beneficial environment.
For those on Android: I don't expect to have the Android version of the app completed anytime soon. I'm guessing three months or a little longer. Most of the code that makes the iOS app is the same for Android as it is for iOS, but there are some significant differences to work through. I have some other business tasks to attend to while continuing to cover local news, so my available time for coding is limited.
Download the iOS app.