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InDesign users to be extinct like "lead" users, CSS coauthor cries!

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Linda Cunningham

Once you know what a serif is, some places you get to call yourself an expert.

(Or as someone said to me in Iqaluit, "an 'expert' is someone from South of 60, with slides" (in the days before PowerPoint).

Amazing -- we all agree on something.

I've learned some basic CSS because I had to for a client (to post some of their stuff on a website I did not design in the first place), not because I wanted to. ;-) And as much as I think Dreamweaver is terrifically useful for sketching-out things like tables that can be intricate (WYSIWYG is rather passé, as Joe has noted, although it does have its moments), I find that I still do most of my coding by hand.

But to make a blanket statement like this shows an incomparable amount of ignorance -- heaven forfend, even "lead" users are anything but extinct!

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Christian Robertson

InDesign will go away when printing goes away, which is sooner than people think. Everyone will cry for a while about how good type was in the days of InDesign and "desktop publishing" and lament that "they just don't make 'em like they used to". Then type on screens will get better and everyone will forget, except for a few grey hairs on Typophile :)

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Christian Robertson

Technologies usually don't go away completely, but their use tends to become more specialized as they are replaced. The paperless office is actually a good example. Sure we still use printers, and there is still paper around the office, but they are used very differently. Paper now tends to be very temporary. It is almost always a copy of something that already exists in digital form. It may be a handout for a meeting, or a note to be thrown away, but it's rare that people have binders and filing cabinets full of things they intend to keep. More often for that type of thing you hear "can you send me a digital copy?". What's more, that transition is far from over. Offices are still populated by "digital immigrants". The new generation of natives use the technologies very differently, and they certainly aren't printing out everything they read like the old folks.

Another good example of this would be handwriting itself. Whereas handwriting used to be used for everything, it was replaced in large part by printing. It was replaced further by typewriters and morse code. Computers, personal printers and email further relegated it to a niche purpose. Texting and t9 have even replaced it for notes passed under the desk in junior high school. Now it's rare that we use handwriting to communicate with anyone but ourselves, rarely over distances, and almost never archivally. Sometimes it serves a nostalgic or ceremonial purpose, like for handwritten thank you notes.

Interestingly, the same thing happens with words as they are replaced by new ones: the old words take on more specialized meanings.

As for a date where printing will be gone from the face of the earth: probably never. As for a date where it started to fade, just look at the sales charts for paper newspapers, paperback books and annual report design, to name a few. Moving forward the act of stamping ink on paper will likely fill a niche purpose, at best for something useful or artistic, at worst for nostalgia alone. Unfortunately there will be typographic quality lost in the translation (ie that last 20%), especially at first.

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William Berkson

Christian, I think there's no doubt that the mix is changing, with more going digital. How far it will go to my thinking depends partly on how good screens get. Have you seen the new Amazon 'Kindle' screen with text on it? I haven't, and I'm wondering if it really is 'digital paper.'

We print things out or buy print on paper when we want to read anything extended. And the preference for readers, probably based on physiology and psychology of reading is for small type--12 pt and under. That means to my thinking that screens won't substitute for paper until there are high resolution screens--at least 300 dpi,and maybe up to 1200. And then, I don't know. As Yogi Berra said, prediction is really hard, especially when it comes to the future :)

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Stephen Coles

"InDesign will go away when printing goes away"

I don't think it has much to do with the medium. InDesign will go away when a proper typesetting tool replaces it. CSS is not it.

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Thomas Phinney

"Ah, they’re just hedging for the popular angle, something contentious to make people read it. Or maybe they’re on a bum steer. I wouldn’t take it too seriously."

You are completely wrong there. Håkon Lie seriously claims that such free fonts are "good enough" for general use, and has been working very hard to prevent the adoption of any web font scheme that would work with retail/commercial fonts.

I'm a bit bemused by folks putting down Adobe-promoted standards relating to typography. I take it PostScript, Type 1 and now OpenType have not solved real problems and you didn't like them?

Cheers,

T

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ebensorkin

Christian, I don't think you have completely argued the notion of "also" away. You have made some great points however. And I don't disagree with them.

Still lingering or malingering does go on. Vinyl sales are up in a big way....

I also think we don't disagree so much as maybe differ over degree of certainty.

And maybe we are thinking about different time scales as well. In 100 years I think we can't hope to imagine what's in store - I think thats the period I was arbitrarily thinking of for whatever reason. But where things will be in 20 years from now... I think you are describing that quite well.

