2020 Typefi product update


Join Caleb Clauset, Typefi VP Product, as he shares a recap of Typefi product releases and updates from the past 12 months, as well as a sneak peek of new products and features in development.

Want to know more? Got questions or feedback? Leave a comment below, or drop our product team a line via Typefi Support.


00:00 Intro
00:24 Looking back
02:36 Major milestones

  • Blinkenlights
  • Typefi 8.7
  • Standards Cloud
  • Typefi Writer 8.7 (64-bit edition)
  • Cloud Bronze 8.7
  • Typefitter 4.4
  • Workflow plug-ins
07:40 Request for feedback
08:13 Sneak peeks

  • DAISY plug-in v3
  • Typefi Designer 8.7.1 & Typefi Writer 8.7.1
  • Typefi AutoFit 8.7.2
  • Typefitter 5
10:00 Thank you!

Intro (00:00)

Hi, I’m Caleb Clauset, VP of Product here at Typefi. While this year has been interesting—from learning how to cut my own hair to how to manage the noise of multiple, simultaneous Zoom breakout rooms for my kids’ at-home-learning—we’ve made it through.

Looking back (00:24)

I’ve been with Typefi now for almost 16 years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with many of you on new ways to approach and implement publishing automation.

Much of what Typefi is today came out of those conversations with you. So, thank you. Thank you for challenging us to do more.

As I started planning for this session, I kept coming back to this quote from Marvin Malecha from when I was a graduate student in graphic design. “Always remember, keep the main thing the main thing.”

In thinking about this, before anything else, our values come first. Without clear shared values, we wander independently and contradict one another. Everything is harder when we all believe different things about what’s important.

  • Be straightforward. Whenever we speak, internally or externally, we should speak plainly and clearly.
  • Behaving with integrity. We should be calm, considered, thoughtful, and consistent in our dealings with each other and the world at large.
  • Seeking diversity. As an Australian-based company with remote staff across four continents, we believe the richness and uniqueness of each of us makes us stronger. We all have something to share and we all have something to learn.
  • Quiet expertise. We are not rock stars; we share our knowledge, our skills and our technology through listening and knowing when to make a decision on the spot, and when to get back with the answer.
  • Self-reflection. Our ultimate success is measured by the success of you, our customers. We don’t look to the industry or our competitors for the way forward.

One of my personal highlights each year has been gathering together as a team, and with you, at our annual Typefi User Conference. While the global COVID-19 pandemic cancelled those plans last year, this year, 2021, is our 20th anniversary.

Typefi was founded in October 2001 on the simple premise of design-driven automation. We’ve grown this idea, and our family, to 46 staff across Australia, the US, the UK, Europe, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, and over 100 customers in more than 20 countries. We’ve come a long way!

So, this year, our 20th anniversary, we’ll be hosting a series of events—virtually at first, but hopefully in-person later in the year. We can’t wait to see you again!

Major milestones (02:36)

Without further ado, major milestones. While the pandemic set everyone off their game, we were still able to execute and deliver several major milestone releases over the past year.

Blinkenlights (02:48)

First up, the initial public release of Blinkenlights. Blinkenlights is our job queuing and load balancing service for Adobe InDesign Server. Its key features are:

  • Load balancing. Blinkenlights queues submitted job requests and delegates them automatically to the next available InDesign Server instance.
  • Multiple queues. Blinkenlights queues can map to one or more InDesign Server instances, enabling you to partition your servers to prioritise different needs.
  • Prioritised job queuing. Jobs are delegated to InDesign Server instances based on submission time and priority; when a job with a higher priority comes in, that job is assigned before other jobs with lower priorities.
  • Status visibility and job filtering. Blinkenlights gives you high level status of all jobs and queues, and the ability to highlight jobs that match wildcard search criteria.
  • Performance metrics and logging. To effectively manage your InDesign Server instances requires capturing, visualising, and understanding your job queue data and history.

And finally, Blinkenlights is free for Typefi customers with multi-instance licenses. While you may not need Blinkenlights to run InDesign Server successfully, we highly recommend it when you are managing multiple InDesign Servers.

Typefi 8.7 (04:01)

Next, shortly after the initial lockdown, we released Typefi Desktop 8.7 and Typefi Workgroup 8.7 with support for Adobe InDesign 2020, customisable user roles, keyboard shortcuts, IDML roundtripping, and Content XML 3.2.

Customisable user roles in Typefi Server 8.7 make it easy for you to delegate or restrict privileges for your named accounts. For example, maybe you want to restrict who is allowed to edit workflows to prevent accidental changes, or you want to delegate some administrative tasks to other members on your team.

IDML roundtripping in Typefi Designer 8.7 is very much an “under the hood” improvement, but what it means is that Typefi template markup such as section and element definitions, frame attributes, and Typefi fields are now fully expressed in IDML. So now you can share Typefi elements with your team through InDesign Snippets or Creative Cloud libraries.

