The Publishing Engine was an attempt to reduce the barriers to entry for publishing a magazine-like experience to digital devices.
When the iPad was first released in 2010 one of the first magazines that was published on it as an app was Wired magazine. It was experimental and used many animations to carry it's message, but it was a large app and everything was custom-built. Over time other companies made standardized ways of producing and publishing digital magazines, but the costss were so high that ony the affluent could produce these. MagPlus, for example, charged $15,000 a month, and that was only for 150,000 download. The monetization of publishing digital magazines was almost as high as making print versions.
The idea behind the Publishing Engine was to create web pages that 'felt' like a digital magazine experience. There was no downloadable application necessary, just a webssite with HTML, CSS and Jquery that was designed to let the content behave properly for swipes and scrolls.
at some point there was an inspiration for an ecosystem of creation, where wone would be able to visit a site, start the creation process, upload imagery and input to generate a downloadable web page you could host anywhere. At another point this ecossystem would have an app that collected these web magazines. A further pipe dream would use this platform of publication to break the current closure of DRM from the third market, where people could pay for magazines and give them away when they were done. All of these deas, including the creation, were considered too much for myself to worry about while I was completing my Master of Computing Science. The opening of a digital publishing format for all was put away.
Another concern at the tie was that the vairous manufacturers of phones and tablets were slowly consuming the sides of the displays for their own uses. Apple had the pull-down notification screen which interfered with the table of contentss i the publishing engine. Android had screens that pulled in from the left. An app on these devices can be formatted to ignore this interference, but these web pages created with the Publishing Engine were at the whim of the browser behaviour. They became more fragile.
In the end the three years of research into how to create this Publishing Engine was abandoned. It has lived on Github ever since.
At it's core the Publishing Engine is based off code for an image carousel, except each carousel 'card' is a web page, where an image is laid as the background and text is allowed to scroll overtop. There were elements that allowed text to scroll within a small window on the page as well. It had a built-in HTML5 cache system to allow saving on the homepage of a device, so it could be opened offline. The last iteration included the ability to use left and right arrow keys for movement on a desktop system. There were also attempts made to control where images would be placed (left, center, right, top, middle, left) allowing for 'two-page spreads' and maintaining what part would remain in focus when on different devices.
A example from 2016 can be found here. I caannot guarantee that it works on all devices.