Today's Desktop Publishing systems like the Macintosh with PostScript are taken for granted, but it wasn't so long ago that these technologies were impossible. Early "homebrew" computer hackers recognized the demand for computer publishing and paved the way for the professional systems we use today. Some of those inventions …
I Invented the Internet
but nobody else liked my idea at the time.....
I was also almost the first man on the moon
Maybe you invented the Internet, but I invented computer networks...
In high school I discovered I could get two TRS-80s to talk together by cross-connecting their cassette tape drive cables. The first machine thought it was writing a string to tape, but it was really read by the second machine, which thought it was reading a string from tape. I cooked up a BASIC version of Battleship to demo the concept.
You do know that networks preceeded the TRS-80? (even ethernet is about 5 years older)
I wrote a small network daemon and client back in '90/91 that let you remotely execute commands via a "path", you could even pass parameters and it would pass back the output of the command (which would include new "paths" to follow), does this mean I invented WWW and CGI?
I invented the Internet, the computer, the car, the bicycle. I was first to ride the horse. I invented the horse. I invented the donkey, the camel and the giraffe and was first to ride two out of the three of them. I invented fire, the wheel, music, dancing, picnics, pets and dinosaurs. I was the President of the United States and both King and Queen of England. I invented the drag act. I was also the first man on the moon, but only after inventing the moon first.
Your tale of the woes of typesetting before 1980 does not sound familiar to me.
Back in the 70s my father's factory had a typesetting computer that produced the type on photo paper without any of the SGML, paper tape or delays that you mention. I remember it well because I used to play games on it but I can't remember the make or model.
It was about the size of a large desk with keyboard, green screen monitor, dual 5.25" floppies, photo paper 'printer' and it took a kind of optical disk inside for the different type faces. You could see the characters on the optical disk if you held it up to a light and the computer would not start without one. Prior to this we had a similar computer with dual cassette tapes for backup.
A fast compositor like my sister could produce the type for a magazine article in ten minutes and, since it was saved to floppy, if there were any changes required then they could be made and new type produced almost instantly. Nothing like the delays you mention.
This system was top of the range when we bought it and produced clean, crisp type in hundreds of type faces. We used it to create the type for printing everything from letterheads to magazines including Practical Camping, Practical Caravan and Wines and Spirits.
When I was a kid
I pretended my kiddies paintbox was a computer with the colour squares as keys and the lid as a screen. I got dirty fingers.
Then years later, I guess someone copied my idea, I saw we had laptops.
I'm responsible for netbooks y'know!
A rather different recollection of the origin of DTP
As someone who learned to set lead type by hand, using a composing stick, and has remained active in printing and graphic arts in Silicon Valley ever since, I find this article distressingly inaccurate. If, by "desktop publishing" (DTP), the author is referring to technologies which replaced phototype and "mechanicals" (pasteups) in commercial printing, then it was the combination of the Macintosh, the Adobe PostScript language, a handful of Adobe Type 1 PostScript fonts, the PostScript interpreter added on to an existing Linotype imagesetter which was then named the "L-100," the PostScript-compatible Apple Laserwriter (and its PostScript driver, which was also used for the L-100), and Aldus PageMaker which began the DTP revolution. MacPaint, MacDraw, and MacWrite also played important roles.
Within a year of the introduction of these items, the market for phototypesetters collapsed.
QuarkXPress soon replaced PageMaker as the page layout program of choice. Adobe Illustrator and Aldus Freehand (formerly Altsys Virtuoso) added vector graphics creation to the mix. Much later, version 3.5 of Photoshop made professional bit-mapped graphics editing possible. Altsys's Fontographer spurred the creation of new fonts. Intense customer pressure and the prospect of legal action led Adobe to allow other companies to produce Type 1 fonts. (Adobe's president, John Warnock, cried at the press conference announcing this decision.)
DOS and Windows users got Ventura Publisher (which actually ran in Digital Research's GEM environment). Ventura was loathed by everyone except some marketing types who were forced to use PCs.
