In this presentation from the 2022 Typefi User Conference, Caleb Clauset, Typefi VP Product, discusses the latest new product developments and current projects in progress at Typefi.
Caleb goes through the tentative product release schedule for 2023 and goes into detail on the latest updates to Typefitter and AutoFit. He also reveals for the first time our latest new product: an all-in-one collaboration app called Project Marcoola that allows for seamless authoring, editing and publishing.
“…we want you to be able to take the same resources you currently have and literally do more, that you can publish more faster, you can get your content to market faster, that you can shorten the time between when the content is authored and when it’s published…”
|00:54||Typefi 8 demo|
|04:23||Do More versus Do Less|
|09:32||Upcoming product release schedule|
|13:31||Typefitter updates & demo|
|16:40||AutoFit updates & demo|
|19:24||Project Marcoola reveal & demo|
CALEB: All right. It’s really exciting for me to be back and to actually see people, like not in a little box on my screen.
So I’m Caleb Clauset. I’ve been with Typefi now for 17 and a half years, which just seems like an eternity.
But I wanted to start in looking at sort of Typefi 8, and sort of rewinding. And so I’m gonna share this, a video, that, a presentation I did in 2015. So this is right after we launched Typefi 8, new branding, new everything.
Typefi 8 demo (00:54)
DEMO VIDEO: So in the beginning was the Word.
Now we start with the book. Start with the book. We also need to go online and mobile. Now the idea is we have these three outputs. We wanna do them simultaneously, single source, but the reality is this is what we usually do.
So Typefi, what can we do about this? This is a live video recording, recorded live, showing an end-to-end solution, real time, taking a Word file, tagging it, adding the structure, and we’re done. And then taking this Word file and printing it directly from Microsoft Word through our cloud service to InDesign, converting to XML, submitting it to the server, flipping over to InDesign, real time paging of the book.
Now there’s gonna be a pause here in a little bit as we drop in some graphics, but you can see you’ve got chapter titles coming in, section dividers, everything’s properly styled up front, fully automated.
Look at the bottom right hand corner in just a second. Here we go. Images dropping in, hands off. Footnotes, end notes, cross references, indexing, table of contents, all fully automated.
Here it comes again. Here come the final thoughts, conclusions, end notes. Jump back the beginning, table of contents, exporting out to the PDF. Saving EPUB, and we’re done in one minute and 44 seconds.
This is the actual PDF, press ready, good to go. Switching to the EPUB, same content, single source, out of the box.
So one of our publishers started off, before Typefi, they did 50 journals, 95 books in one year. They increased that to 145 journals, 350 books—three times the output.
Another one, acceptance to first proof. So a complex title, 112 days, standard title, 45 days. With Typefi, reduce it to 28 and 38, 2x faster on average. That’s why we say do more. Thank you.
Do More versus Do Less (04:23)
CALEB: So do more. Do more has been a tagline that we’ve had since the beginning with Typefi 8.
And the idea behind this do more is that we want you to be able to take the same resources you currently have and literally do more, that you can publish more faster, you can get your content to market faster, that you can shorten the time between when the content is authored and when it’s published so that it’s more relevant, more current, that you can publish in more formats.
And when we were first going through this whole sort of branding exercise about what Typefi was, what we represented, there was also this aspect of, well, we want to do less. And it’s not about, like we don’t want to do less, we want you to have to do less, we want to make it more efficient and that you sort of get your life back.
I know in my own experience as a designer that deadlines and production schedules and so forth, that it can be pretty intense. And so the idea of the software allowing you to actually have a life, be more lazy, I guess in a way. Aspire for laziness!
And so this is something that really interests me from a product perspective, this sort of tension between do more and do less. And that sort of occupies a lot of my thought about what Typefi is doing as we move forward.
And so in a way, sort of encapsulate this idea of do more, do less—do less is delivering the magic without this learning curve and how we start thinking about minor improvements within Typefi that just make life easier and better. Increase the usability and accessibility of our software.
And then do more, it’s about creating the opportunities to go further, looking at new file formats that are coming up, thinking about new ways of collaborating and working with others and pulling more content into Typefi.
So, some of these pillars, from a product perspective, under this heading of Do Less, this responsive design. We think about this a lot of times when we’re talking about web design, we don’t think about responsive design as much when we’re thinking about print or print-like design.
