February 2024 product update & future plans


In this presentation from the 2024 Pacific Virtual User Group, Typefi VP Product + New Markets, Caleb Clauset, shares some insight into the direction of Typefi as a company and the areas we’re focusing on for product development.

First, Caleb gives a brief overview of the current Typefi product stack, including our automated publishing engines, Typefitter and AutoFit plug-ins for InDesign, connector for AEM Guides, and RunScript online PDF generator. He also explains some of the underlying technologies and the rationale behind them.

Next, Caleb talks about Typefi’s goals and vision for its products and dives into three major themes we’re exploring for future product development: Cloud 3.0, Collaboration, and Generative AI.

Cloud 3.0 involves multiple upgrades to Typefi Cloud including single sign-on across all our apps, a switch to Java 21 and Tomcat 10.1, cloud-native automated publishing with Project Marcoola, and scalable Typefi Engine availability to meet peak demand.

Collaboration builds on much of the Cloud 3.0 and Marcoola enhancements with content tracking and management, and a new initiative called Project Skywriter. With Project Skywriter, we’re looking to bring the capabilities of Typefi Writer to the cloud with a platform that offers similar structured markup tools in a web-based interface.

Finally, Caleb addresses the elephant in the room: Generative AI. We have some big plans around this including new initiatives known as Project Hemingway, Project Maestro, and Project Titian—check out the presentation for more details!


00:00Product stack
03:50Goals & vision
05:20Product themes
07:38Cloud 3.0
14:13Typefi + Gen AI

Product stack (00:00)

Okay, so I think that the first thing that I wanted to talk about in looking at what Typefi does is, actually I put this graphic together around how a lot of our different products stack together.

And there’s sort of this interesting hierarchy with the way that we have client side plug-ins, the Designer plug-ins for structuring your templates in InDesign.

AutoFit, which we actually give away to a lot of people free. And we’ve just recently launched a Professional version of that, which is if you already have Designer, you have the Professional version.

And then we have Typefitter, which again is sort of a hybrid kind of plug-in where it’s both for retail customers that do not use our automation, but just want to be able to do automated copyfitting within InDesign as a service, I guess.

Then with the Writer tool within Microsoft Word.

And then that next tier, everyone is pretty much familiar with the Typefi Server 8. This is where we manage all our files and workflows and so forth.

But we’ve added some new things that some of you may not be using right now, but in the red you can see that we have this thing for AEM Guides called the Connector. And this is something that we’ve launched in the last two years or so to integrate Typefi into the authoring component within Adobe Experience Manager. So this still, even though you’re using Adobe Experience Manager, that still flows through the Typefi Server. That’s where the idea with that stack.

But then the foundation of this, everything is going to go through our tool called Blinkenlights, which is a load balancing and queuing platform that drives InDesign Server.

So that’s a simple little diagram that I put together around sort of how our products mix and nestle together.

You’ll see on the far right hand side we have this yellow blob for RunScript, which is standalone in many ways. This is more of a developer centric tool for running InDesign Server as a cloud service. It does not use the Designer, doesn’t use AutoFit, it’s all based on InDesign scripting and it’s a per use sort of time-based model, more like AWS or other sort of cloud service providers, but still runs in the same underlying infrastructure of Blinkenlights and InDesign Server.

And then I also put together this sort of graphic around just the different technologies that we’re using. And I apologise, it’s actually probably pretty hard to read some of the little detail in here.

But the general idea is that the approach that we’ve taken to building solutions for you guys is really about trying to look at what are the native technology stacks so that when we’re… AEM, Adobe Experience Manager, is a Java based application. And so we’re using Java and JavaScript to create sort of the best possible user experience within that host environment.

Whereas the Microsoft Word plug-ins, Typefi Writer, are written in C# because that gives us the highest quality native integration within those tools.

Goals & vision (03:50)

Alright, so when we start thinking about where and why Typefi exists, I put together this little very simple diagram about this flow of how content moves through this cycle of editorial. And then there’s this design phase when we iterate on the design. And then the goal is that we want to have an impact on our audience, on our customers, so forth.

And where Typefi sort of fits very strongly is in that design phase and sort of bleeding out into the editorial reviews, revisions and so forth, as well as that iteration on the design.

But what we want to be doing and what the principle that guides us in how we look at the software that we develop, the software that we have developed, the features that we add and improve on. It’s all about this idea of doing more that we want to enable you to do more with less time, less effort, less worry.

And so that Do More attitude is the underlying principle behind all of the decisions that we make in our products.

Product themes (05:20)

All right, this is the obligatory legal disclaimer around what we’re showing or what I’ll be talking about here. That these are directions, these are themes, this is what we are planning, but obviously everyone knows that stuff changes. We have to adapt and respond to all sorts of different inputs.

But the major themes that we’re looking at across the next three plus years are, well the first, the big one is this sort of re-imagination of our cloud.

So we could call this the Typefi Cloud 3.0. A big part of this is Marcoola. We’ve been talking about this for about a year now. This is a three year project actually that’s finally coming to fruition and we’ll be launching that this year.

We’re also looking at collaboration as a major theme and thinking about how you, if I jump back to that previous slide, these circles around the edit and iterate is very much about collaboration and how do we enrich and enhance our tools to enable more collaboration.

And this looking at how we can integrate comments, markup, all sorts of things into the Typefi workflow so it’s not simply just an output engine.

And we would be idiotic to not think about or not be looking at how Gen AI figures into our automation and how we can amplify what you’re already doing with our automation through machine learning. So we’re looking at machine learning as a way to augment the existing automation.

And then the final theme here is really talking about the new partners and new opportunities that we have to enable you to do more by collaborating outside of Typefi and bringing in other solutions to that mix.