SGML played almost no role in DTP, except in one niche--software manuals and similar docs. Interleaf and FrameMaker spoke SGML, but commercial printers--even in Silicon Valley--rarely had to deal with this. SGML played no role in typesetting prior to this, because every phototypesetter manufacter had one or more proprietary markup languages. The typesetting "frontends" which produced either punched paper tape or were wired directly to phototypesetters, were either hardwired for one such language or were programmable to allow their use with several languages.
Punched paper tapes, depending on manufacturer, had anywhere from 5 to 8 holes per line, with a corresponding difference in language complexity. Some phototypesetters used other media. Linotype modified its machine to use film negatives instead of brass molds. Alphatype's Alphasetter, the highest-quality phototypesetter ever, used reel-to-reel audio tapes.
WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") was available long before DTP. Even the low-end typesetter manufacturer, Compugraphic, offered a WYSIWYG terminal for its Editwriter machines. Similarly, typesetting houses were outputting phototype in multiple columns--even on film--long before DTP.
As soon as microcomputers became available, they were used to drive phototypesetters. I was involved with a San Jose graphics house which used an Altair 8800 to drive a Photon (high-end) phototypesetter in the mid 70's. In the 60's, the folks playing in the big leagues, such as RR Donnelley and Black Dot, were using minicomputers to set type, soft proof it (often WYSIWYG), and drive optical and CRT typesetters.
The bit about the graphics tablet was interesting and new to me, although the idea of using bitmapped type output on a dot matrix or laser printer for printing died almost as soon as PostScript became available.
I remember Interleaf
and I remember how the Framemaker spellchecker used to offer "Framemaker" as a correction for "Interleaf" in documents :)
A rather different........
Odd, I seem to remember John Warnock bursting into tears and becoming 'emotional' when Apple and Microsoft announced their new 'Royale' font format (later renamed TrueType).
Was he a serial weeper?
veskebjorn sez on 11.23.10 @ 16:58gmt:
"The bit about the graphics tablet was interesting and new to me, although the idea of using bitmapped type output on a dot matrix or laser printer for printing died almost as soon as PostScript became available."
Actually, PostScript became available with the very first LaserWriters which shipped in early '85 or thereabouts; the LaserWriter had PostScript already "on-board". The availability of downloadable type was limited at the time, but the folks in our shop managed to make do quite well with Times, Helvetica, Zapf and Palatino.
Still, Adobe's first major digital type collection couldn't ship fast enough for us.
You've actually mentioned PostScript, Aldus PageMaker, Aldus FreeHand and the Apple LaserWriter. You've just mentioned the stuff my dad was working with back in 1987! I have always credited Aldus PageMaker as the first DTP solution, didn't know about the previous attempts back then. The only time I ever used an Apple ][ was at school, I was like 3 yrs old when the Macintosh came out.
My CV is *still* in PageMaker format. There's no cheap option to substitute PageMaker at the moment.
Same event, same tears, I think
Per the oft-fallible Wikipedia: "When TrueType was announced, John Warnock of Adobe gave an impassioned speech in which he claimed Apple and Microsoft were selling snake oil, and then instantly released the Type 1 format as a published standard for anyone to use." My recollection is that he shed tears at this event, which was or included a press conference. Given what I did to my brain in the 60's, just knowing Warnock existed is an impressive feat of memory.
I've used an Editwriter. It used text markup and it wasn't WYSIWYG. Soft proofing is not interactive and does not show live editing, so it's barely more useful than real proofing. And for that matter, the Editwriter wasn't a desktop, it was bigger than a desk, it took up the whole desk plus a big cabinet that sat on the floor.
You have made a good effort, but failed to show me any evidence of a true DTP system that existed before the 1980 system I described in my article. For many years, I have challenged my typesetting colleagues to show me proof of any DTP system that existed before 1980, and fulfilled the criterion I described. Nobody has ever come forward with anything even close. This is what was revolutionary about DTP in 1980, it was not the quality of output or the technical capabilities, it was the total integration of features that we now take for granted. Many high-end professional typesetting systems had one or more of the DTP-style features, but nobody put them all together as DTP. It was impossible, no suitable microcomputer existed before that time.