Long term though - I think that at polyform state of existence for text/letters in the far furure is the safest bet of all.

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k.l.

As to the original post, I fail to see the scandal. Forget all the rhetorics (20% vs 80%, death of InDesign), just stick to what he actually presented.*
The presentation makes it clear that Mr Lie is not a typographer, see his selection of 'good' typefaces or the fact that he does not seem much interested in OpenType except for the fancier features. I do not even care since in the more fundamental issues he is pretty right: The HTML+CSS model is (or allows to be) quite strict in separating two independent domains which are, first, structured data, and second, (graphic or typographic) representation of these.

I think that in the long run, typographers will need to think of design in a more structured and abstract way. Designing nice books or brochures manually and individually by placing frames on a virtual page and filling these with given texts or images, is one thing. It is another thing to 'design' design rules -- the actual design results from (automatically) merging data and design rules. This is nothing to be afraid of, it can help make the design process more efficient. And this does not necessarily result in a loss of quality: What did the most traditional book designers do? Define the design rules. See the beautiful sketches by Jan Tschichold or Max Caflisch.
With this in mind, I consider ther HTML+CSS approach as pretty interesting. Another example is DocScape (cannot find an English version). This system allows to program very complex design rules, and one command will merge these with texts and images from any database and generate a PDF of an entire catalog or book. Its developers claim that this is much different from scripting layouts in InDesign or XPress in that these fill fixed template pages or frames with content while in their system the layout by default is supposed to be programmed such that it can deal with texts and images of various length or size, e.g. using two columns instead of three.
'Defining design' rather than 'designing' requires that designers or typographers are able to think of design abstractly.** And to make designers (myself included) feel comfortable with this it needs appropriate visually oriented tools. This is a particularly interesting question for which I have not seen solution. How would such a tool represent a layout, and allow designing it, if there is no 'content' yet? Would it be possible to create such a layout visually nevertheless -- and also show which parts of the layout are fixed and which parts remain variable? In short, how to represent virtual representation of data?
Nobody seems to have made an attempted to address this. Current solutions either force designers to fix text and image snippets on a digital page (PageMaker, XPress, InDesign), or require developers rather than designers (like LiveCycle, can anybody explain this to me in an afternoon?). There is nothing inbetween.

*  I think it was Mr Lie who made an interesting remark in the presentation: The actual typographic representation, which also includes things like hyphenation or optical margin alignment, is not up to CSS itself but to the browser or PDF generator.
**  For this reason, web designers and developers may easier adapt than print designers. Also I am not surprised that all these technologies, PrinceXML, but also AIR and WPF emerged from the web & UI design rather than the print world. My impression is that currently there are pretty exciting things under way, including the above-mentioned technologies. Many of these have the potential to change the way we think of design: By allowing to address document (or print) design, web design, UI design in the same 'language' they may help overcome the strict distinction of these three -- they have more in common than previous design tools (special tools for each of them) suggested. The real distinction is between data and their representation. The same data can be represented in a book or on the screen, or these data may be opend up for manipulation, then the form of representation turns out to be a UI.)

As an aside, it is with more or less automatic design in mind that I think that fonts need to be spaced and kerned well enough that no or very little intervention by the typographer is required. And OpenType helps a lot with this.

Karsten

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aluminum

"Why use CSS for typesetting? Back Asswards."

Not at all. That's the very point of CSS. No different than style sheets in your DTP apps.

"Amen. How much professional typography experience do these gentlemen actually have?"

How much typographical experience do 90% of inDesign users have? ;o)

"I don’t think it has much to do with the medium. InDesign will go away when a proper typesetting tool replaces it. CSS is not it."

CSS isn't a typesetting tool in and of itself. It's style markup language. Consider it like printers marks on the margins of a proof. Given that a lot of content is now being natively stored in XHTML and XML and the like, CSS seems like a perfectly logical extension. Now, whether or not Prince is 'the tool' is certainly debatable, but I certainly see CSS as the future. Rather than XPress styles, InDesign styles, Word Styles, we'd have one standard: CSS. If anything, and if the moons align, we might see InDesign eventually just use CSS natively within the application.

"I’m a bit bemused by folks putting down Adobe-promoted standards relating to typography."

Nothing wrong with [insert big software corporation] promoted standards. It's when they are also solely owned by said entity that some of us tend to start rooting for the open standard instead.

