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A typesetting treasure trove

At first glance, it may not look like much—but Peter Kahrel’s extensive online repository of free scripts is an essential resource for anyone who works on long documents in InDesign.

Lines of JavaScript code overlaid on a photo of a laptop with a glowing gold light coming from the screen.
An online goldmine.

After hosting the script repository on his own website for many years, its future was in doubt late last year when Peter made the decision to relocate from the UK to Spain. His UK ISP refused to let him keep the site, or even set up redirection links.

Fortunately, David Blatner at CreativePro Network came to the rescue, and the repository now has a new home at CreativePro.com.

In this interview, Peter shares insights into the repository’s history, and some of the ways that InDesign typesetters can use his free scripts to make their lives easier.

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Automation is great, but it won’t work for my books

Damian Gibbs
Solutions Consultant, Typefi

The most common feedback from publishers when chatting about automation is the belief that their publications are beyond what automation can do.

As a book designer and typesetter with over 20 years’ experience in producing almost every kind of book possible, I get it.

A cute vintage robot stacks wooden blocks with letters and numbers on them.
“How could any software replace what I had taken decades to accomplish?”

The hours dedicated to ensuring each line is hyphenated correctly; taking care of widows, orphans, grunts, and rivers; deciding where to place images (with the perfect crop); appropriately placing artwork in relation to its reference in the content; adjusting leading and layouts to ensure the content fits a publication correctly; and so it goes, page after page.

As a book designer, I was so much more than a machine, and it brought in the bread and butter⁠—and some jam every now and then.

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The Australian bushfire crisis

As news of Australia’s bushfire crisis makes headlines around the world, many colleagues, customers and friends have contacted us to share their concern and offer support and well wishes.

The Sunshine Coast (where our head office is located) experienced several severe bushfires late last year—thankfully no one on our team was directly impacted, except by smoke.

Photo of a small tree with green leaves on a ridge. There is a swathe of burnt forest in the background, where the tree trunks are blackened and the leaves of the canopy are red and orange. A row of houses is visible just beyond the edge of the burnt area.
The landscape is slowly recovering at Peregian Springs on the Sunshine Coast after a severe bushfire in late 2019.

We are a long way north of the current bushfire crisis in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, but it’s a distressing and challenging time for many Australians, whether we’re in the path of the fires or not.

Typefi is supporting the bushfire relief effort with financial donations to several organisations and causes.

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Feeding growing minds in Maa Oya

Chathini Uduwana
Regional Manager Sri Lanka, Typefi

At Typefi, we believe in the importance of doing our bit for others. Every year, our Colombo team works on a Corporate Responsibility Project to give back to the Sri Lankan community—last year we organised and donated school supplies to 55 school children at Weragala Primary School, and this year we decided to support families in another disadvantaged community.

We have the most beautiful and untouched beaches on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. My husband and I visit the East Coast every year as a ritual, taking the opportunity to breathe in the smell of salt, feel fresh sand under our feet, and experience the local food and culture.

It was during these yearly trips we began to notice small children selling things on the roadside, clearly suffering from hunger. There were many primary school age kids in school uniforms, selling fish or vegetables. Sri Lanka has almost a 92% literacy rate, one of the highest in Asia, and it’s even higher in younger demographics.

Two children stand in bare dirt outside a hut in the Sri Lankan village of Maa Oya. The hut has clay walls and a corrugated iron roof that is patched with pieces of fabric and shadecloth.
Children in Maa Oya.

But while education is free, it can be difficult for many to put food on the table to support their children’s physical growth and development.

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Happy 20th birthday, InDesign!

10 Typefi team members lay out their InDesign memories and tips.

Morgaine Auton
Marketing Assistant, Typefi

1999 was a big year. President Clinton was acquitted, The Matrix premiered in cinemas across the globe, Napster pioneered peer-to-peer file sharing, and the Y2K bug was still capturing the public zeitgeist.

Perhaps most significantly for us here at Typefi, and for many people working in publishing around the world, the first version of Adobe InDesign was released in August of that year.

A delicious-looking cupcake with white icing and a black square decoration on top in the shape of the InDesign logo. The words '20 years' are written on the bottom of the logo. There is a pile of mixed nuts on the plate next to the cupcake.
Birthday cupcakes at CreativePro Week 2019.

Called InDesign 1.0, the 1999 version was created as a replacement for Adobe’s retiring desktop software, Adobe PageMaker, which was struggling to compete with QuarkXPress, the leading desktop publishing software at the time.

The release of the OS X compatible InDesign 2.0 in 2002 made it the first desktop publishing software in the space, helping cinch its position as an industry standard amongst Apple users in the creative industries.

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The Publishing Machine: How automation makes space for creativity

Damian Gibbs
Solutions Consultant, Typefi

It is a curious thing, publishing books. I’ve never been sure if it is more art or science; either way, there is no doubt that both are involved, and one without the other amounts to naught.

Access to literature has come a long way since early handwritten manuscripts, thanks to moveable type and the printing press, largely attributed to Johannes Gutenberg. The “technology” Gutenberg leveraged was his own trade of blacksmithing. This is as far from being a scribe as you could imagine—metal versus paper, a loud, hot workshop versus the quiet library environment.

Stock photo of an antique printing press.
The printing press—an early industry disruptor!

It is unknown how or why Gutenberg formalised the concept of moveable type and the printing press, but it is an early example of “disruption” by someone “outside of the business”.

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Work smarter, not longer

Morgaine Auton
Marketing Assistant, Typefi

Microsoft Japan made news recently when the results of its four-day working week experiment were made public.

Attempting to combat a culture of overworking and burnout, the company implemented a four-day working week, and productivity boomed. Employees were also encouraged to have fewer meetings, set a half-hour time cap, and limit meetings to a maximum of five people.

Eight members of the Typefi team standing around one end of a board room table, watching something on a screen and laughing.
This Typefi meeting has more than five people. So inefficient!

Not only did employees have more efficient meetings and take less time off, but costs declined, and 92% of workers said they preferred the change. Productivity skyrocketed by a whopping 40%, while the offices used 23% less electricity and 59% fewer print pages.

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Unprettify CXML code in Oxygen XML Editor

Peter Kahrel
Scripting Engineer, Typefi

XML and CXML code, when seen as one long string, is pretty unintelligible.

In Oxygen XML Editor you can make that code readable by prettifying it (Oxygen calls it ‘Format and indent’). That’s very useful, but the problem is that because of whitespace issues you can’t edit the code, save it, and use it in a Typefi job.

To use a formatted and edited CXML file in a Typefi job, you’d have to unprettify it to remove all the indents and line breaks. But, strangely, Oxygen doesn’t have such a function. However, you can unprettify prettified code with a simple find-and-replace operation.

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DITA + AEM: Lost your design mojo?

Creating visually-compelling print experiences for your customers shouldn’t be a dispiriting experience for you.

However, for many organisations publishing DITA, the sad reality is that producing professionally-designed PDFs is really hard, if not impossible.

It’s time to say goodbye to ugly DITA PDFs and hello to perfectly-crafted print content—automatically!

Typefi, the world’s leading automated publishing platform based on Adobe InDesign Server, now integrates directly with XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager.

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PLAY MORE

Need a reason to drop everything and take a break? Typefi has produced a custom set of playing cards to help our customers, friends and trade show visitors PLAY MORE!

Designed by Caleb Clauset, award-winning graphic designer and Typefi VP Product, the card backs come in four colours and feature an interlaced roundel inspired by The Third Knot, a woodcut created by German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer between 1490 and 1500 (and which, in turn, was inspired by designs created by Dürer’s contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci).

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