You're right about the LaserWriter
Apple's first LaserWriter was a Canon laser printer with a PostScript interpreter that used, if memory serves, a faster Motorola CPU than Apple was using in its most-powerful Mac. The beast also had, gasp, 4 megabytes of RAM. Even with all this, you will recall the printer sometimes taking several minutes to "RIP" (raster image process) a single page.
Sometimes this memory was insufficient, for which the old cure was to check the "Unlimited Downloadable Fonts" box in the driver. This made the job take even longer, because the printer would flush part of the font cache when it ran out of RAM, and flushed fonts would have to be downloaded again and re-ripped if they appeared in the doc again. Mind you, all of this downloading of megabytes took place over AppleTalk (on LocalTalk) at about 230 kilobits per second.
In the years preceding the development of the LaserWriter, Macs mostly printed to Apple-brand dot-matrix graphics printers. A few folks hacked interfaces to other printers, including lasers.
You are spot on about the original, limited range of PostScript fonts. I, too, made do--because I had spent almost 20 years previously spending tens of thousands of dollars on new fonts for every new typesetting system I bought. (You may recall that otherwise scrupulous folks often stole new Adobe fonts from their friends and customers.)
The cost of fonts--and the promise that PostScript fonts would be device-independent--is the biggest single reason that printers embraced DTP so quickly, I believe. Even now, most graphics folks still scorn TrueType, just as we scorned Apple's GX fonts, which were another attempt to cut Adobe out of the font and interpreter business. And, my 25-year-old PostScript fonts still do work on the latest equipment.
old downloadable Adobe fonts
veskebjorn sez on 11.24.10 @ 10:35gmt:
"...And, my 25-year-old PostScript fonts still do work on the latest equipment."
I can't begin to describe the relief -- and joy -- I felt when I discovered that my very first sets of typefaces I bought from the Adobe downloadable type collection in 1988 installed and worked flawlessly in Adobe Creative Suite under OSX.
Seriously, man, ain't that some shit? Awesome.
Actually, I invented all of those. Except SGML.
You invented DTP?
So you're responsible for a million badly spelt posters and adverts from muppets with the design skills of a neanderthal :-(
re: You Invented DTP?
an Anonymous Coward sez on 11.23.10 @ 16:58gmt:
"So you're responsible for a million badly spelt posters and adverts from muppets with the design skills of a neanderthal :-( "
Perhaps so, but the wide range of PostScript fonts -- even back then -- made it possible for me to lay out a Sex Pistols record jacket entirely on the Mac.
... printed in thirty seven different fonts because, well, they're there to be used, aren't they!
ahh, them wuz the days
I graduated college in 1979 (late Paleolithic) with a major in Illustration And Design, and for the first six or seven years of my career I did layout the old-fashioned way -- with hot wax, razor blades, Pres-Type, Zip-A-Tone, Rapidograph pens, shape templates, border tape, and "cold galleys".
In the mid '80s, I had the privilege of working in one of the first design studios to use MacOS-based design/graphics and layout systems: a 512k Mac with a HyperDrive, a ThunderScan (remember that damn' thing?) and a v.23 LaserWriter in early '85. For the first year and a half I was there, though, the only computer we had was an old CompuGraphic 7500 system, whose interface could be best described as being like WordPerfect, only clumsier. Typefaces were stored not on disks, but on strips of thick plastic film, one family to a strip, which needed to be manually installed and changed out depending on the typefaces we wanted to use for a job. Typesetting jobs in progress were saved on 7" floppies. Its UI was text-based and extremely clunky, and it output cold galleys on a separate self-contained three-tank developing setup. Ironically, the CG7500 was the same system used to set type at the shop which printed my old high-school newspaper in the mid '70s, and was already several years out of production by the time I learned to use it in '84; in fact, the one in our studio was allegedly one of the last 7500s which still had an active service contract with CompuGraphic at the time.
We got the 512k Mac for our studio in early '85 after one of the art directors and her husband bought one for their home after doing one of the famous Apple "test drives". I wasn't halfway through the Guided Tour before I saw the writing on the wall for the future of my career; I never did finish the Guided Tour before diving headlong into MacPaint, MacDraw, MacWrite and ThunderScan, and damn' near pissed my pants as I watched the time needed to lay out a proposal or brochure go from days to a single morning. It was maybe a month, tops, before we were at the point where we could lay out an entire document on the Mac with MacWrite and MacDraw, using elements created in MacDraw, MacPaint and ThunderScan -- I quickly figured out how to scan fotos at 400% and "snap" them down to final repro size, compressing bitmap pixels to get a very pleasing rotogravure effect -- and then sat back and watched proposal managers and clients scratching their heads at our total lack of aggrevated reactions as they came in with changes needed ASAP.
