Waving Goodbye To Adobe InDesign

Jan 5, 2011

Something feels different about this year. Borders bookstore is widely expected to file for bankruptcy and it’s hard not to read an end-of-an-era symbolism into that. Clay Shirky reports that the newspaper industry has, perhaps, finally come to grips with the idea that the web is not just another business avenue but a discontinuity that makes much of what they have always done, irrelevant.

In publishing software, John Hudson, type designer, linguist, and invited expert to the W3C Fonts Working Group reports on Typophile:

The CSS3 font spec support for layout features is significantly more advanced than that provided in most word processing apps and in some respects even more advanced than that in InDesign. The nightly test builds of FireFox 4.0 already provide support for more OTL features than InDesign, both through higher level feature functions defined in CSS and through direct access to font-specific features (meaning that even custom layout features can be accessed).

Write Once, Print Anywhere

One of the things that kept browsers away from functioning as traditional “Desktop Publishing” apps was the need to install your font of choice in the operating system.
Web Fonts broke through this barrier. And the field is clear.

It’s just a question of time. And it will not make a difference if InDesign remains in other ways more sophisticated. If only for one simple reason: the browser is jacked into the network natively and InDesign isn’t.
And it’s about the network, not how pretty the printed output is. People will make adjustments in their expectations in return for the efficiencies. (Lately, the print quality of the books I’ve bought sucks anyway. How about you?)

Seems the “Browser As DTP App” idea is finally on the radar.
David Berlow writes:

Based on that big thing — that @font-face… — 2011 appears to be shaping up as the year browsers begin seriously taking over all the work of typesetting, for both print and the web.

I won’t happen overnight, but: Exit the Compositor, Enter the CSS Stylist. Better start buying Eric Meyer’s books now. You can’t say you weren’t told.

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