Corner Office: Know the Code
HTML5 is a coding language build around just such a structure. IDG has developed Web coding that works across its three TechHive sites, eliminating the accumulation of templates (and the need for more and more coders to maintain them). HTML5 achieves this by being built around semantic tags, whereas previous incarnations incorporated many "presentation" tags to create a multitude of specific attributes that made recreating sites across the Web, smartphones and tablets a chore.
In an interview with Publishing Executive at the Time-Life Building in New York during the "MPA Digital: Technology" one-day conference in June, Jones goes into more detail about his experience with rebranding and reinventing the TechHive sites, the synergy that can exist between editorial and technology strategy, and HTML5 as a key driver of the process.
Why did you decide to unify PCWorld and MacWorld behind a third brand?
The reason for the third brand was we saw an audience opportunity. We had PCWorld, which was largely the PC ecosystem but also covered Macs and mobile and all these kind of things that were outside this core initial mandate. Then we had MacWorld covering similar things, and we saw an opportunity in the space in the middle, where there's a lot of tablets and mobile and really interesting stuff between these areas. We went through a branding process that allowed us to clarify what our mandate was overall for the entire brand portfolio, but also for each individual brand. We're bringing them all closer together, but also allowing them to flourish on their own.
So it was an editorial decision, but it was also an opportunity to revamp the whole code.
Well, at that point we weren't thinking code. We were thinking at some point we'd have to redesign based on the brand outcome, but at that point the objective wasn't to rebuild the systems, it was to revitalize the brands. Out of that came the idea that we wanted to have another brand. That opportunity was presented to us and we thought, 'Well, OK, we're managing these two sites now on this one system, is that working? How well is that working? How difficult is it? What's the friction there? And it was high, and so we thought we'd be better served … stripping it down, starting from scratch and putting everything in one database.