But in Typefi, I think we can look at Designer, with AutoFit and the way that we lay out elements as a responsive design, that it’s adapting to the content as it flows through. And the way that we can leverage Peter and Vlad in the scripting and to automate complex or strange tasks that are not handled natively within InDesign and how we integrate that directly into the content flow.
And then I think the other thing that is key in our DNA at Typefi, is about minimising the distance between you and us. From a product development perspective, it gives me so much pleasure to look at our software today and being able to identify, oh, that feature or that concept came from conversations with you. And so it’s very much about listening and hearing what you need and where you want to be going and taking your hopes and aspirations and building that into our software.
When we think about do more, sort what we’re doing in the future, a big part of where we’re going is really looking at this plugin in play, that Typefi having, leveraging the APIs and tying into other solutions and other things that you’re already using outside of the narrow scope that Typefi has been, so widening that relationship.
And then this movement that I think we all are aware of where we’re moving from a world of documents into data that our content is not necessarily locked into this singular file format that we want to be able to slice and dice and repurpose and reuse and have it all over the place. And so it’s not really this monolithic document any longer.
And then collaboration is a big one. And how do we start to involve others in this process and so that we can have content and review within this scope of Typefi.
Upcoming product release schedule (09:32)
So thinking about what’s coming up and looking at our product plans, and thinking about the cadence of those releases. Looking at this calendar, you can sort of see some trends. And this is intentionally very small because these are obviously projections and lots of things can change.
But we can see in the second sort of column of October, February, June, that this is sort of an InDesign focus—Typefitter, AutoFit, so forth. And November, March, July we have the Typefi logo. So Typefi server, boom, boom, boom, down there.
Writer is, we just had a release with Writer in September, we’re doing another release of Writer coming up. Guy’s gonna talk more about Writer and that process of how we start to think about content and how content can flow into Typefi from other things.
So in thinking about a product roadmap, sort of dividing into three tiers or lanes of released in progress and in development.
So some of the stuff that we’ve released recently, the local formatting in Typefi Writer, MFA support within Typefi server. We have telemetry data as an opt in within Typefi server as well to help us help you faster. And Typefitter 5 is now available for InDesign server.
Things that are coming up in the very near future. Next week InDesign 2023 will be announced by Adobe and we intend to have releases for both Typefitter and AutoFit on day one. Typefi Designer will follow in November because that’s when InDesign server will become available. So InDesign desktop comes out next Tuesday, but InDesign server will be sometime in mid or late November.
Other things that we’re looking at or very close to releasing are federated sign on across Typefi apps. And so this is really pushing that single sign on so that when you log into—how many people are actually using my Typefi or have logged into my Typefi at all? So just a handful.
So my Typefi is a sort of dashboard of what your tickets are, what your software is. And so instead of having to sign onto that separate from Typefi server, from the FTP site, and all these sorts of things, we’re moving towards integrating all these things and having single on.
Guy is gonna talk a bit more about the content authoring.
And then also we’ve done a lot of work in JATS and ISO STS. DITA is now becoming another one of our major pillars in content formats.
And then content that’s in development, this collaborative surface, I’ll talk about that in a second.
Engine Express and Engine Advanced. So we’re differentiating the engines that drive composition to, so Engine Advanced will add this ability to update an existing design. And so you laid out something with Typefi and you want to, not recompose the entire thing, you just want to update some content within that, Engine Advanced will support that.
New CXML tags for accessibility, and then some enhancements around Typefitter 5.
Typefitter updates & demo (13:31)
So a couple demonstrations. So Typefitter 5. This is something that we launched last year for individuals and we’ve just released Typefitter 5 for InDesign server. So here’s a quick little video.
DEMO VIDEO: Typefitter is an intelligent typography plugin for Adobe InDesign 2020 or later. It can identify nearly any typographic issue and recommend fixes for them and even fix issues automatically based on rules you create.
I’m going to use Typefitter to find the typographic issues in this document. To start, use the dropdown at the bottom right of the panel to tell Typefitter where to search. Then click find at the top left of the panel.
The plugin will instantly locate all the typographic issues in your search area, and it will highlight these issues as you click through and show recommended fixes for them here within the panel.
The first issue Typefitter identified is overset text. And it looks like the references have gone a bit over in length. So I’ll select only the reference text, then I’ll drag the Copyfit slider, and once I get to negative three you’ll see that all that text is now back on the page.