And yea, I can't think of any Type-centric standards that Adobe has created that have been anything BUT a boon to the industry. I, personally, just have qualms about the Adobe vs. Microsoft issues as we go forward in trying to agree on standardization of content storage in general. If you're in a business where part of your requirements is to pump content out to the public at-large, then open HTML begins looking like the best solution. As it is now, one-click exporting from print documents into an easy to publish HTML format is still a bit of a dream for most DTP apps (though, admittedly, a big part of that is simply lack of application user training/knowledge).

As for calling these gentlemen out for a lack of type knowledge, I think that's valid...they are clearly more technology orientated and seem to be focused on a lot of university and scientific documentation (which is the origins of the web). But I don't think that invalidated their vision...if anything, it should be a call to arms to help them improve the product based on the needs of the professional typesetter/designer.

"Still lingering or malingering does go on. Vinyl sales are up in a big way...."

This is maybe for an entirely different thread, but I find that point very interesting. Why is that? Clearly, part of that is the fact that it's a tangible item. Perhaps that's the appeal of Prince for some? It turns the intangible screen of HTML into a tangible book?

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Si_Daniels

"Vinyl sales are up in a big way...."

"Perhaps that’s the appeal of Prince for some?"

Prince was always better on vinyl, purple vinyl in particular.

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aluminum

"Prince was always better on vinyl, purple vinyl in particular."

Ha! Purple Rain was the first LP I ever owned. (I'm not sure if I'm proud or embarrassed of that fact...)

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Mark Simonson

I think the idea of separating content from presentation is very useful and has a huge potential for making information more accessible, but it's not always easy to draw the line between the two...


(Dada poster, 1923)


(Poster for a typesetting service, design by Jack Sommerford, 1979)
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James Arboghast

@Thomas: You are completely wrong there. Håkon Lie seriously claims that such free fonts are “good enough” for general use, and has been working very hard to prevent the adoption of any web font scheme that would work with retail/commercial fonts.

Thanks I didn't know that. I know Ray Larabie's fonts rather well. His free products have no serious problems. But surely there's a taste issue here. Ray's old Larabiefonts catalog is permanently "set" in the late 1990's/2000 era geist. Dieter Steffmann's blackletters I love but have never seen under the hood, and again there is a style issue.

Also, by "popular angle" I was thinking of Manfred Klein's mysterious output, confusing him with Steffmann for a moment.

@Thomas: I’m a bit bemused by folks putting down Adobe-promoted standards relating to typography. I take it PostScript, Type 1 and now OpenType have not solved real problems and you didn’t like them?

I like what Adobe has given us and embrace it whole-heartedly. OpenType allows me to realize some fantastic creative ideas.

W3C's concept of typography and typesetting I find compromised. Its lack of versatility and precision is offputting.

j a m e s

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Thomas Phinney

@James: No offense intended to either you or Ray, but I might disagree with you on the quality of his fonts as well. I guess it depends on what you mean by "no serious problems." For my own needs and how I evaluate fonts, >95% of the time I'm holding it to a pretty high standard, and price is only a secondary consideration for me.

I also assume that Ray is making a tradeoff between the quality of his fonts and the quantity/variety they produce (or the time he puts in per font, if you want to look at it that way).

Type designers in general are free to choose something other than the extreme "quality" end of that spectrum. Personally, I'm more interested in typeface quality than quantity, and that's what I'd like to see more of in the world as a whole.

This is all a bit of a diversion from the main topic. i think that the general idea that more and more content is going to be primarily Web based is true. The video in question sensationalizes it a bit, and there are questions about the speed of content migration to the Web. But the general idea is indisputable. I don't think that means either print or InDesign will go away any time soon, though.

Cheers,

T

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James Arboghast

Thomas, no offense taken. I only meant no serious technical problems in Larabiefonts. Aesthetics and typeface design is of course another matter.
I would love to see Ray make fewer fonts of more artful design, but what Ray does is what Ray does (Ray is as Ray does) and it isn't really my job to decide major content issues for him. I'm more a tweaker of his work and a coach, and a partner he bounces ideas off. He does the same for me.

I also assume that Ray is making a tradeoff between the quality of his fonts and the quantity/variety they produce (or the time he puts in per font, if you want to look at it that way).

