AnyManager has released Story Engine, which is a tool that allows you to create Web Stories with no-code, as described in this press release. In this article, I will describe the advantages of creating Web Stories, the system architecture to realize it, the current issues, and future prospects.
What is Web Stories
Web Stories are a web-based version of the popular “Stories” format that combines video, audio, images, animation, and text to create a dynamic consumption experience on both desktop and mobile devices. These Web Stories can appear across a publisher’s website, on Google Search, Google Discover, and Google Images. For instance, most websites show a list of articles with thumbnails and summaries in rectangle format on the top page on a mobile device.
On the other hand, Web Stories brings a new user experience in a new format, such as displaying a list of this article using the entire screen and switching the story with automatic playback.
There are many ways to create Web Stories, but we decided to use AMP Web Stories to generate Web Stories. The reason is that AMP Web Stories already provides variant features that Web Stories needs (automatic switching to the next story, adding animation to background images and buttons, etc…) Of course, there are restrictions because this is based on AMP, so if there is demand for formats other than AMP Web Stories in the future, we can possibly provide Web Stories in other formats.
Story Engine features
The functionality of Story Engine is broadly divided into two parts.
- Create a Web Stories design (template)
- Create an actual Web Stories using the created template
In the creating template part, you can make a based design such as theme colors and site logos for web stories. Our Story Engine also provides a preview mode through an iframe, that allows you to edit a template you make while checking the design.
In the next part to create Web Stories, you can make an Web Stories easily by entering URLs of the article that you want to use. AnyManager sends a request to the page of the entered URL and automatically fetches the title, article description, image, etc. from the HTML meta tag, and binds the data, together with the template you created in the first part. In other words, once a template is created, you can easily create a new Web Stories by simply entering the URL. (Of course, if necessary, you can manually change the title and image.)
After creating the Web Stories, it can be distributed via the server hosted by AnyManager, or a HTML of the Web Stories can be generated and downloaded, which you can host on your server.
The system architecture is roughly as follows:
- Store the template config in our database.
- Crawl data such as title, image from a website.
- Bind template config and crawled data.
- Download it, or serve it on our CDN.
I don’t have anything to say since there is no particular complex part in the system, but the system has to respond to bound data within 2 to 5 sec so that you can easily check your Web Stories immediately.
Current issue and future prospects
The current issue is that if you want to provide your Web Stories on your server, you have to make and download the HTML of your Web Stories and host it on your website, which means requiring the resources of the developer hosting your site. For example, if your website is hosted by an outsourcing company, it will take a lot of time and money before you provide an Web Stories. It does not make sense. Ideally, authors who have no knowledge of the system should be able to create and distribute Web Stories. I have some ideas for the functions and methods to achieve that and plan to develop them in the future. I’ll write another article about it when the new feature launches. Thanks for reading the article about Story Engine and see you on the next article.