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Professional typography a la Mac

Is InDesign the only good tool?

     
3:27 pm on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a need to produce some historical documents as pdf's for posting on the web. These involve a lot of complex typography, with old-style ligatures, glyph variants, fine positioning, etc. I have some Adobe pro fonts that have these characters in them (the OSX Character Palette shows them), but generic word processors like MS Word can't handle this stuff well (or at all).

I was just testing the realtively new office suite from ROM Logicware called Papyrus. It is a beautiful and elegant little wordprocessor, with lots of advanced features like micro-kerning, but darn it all it can't work with the full scope of these pro fonts either. (The developers told me that "extended Unicode" was on their list, but not soon).

I haven't used Adobe's InDesign before, but I know it's one of the standards for serious typography. I also know it's preposterously expensive.

Is there anything else out there that I should look at for pro-quality typography? I know a little about the field, but it's certainly not my specialty. I really thought Papyrus was going to do it for me, that I hit its blasted font limitations.

10:32 am on Aug 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi - I'm not sure how fancy you want, but there is an app called Mellel wich is supposed to handle unicode well. It's a 'full' text editor for 'writers'. It's not free (but there's a demo.). Then there are some programming text editors for mac which handle unicode, but may not do all the stuff word processing editors do in terms of fancy text layouts etc. SubEthaNet is one. It's not free either. The best i know of ( & most complicated to learn ) is Aquamacs. It is 'emacs' the unix command line editor, w/ an 'aqua' gui. It is supposed to do a good job of handling it. there are several other emacs for mac, but this is the best. It is free. Also Textwrangler is free. It is the new version of BBedit Lite.
-You can insert unicode from the character palette directly into any file at the cursor by clicking on the character then on the 'insert with font' button in lower right corner of character palette menu. Tedious, but...
- I have read that word 2004 is supposed to handle unicode well. But i haven't tested.
- You will want to check out MUFI ( medieval unicode font intiative )
[gandalf.aksis.uib.no...]
This site has alot of info for you.
12:16 am on Aug 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks very much -- I'll check those out.
1:21 pm on Aug 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't mean this harshly, but you can hire a professional designer with InDesign or Quark very cheaply to give you what you want much, much faster and much, much better.
11:37 pm on Sept 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi again - weeks, you are absolutely right. Paying someone else w/ Quark is probably best. One caveat - What kind of copy are you going to give them anax? If you pay the quark user to do typesetting & layout, that's one thing. But if he has to actually type up the document itself, from a handwritten paper in medieval characters, or translate latin to unicode fonts, it's really going to cost, i think. So i would like to add that if you decide to type it all up for them 1st, in proper unicode fonts, then check out the MUFI site. You will find a keyboard layout for osx that handles all the character regions of unicode you need to use. I failed to install it properly somehow & so couldn't test it 1st, but it's there. Instructions indicate complex keybindings to memorize. But if you have to type up the basic document 1st ( so you don't have to pay alot for the job to the quarkist ) then it's worth a shot.
I highly recommend you explore every link on the MUFI site. Drill down through every single link. It's amazing. I found all kinds of amazing things. Alan Wood's Unicode Resources has alot of stuff too. Check out his reviews of editors.
[alanwood.net...]
Also, i did a search for ocr unicode. I found this software - ABBYY FineReader XIX for Fraktur
[frakturschrift.com...]
I have to say, the pricing structure is outrageous & you won't be buying it even if you can afford quark, but check it out anyway.
I then searched & found out Fraktur is a german font used up to WW2, wich is part of a group called gothic, or 'blackletter'. Gutenberg created font 'textura' for his bible. It's a blackletter font too.
I have 2000 .tiff pages in renaissance english blackletter, & 5000 in a kind of 'antiqua' ( easier to read & became more popular) wich i am working on. Annotating every page for publication on the web. So your question really spurred me to do alittle research. I found something really cool at 'Jeff Lee's Computer Typography.
[shipbrook.com...]
He used some old books to create 2 fonts. jslblackletter & jslancient. One is an exact duplicate of the font in the 1598 blackletter book i'm annotating & the other is almost identical to the 1625 antiqua book i'll be doing after. I'll bet it's close to your font too. For a pdf it's great. Readers would need to install them to do any processing w/ the pages you present, but as a pdf download just for reading, these are very very authentic. Best, they are absolutely free!
Also check out 'junicode' available from MUFI site. They have extracted & partially redesigned all the characters for medievalists from the entire unicode repertoire. Many are nicer looking. Especially the 'long S' etc. Unicode's are quite blocky looking.
After you install junicode, when fontbook opens, you need to switch from 'sample' to 'repertoire' in the 'view' (? i think that's the one) menu to get all the characters onscreen. Or look in character palette.
As you can see, i'm into all this pretty heavily, so please post the results of your search for the best editor. I'll need to know myself. I just bought my 1st domains & i'm working exclusively on getting my 1st site up now. Maybe you can sticky me w/ an email address & we can talk offline. Bye.
2:18 am on Sept 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to link you up with someone more experienced than I. Holiday here, so it will take a few days.
6:41 am on Sept 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi weeks - I don't know if your last post is to me or anax or both. Thanx either way. I was writing to you on your advice to pay for a quarkist, but the rest was to anax on all the medieval stuff. He doesn't seem to be hanging around right now.
Me, I can't pay anyone for anything so all my tricks are open source etc. But using something like Aquamacs ( w/ a Latex installation on top of that, if you want fancy typesetting) is a lifetime commitment to learning, which i can't afford either. So you're basically right.
Now that i'm seriously writing my 1st webpage, i've suddenly discovered i don't have time for steep learning curves like Aquamcs ( for the moment, till i get at least one money-maker online, anyway.). I've also just given up the conceit that i can code it all by hand in a timely manner, & installed Nvu. Seems like a good wysiwig.
By the way though, if you're into old books & medieval/renaissance stuff, you should sticky me w/ an email too. I'm glad to see there's people out there like anax, into the same thing. The only forum i've stumbled across hasn't had a post for months!