There is a tradeoff in the amount of time put into each font in order to maintain the level of quantity Ray turns out. But again it's a matter of what Ray does being what Ray does. It's a question of momentum and keeping the momentum going. He needs to because that's his nature. It has everything to do with continuous creative activity and very little to do with compromising quality in any sense.

The video in question sensationalizes it a bit...

Yes, that's what I was getting at with, "hedging for a poular angle". It's not over until the obese lady sings.

Back on topic...

j a m e s

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Dan Gayle

@Aluminum
If anything, and if the moons align, we might see InDesign eventually just use CSS natively within the application.

THAT's what I'm waiting for. An ideal program would be a combination of Dreamweaver and InDesign, able to organize and simplify stylesheets for complex typography ALA InDesign, but output well-specified valid XHTML + CSS.

That's the day that I am happy, where I can spend my time on the visual end of design, rather than on wondering why the padding on this or that DIV is bumping this column over and breaking under IE.

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aluminum

"That’s the day that I am happy, where I can spend my time on the visual end of design, rather than on wondering why the padding on this or that DIV is bumping this column over and breaking under IE."

Alas, InDesign supporting valid XHTML and CSS won't fix the issues with a particular browser.

The reason css isn't 'precise' is that it'd not designed to be. HTML + CSS is how one typically 'suggests' a visual presentation to the end user. It doesn't dictate it.

The appeal of an app like Prince or a CSS-enabled InDesign is that it would allow you to dictate a layout for that one particular medium...in this case, a PDF. You'd still have valid CSS and HTML that may or may not render exactly as you want in any one particular web browser, but at least you'd have the full control over the PDF you are creating. The valid and portable and semantic HTML+CSS is then just a bonus that makes it easy to slap onto the web.

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dberlowgone

"CSS and HTML that may or may not render exactly as you want in any one particular web browser, but at least you’d have the full control over the PDF you are creating."

Then why not use InDesign in the first place? :-o There are several other amuzing things about this thread.

"I take it PostScript, Type 1 and now OpenType have not solved real problems and you didn’t like them?"

Thomas, choice in any of the three was not an issue, so WE LOVE 'EM, LOVE 'EM & LOVE 'EM! Do these 'standards' have the guts, balls and smarts to take on the dynamic networked low res typographic requirements of the planet? apparently not. No font format could, that window is now closed. Please proceed to the next window.

"Technologies tend to coexist more often then they throttle each other to death."

Mmmm, this may be true, more elsewhere than in software. One could make a strong case that the T1 and TT technologies throttled each other to death, in the bleak and blurry view of the web honchos at least.

Then of course, what columns fill up with is far more important than the columns themselves. I mean...have shorter and/or justified lines of text ever made it easier to compose badly designed and/or poorly rendered type into 'good typography'? We've all seen fixed columns s'plode on impact when users have the audacity to pick their own type size.

Cheers!

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James Arboghast

Håkon Lie seriously claims that such free fonts are “good enough” for general use, and has been working very hard to prevent the adoption of any web font scheme that would work with retail/commercial fonts.

That demonstrates how ignorant of typography and good typographic design this original author of the CSS spec, Lie, really is. What an impractical, anti-commercial agenda! Does he, or has he ever, worked as a designer for commerce, doing commercial design for money? Does he understand what drives professionalism and high standards in any design industry? Commercial design is about more than money, its about doing a good job and delivering value for the client's money. The CSS spec makes delivering high quality typesetting impractical. Stop wasting my time.

Shutting out retail/commercial fonts from adoption by any web font scheme is paranoid, nonsensical, unworkable. Come down out of your ivory tower, Håkon Lie. Throw away your bleeding heart prejudices and look at type from the standpoint of quality and the needs of professional users for quality fonts in web-based publishing. You want everybody to adopt your standards, yet you ply them with contempt and mistrust for the makers of high quality fonts.

j a m e s

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ebensorkin

When I was talking about one thing killing another or not I was thinking of how old computer languages still exist and are quite alive because banks are still using & editing code that was written in the 60's. It's a minor % of the code that's written each year and yet it isn't dead.

However David; your point about context/specificity determining the outcome is a hell of a good one. What may be true for say computer languages which rise & fall quickly but may harbor holdouts, may not be true for how documents are stored, or how bread is made or what happens to ID/text layout.

Being slightly contrary I keep thinking of "Micro brew" beer and how it has not only not been wiped out, but seems to be rising each year at the expense of mass market sudz.

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