Newsbox: Automatic layout software already in development

Well, there was a great reaction to my Newsbox idea(s) on a personalised newspaper complete with context and location specific advertising.

One of the issues raised in the comments was the feasibility of automatic layout for articles of varying length, along with their headlines etc.

As proof that there is nothing new under the sun, I went looking for a programme which would do exactly that. It turns out that there is one. FeedJournal, by Jonas Martinsson, is an RSS reader that takes your rss feeds in and formats them into a newspaper like layout in pdf format.

Currently it only works on Windows XP or Windows 2000, so I’ve only had a short opportunity to play with it. But while it could use polish, and a nicer user interface and would benefit from giving me lots more options as to how my newspaper looked it is, despite all that, pretty much what the doctor ordered.

Currently Mr. Martinsson, who won a Microsoft-sponsored competition with FeedJournal, says that he intends to turn the programme into a web-based service as well. If he did that, I think we might be one step closer to having a Newsbox newspaper that we could all enjoy.

UPDATE: Niall Byrne talks to Mr. Martinsson for Silicon Republic about those plans for a web service. Only the freshest news here on tuppenceworth.


  • Thank you for reviewing FeedJournal!

    I agree with a lot of what you are saying here. FeedJournal came about from many of the same feelings as you express; the dissatisfaction of reading today’s traditional newspapers.

    It is true that a web site is in the works. As soon as next week content providers (bloggers for example) will be able to use a web based service for generating a PDF from their own feeds. The end-result is already available as a demo on my blog.

    Later this year a web site will be available, which will allow readers to design their own newspapers.

    Anyway, thank you for the inspirational blog posts – I appreciate the moral support for the rest of the development work!

  • Daragh O Brien says:

    Ahh, the power of the read/write web.

    A dreamer in Dublin dreams a dream, and magically a do-er elsewhere in the world appears with the technical trickery that might just make it work.

    Jonas – I look forward to seeing FeedJournal in operation.

    Simon – best of luck making the rest of NewsBox work as an idea.

  • Daragh O Brien says:

    Nice to see Silicon Republic picking up on FeedJournal. But equally nice to see Tuppenceworth getting there first!

  • Simon McGarr says:

    Imagine what we could do if we remembered to pay the bills on time.

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