Here’s a short last line. With Typefitter, I can drag the Copyfit slider to quickly bring this last word onto the previous line.
To see what Typefitter is actually doing here, click the carrot just above the Copyfit slider on the right side. Now you can see exactly which settings are being adjusted and by how much. So essentially as you drag the Copyfit slider, Typefitter adjusts word spacing, letter spacing and glyph scaling in perfect harmony to provide a clean result.
Typefitter can also help you keep track of where you’ve made changes. Click the hamburger menu at the top right of the panel and select highlight Copyfit text to highlight all the text in the document that you’ve adjusted with the Copyfit slider.
In that same menu, you can also turn on Typefitter’s white space river highlighter, which will instantly highlight any distracting rivers in your text.
These are the core features of Typefitter, but there is also a pro version that supports profiles, automated rules and script integration.
With Typefitter profiles, you can define specific minimum and maximum values as to how much you want the Copyfit slider to adjust your text. You can also add automated rules to define automated fixes for specific issues.
And I’ve created this profile with an automated rule for fixing short last lines and I’ve defined within the rule which issue to search for, which paragraph styles to search, how I want the fix to be done, and what line length qualifies as a short line. Now if I select this profile from the dropdown and then click find, Typefitter will only search the paragraph styles I’ve defined within the rule and it will only show me paragraphs with short last lines.
And as you can see, there are three errors. And with this rule I’ve created, I can actually click fix all to fix all these issues with a single click.
AutoFit updates & demo (16:40)
CALEB: All right, so next up I wanna show you a feature that’s coming up very soon around AutoFit, and this falls into that category of sort of the do less.
It’s a quality of life improvement in AutoFit as you’re creating these things. This is a demo recorded by one of our newest engineers that was hired in Sri Lanka, Chamari. And so we’ll go with that.
DEMO VIDEO: The other really powerful feature of AutoFit is the ability to create parent-child relationships between elements.
To do this, I’ll select the AutoFit tool from the tools panel and click on the frame handle of the object I want to be the parent. Then I drag and release on the frame handle of the object I want to define as the child. Now as you can see, AutoFit now snaps to the handles when dragging over to the child object.
Now you see a line here indicating that I have created a linked relationship. I have already set up auto sizing on this text frame, so when I add text to it, the frame will grow downwards and the image frame will move with it to preserve the spacing between the objects.
But as you can see, my lower text frame is now overlapping with the image. To account for this, I can actually set this lower text frame as another linked child object.
To do this, select the AutoFit tool again. With the initial relationship still set, select the same handle on the initial child object to set it as the second parent. Then drag and release on the frame handle of the object you want to define as the second child.
As you can see now I have another linked relationship. Now when I add to the upper text frame, the image moves downwards and the lower frame resizes in perfect sync.
CALEB: So if you’ve ever used AutoFit before, you’ve probably been frustrated with trying to figure out where the end point, when drawing those parent child relationships, went to. And especially if you had a very small frame.
And with this new release as you click and drag, it will show a tail of where your AutoFit relationship came from and it will automatically snap to any of the nine control points on your objects. It just makes it easier to apply and create those relationships.
Project Marcoola reveal & demo (19:24)
Next up, and this is the big one, Project Marcoola. This is something that we have been talking about and has in many ways been sort of our pandemic project.
And so one of the reasons why I wanted to show that video at the outset of where we came from is that everything in that video from 2015 was very much focused around the document. This idea of here’s a Word document that’s gonna create an InDesign document that then creates the PDF document. And what Marcoola is all about is that it is a collaboration surface and it’s really looking at documents as data.
So I’m gonna let Baz talk about this one.
DEMO VIDEO: Hi everyone. I’m Baz and I’m here to give you a sneak peek of a new app we’ve been working on, Project Marcoola.
So this is a collaborative space for you and your entire team to work. And the idea is you can work on your content all the way from the initial draft through to final production-ready document and then publishing that in the output format that you choose or from within the one app.
So here we’ve got a bunch of files and folders, and you can do all the expected kind of things you could in a file browser. You can copy and paste files, you can drag and drop to move things and you can undo any mistakes. Command Z.
And then there’s a bunch of features to help you get to the files that you’re working on quicker. So there’s pinned folders in the right here that you can use to jump to the stuff you’re working on currently.