Cloud 3.0 (07:38)

Alright, so let’s dive a little bit deeper into what we’re looking at in the immediate future, this Typefi Cloud 3.0.

So one of the big things that we’ve been focusing on that’s going to happen most soon is just sort of foundational work.

So there’s some technical aspects where we are moving into enabling single sign-on across all of our properties. And so that when you log into the Typefi Cloud that you don’t have to re-log into our support site or re-log into My Typefi, that one login, you can move seamlessly across all those different properties.

We’re also making a big push to upgrade all of the underlying technology that powers or provides that functionality around the Typefi Server 8 to move to Java 21 and Tomcat 10.1. That’s all going to launch in the next few months. And that will sort of put us into a platform that is current.

It’s also a long-term supported version of both Java and Tomcat. It has all the latest security updates. And so you can be confident that what we are providing in the cloud is stable, secure, responsive, uptime.

Project Marcoola builds on top of that. And this is a new sort of re-imagining of the way that you manage your workflows and the way that you start to manage that content within the cloud. That the user interface within Marcoola provides you desktop-like performance in your browser for how you manage all the different assets that make up that content portion of a content workflow.

And then continuing on that path, when we start thinking about, okay, when we’re looking at desktop class performance, this is about that responsiveness. We want to make sure that you’re not waiting on things to happen.

And another aspect to that is when we look at this content velocity, this is building on some technology that we started with RunScript, which is that sort of on-demand InDesign Server as a cloud service, and building that back into the core offering for our automation customers. That you’re no longer bound to just sort of licence one or two InDesign Server instances to run your jobs, but you can actually scale a Typefi Engine on-demand to have sort of a fractional engine.

So, many publishers have busy times during the year where they just have a lot of content that’s got to be delivered all at once. And so you want to have enough capacity to get that content through the system, but you don’t want to have excess capacity for the times when they’re slower and you don’t want to have to pay for that excess capacity.

And so this ability to scale the engines on demand and have a fractional engine and pay a fractional price is I think something that helps you to rightsize your production capabilities.

And then every year we’re going to be looking at brand new releases of InDesign. So for 2024 coming up in October, Adobe just announced MAX is moving to Miami, Florida, and they’re also going to go with an international roadshow this year. So that’s a big change.

And so we’re looking at a new version of InDesign coming out in October of this year and a new InDesign Server coming out in November.

Collaboration (11:41)

All right. So coming up next, once we’ve implemented or delivered that sort of foundational stuff around Marcoola and the content velocity, some of the things that we’re looking at next are around content workflows.

And so if we think about what Server 8 represents today, it’s all about automation workflows or the composition workflows. And we want to extend that to allow sort of tracking and management and state monitoring of your content that feeds into Typefi.

So those are the content side of the workflows. We’re looking at tools like Frame.io that Adobe bought recently that’s around this collaboration on the video space, looking at Adobe Workfront and how that helps to manage the people workflows in front of these things, and how we can incorporate aspects of those tools into the Typefi platform.

Project Skywriter is a new way of thinking about instead of just having Typefi Writer, which is an add-on for the Windows version of Word, how can we expose the structured markup tools that Writer has in a platform that is universal in a web browser or on a tablet or phone.

And so that’s that initiative there to try to bring the Writer into the clouds.

Co-everything is something that’s going to be sort of a theme for a breakout, but this is really thinking about how can we extend Typefi through targeted integrations and partnerships that help you reduce the time to implement, reduce the time to integrate, to help reduce the reinvention of workflows when you adopt a new tool.

How can we integrate with your stuff so that you can do what you’re used to doing while still taking advantage of the automation that we provide? So we want to be able to be a partner and co-creator, co-everything with you.

Typefi + Gen AI

And then when we start talking about Generative AI, the focus here is how can we augment and sort of lean into this idea of Gen AI as an assistant to things that you’re already doing.

So some of the ideas that we’ve been playing around with.

Project Hemingway, this is about embedding tools within InDesign that provide sort of contextually appropriate suggestions for copy editing.

And so you can think about this as a companion to Typefitter maybe, where Typefitter is a copyfitting tool to shrink or expand the space between words, Project Hemingway might say, well, if we swap out this word for something similar that actually helps, editorially, copy fit the content even better.

So that’s something we’ve been looking at around the Gen AI side.

Project Maestro is looking at integrating Adobe’s Sensei machine learning models into the Typefi workflows.

And we’re especially looking at kind of subject detection so that when you are linking to a graphic asset and placing that, that Maestro might be able to say, okay, hey, here’s a slightly different crop of that graphic that better fits within the overall flow and appearance of a page, but it’s non-destructive, meaning that you have the full graphic there, it’s on device cropping or on device scaling, but using that machine learning to help sort of focus the content or to balance out, oh, this, maybe we would take this wider graphic, make it square, it fits better within the overall look and feel of your template.

And then Project Titian, this is something that’s sort of more maybe audacious in a way, but it’s a text to template type idea where to say, how can we have a conversational interface within InDesign that allows you to create or modify or manipulate a layout that instead of having to necessarily learn all the tools, that you could have a conversation with Titian and it would implement, at your direction, what you want.

Recap (16:45)

So just to recap, again, what we’re looking at over the next several years.

The first, the launch of Typefi Cloud version 3, pushing heavy into collaboration, and then how can we artfully integrate Gen AI into our workflows and into your environments as a way to augment, as opposed to replacing functionality.

And then again, it is just about this idea that everything that we do, everything that we are focusing on as a company is around enabling you to do more without having to tie yourselves into knots and spend extra time, work late.

Being able to achieve these goals in a way that hits that impact, allows you to reach that faster and easier and better.

And that’s where we’re going to end on my side. I’ll stop the share now.