Or, for the adventuresome, since IDML is an XML format, you can open and edit Typefi templates with any text editor after exporting from InDesign to IDML.

Finally, Content XML 3.2 adds new local style overrides for paragraphs, tables, and table cells. If you’re familiar with Cascading Style Sheet syntax, using the @style attribute in Content XML 3.2 will be familiar as well.

Local style overrides are currently only supported in Content XML-native workflows, not Typefi Writer, but they’ll be supported in Writer in a future release.

Standards Cloud (05:30)

Also in April, we publicly released Standards Cloud, a cloud-based platform that enables you to produce high quality standards adoptions using the same technology and source XML that ISO uses—no technical or typesetting expertise required.

With the click of a button, Standards Cloud wraps ISO content with your organisation’s customised front and back matter to create a seamless national standard, ready for distribution in under an hour!

In addition to free administrator training, all ISO members can create their first 50 adoptions at no cost!

Typefi Writer (64-bit edition) (06:03)

In October, we released a ground-up rewrite of Typefi Writer for 64-bit editions of Microsoft Word, with new floating paragraph and character style panels.

Depending on the installation method used to install your Microsoft Office apps, your IT department may need re-install the packages as 64-bit applications.

While the 64-bit edition of Typefi Writer 8.7 intentionally doesn’t look different on the surface, we’re very excited about what we have planned for the future!

Cloud Bronze 8.7 (06:31)

At the onset of the pandemic, we decided to delay our planned upgrade of the Cloud Bronze platform to Typefi 8.7 in order to provide continuity and stability when many of us were transitioning to working from home.

But, by October, new working patterns had been established and we felt comfortable rolling out Typefi 8.7 with its support for Adobe InDesign Server 2020, customisable user roles, keyboard shortcuts, IDML roundtripping, and Content XML 3.2.

Typefitter 4.4 (06:59)

As we came to the end of 2020, we delivered a Typefitter 4 compatibility update, adding support for Adobe InDesign 2021 and reworking our installers to be compatible with macOS Big Sur.

Typefitter allows you to manually tighten and loosen text, or create Typefit rules that automatically fix copy problems like oversets, runts (short lines) and imbalanced columns. It can also be integrated with Typefi workflows to apply its copyfitting magic during an InDesign Server job.

And those were our major milestones for 2020.

Workflow plug-ins (07:34)

Outside of those major milestones, we regularly release updated Typefi Server workflow plug-ins.

Request for feedback (07:40)

I’d like to pause here to solicit your feedback. If you are experiencing any issues with any of our software, please let us know.

We regularly review the ideas and suggestions we get from your feedback and incorporate them into product planning discussions. We can’t guarantee specific features or development timelines, but we read every suggestion and respond where we can.

And, as I mentioned at the start of this session, one of my favourite things about my role is working with you on new ways to approach and implement publishing automation. So much of what Typefi is today comes out of these conversations with you.

Sneak peeks (08:13)

I can’t think of a better way to round out this recap than to switch gears and look forward at what’s to come.

DAISY workflow plug-in v3 (08:19)

Accessibility continues to be a major initiative at Typefi, and we’ll shortly be releasing an updated DAISY workflow plug-in that streamlines how you can create flexible and navigable reading experiences for people who are blind or print disabled.

Typefi Designer 8.7.1 and Typefi Writer 8.7.1 (08:32)

We’re also on the verge of releasing updated versions of Typefi Designer to add support for InDesign 2021, and Typefi Writer 8.7.1, with support for inserting field variables within body text, custom page numbering, and detection and replacement of missing images.

Typefi AutoFit 8.7.2 (08:48)

Around the end of the first quarter, we’ll be releasing an update to Typefi AutoFit that adds Smart Guides. Smart Guides are temporary snap-to guides that appear when you create parent-child relationships.

Typefitter 5 (08:59)

Then, mid-year, we’ll be unveiling Typefitter 5, with its modern and intuitive user interface based on Adobe’s Spectrum design system, powerful new copyfit automation rules, and new highlighting features to enhance your typographic awareness.

When we started planning for what would become Typefitter 5, we started with interviews, talking to old, new, and former users, to understand how they were using or had used Typefitter. Which led us to replace the classic tight/tighter and loose/looser buttons with a smooth and intuitive slider control.

And because copyfitting affects multiple underlying text attributes simultaneously, we added a ‘more info’ toggle so you can see which attributes have been overridden and by how much.

Typefitter 5 also uses different levels of highlighting to provide at-a-glance visual feedback.

There’s so much more to show in Typefitter 5, and we can’t wait to get it into your hands. It’ll be a free upgrade for everyone with an active subscription when we release it later this year.

Thank you! (10:00)

Thank you. Thank you for your time, and thank you for the privilege and opportunity of helping you do more.

Want to try the current version of Typefitter? Download your free trial now!

Caleb Clauset, VP Product at Typefi

Caleb Clauset

Vice President Product | US

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.