And there’s this really powerful search bar at the top. And you could use this to just type in the name of the folder you’re looking for and go straight there. Or if you’re looking for a particular file, you can chain a bunch of queries together to narrow down that search. So let’s look for a PDF that’s larger than 500 kilobytes. This one.
And on the right hand side here you’ve got this collapsible activity panel. So in here you can see the full history of a file you’ve got selected and you can scroll back through time and see every change that’s ever been made to it, who’s worked on it, and any comments that they’ve made. Everything is saved here.
So with this file, I can see it was created by Dilum. He’s uploaded a version, changed the status to in progress, he’s uploaded some more changes. He’s assigned it to Kate and put a comment here, can you do a marketing pass on this please? Kate’s worked on it for a bit, sent it back, Dilum sent it to Marie for a translation pass and changed the status again.
And all of these file versions here, you can click on those and get a preview of those at any point that they’re in and you can see what people are commenting at that phase. If I go back to a really early version, we should see some changes.
And you’ve also got the ability to roll back to any one of these previous versions if you need to. And like I said, everything’s always saved. You’re not gonna lose any changes this way.
And you’ve got files that are assigned to you. We saw in that file just then, Dilum was assigning files to people. And I’ve got files assigned to me. And on the left hand side here, I can see I’ve got two files assigned to me at the moment. And from here I can see the status that those files are in and who’s assigned them and when.
And if I have a look at this fact sheet PDF, let’s do a preview of this. I can see the activity on the right there. I can see one of the last things that Dilum did was publish this and then he set it to in review and assigned it to me.
So I can see already that there’s a typo here. Strategy is spelt wrong. I kind of got the option here. I can either fail this, should automatically send it back to Dilum, or I could just fix this typo myself. It seems like such a minor thing. So let’s leave him a comment, found a small typo, will fix it myself. Just let Dilum know what’s going on.
Let’s have a look at this publish action that he did last. So it was published from this job with this PDF, sorry, with this publish preset using these input files. And if I click on that input file, it would be a DOCX file that was used to generate that PDF. And we can see that that typo is just inside that DOCX file there.
So let’s open that, and this time I’m sort of opening a preview of it, I’m gonna open it in Microsoft Word. So we integrate with a bunch of different apps. The first one being the Office suite. And this will open up the file directly in Word, it will handle any of the uploads and downloads for me. So I don’t have to do any of that myself.
I can open up the file in Word, make that change, file save, and we can see that come across automatically in here. So let’s go to where that file lives and we’ll wait for that change to come across.
And that change has come across now. So we’ll just do a quick preview to make sure that’s the case. Let’s do a preview of that file. Yup. That’s been updated. That little typo has been fixed.
Now it’s time to publish that file. So we’ll do a publish. It’s gonna remember all of the settings that we used last time this file was published, and this is going to upload all of the content and all the images and any fonts that are required as part of this job.
It’s gonna upload all those to Typefi server, Typefi server’s gonna run that job. And then it’s gonna bring back any output files that we’ve chosen for it to bring back. So there may be some things that we do want, some things that we don’t. And that’s all preconfigured in the publish preset.
So that’s finished now. That PDF file has just been automatically updated. We didn’t have to go and fetch it ourself from Typefi server. It’s just been done for us. Let’s do a preview of that file and see if that typo has been fixed. And it has. There it is. And I can see that publish action was run on it and that’s fixed it.
So yeah, we can mark this as approved now and that’s automatically going to change the status of that file for me to released. It’s no longer in review, and now I can move on to my next task.
So yeah, thanks for joining me for that quick preview and we’ll be showing more of this app very shortly. Thank you.
CALEB: So Project Marcoola, this is coming soon and we have a round table that we want to get your feedback and get your thoughts on the first time seeing this, what excites you? What do you see this missing? How can we integrate that into this last stretch of development in 1.0?
But the ideas behind Marcoola is that it’s this cloud-based, collaboration focus. That having the frictionless integration with authoring and review and editing and really looking to leverage this idea of doing more with that content.
And so that is sort of the summary of the big things that we’re working on right now. There’s a lot more to come and I’m gonna hand it over to Guy who’s gonna talk about some more exciting stuff.
VP Product | Typefi
Caleb drives the vision and strategy for Typefi’s products, and cultivates strategic partnerships with developers to extend Typefi’s core capabilities.
He is an award-winning designer and Adobe Certified Expert in InDesign with over a decade’s experience designing, developing and implementing publishing technology. He holds a Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.