Mind you, we were still totally winging it and hacking it at the time as the first version of PageMaker wouldn't ship until later that year, and the first high-res imagesetting systems wouldn't ship for another two years -- final layouts from the LaserWriter still had to be pasted onto "flats" and photographed onto neg film on a traditional copy camera for imaging on a traditional platemaker -- but, still, we couldn't contain our glee as our MacOS DTP setup eliminated 95% percent of our design and production headaches practically overnight.
A cold one for Mr. Eicher for being one of the unsung pioneers of digital design and publishing.
My Commodore64 had some sort of extended ASCII for border characters, and moveable sprites. And there were 300 baud modems for transport. In fact, the local radio station broadcast Centipede on the radio so you could tape the program and play it into your box. Broadcasting is publishing too.
Adobe fell victim to Apple early. Poor PostScript2.
I can still remember leaving Apple for PC because Apple couldn't handle multi-vendor extentions. The PC guy got the shaft while a generation of academia paid twice the price for infrastructure and got stuck with Lotus Notes.
Hehe "The Newsroom" and Beagle Bros.
I had forgotten them!
Apple ][ - from the days when computers were fun.
... and to all the haters, I think "I invented DTP" is just a hook line for a history article, rather than a serious attempt to claim to be the originator of the concept.
roff, nroff, TeX, LaTeX, and other WYMIWYG (What You MEAN Is What You Get) typesetting "languages? [La]TeX produces some of the most beautiful output available, especially since it was modified to use PostScript Type 1 fonts. There are other derivatives for specific disciplines. Run on Macs, PC's. Old minicomputerrs salvaged from the junk pile, Linux, Solaris, Netbooks, Notebooks, mainframes or anything else that allows the source to be compiled even if it means cross-compiling.
The input can be prepared on any editor - even Notepad or the notepad clone on my Crackberry.
BTW, you can include Photoshop images (heck, any kind of image).
I did use PageMaker 1.0 on the original Macintosh a lot, so I'm not unfamiliar with that world, I just prefer a system where I can separate the "look" from whatever it is I'm trying to say.
Desktop publishing (for books and the thoughtful)
Yes, there should definitely have been mention of Donald Knuth and TeX (and MetaFont). The proof of how good it is, is that it's still in use today. AFAIK its ability for typesetting mathematics remains unsurpassed. And it was perfectly usable on an Intel 80286 PC with 1Mb of RAM.
However, it's not quite what many would call desktop publishing. It's better for producing books and theses, than newspapers and flyers. It's better for thoughtful authors, than for journalists facing a deadline measured in minutes.
Today, it has become the core of many programs which make the learning curve less steep (especially for non-programmers). For example LyX is now fairly mature. It's freeware. It's probably best described as a WYSIWYM program - What You See Is What You Mean - in other words you instantly see a graphical representation of your markup and your text, but it gets re-rendered (or reflowed) when you click to create and view PS or PDF.
TeX et al versus DTP
"However, it's not quite what many would call desktop publishing."
Agreed. The various markup languages from the IBM (Script, GML, etc), DEC (RUNOFF, roff, etc), and Knuth (TeX, LaTeX, etc) families are not designed for the same task as DTP.
DTP is really about layout: I want a particular kind of visual presentation on the page, including text and graphic elements, positioned just so. The DTP user is trying to achieve a particular overall image.
The "semantic" or WYMIWYG / WYSIWYM markup languages are for presenting content well, with the focus on the content. The whole point is to leave the precise rendering details up to the software. As long as it looks good and is readable, TeX et al have done their job.
Then, of course, there's word processing, which fails at both tasks equally.
William C. Brown?
I remember them...
I sold a lot of Zenith Z-89 CP/M systems to William C Brown.
and before DTP
let's not forget that it was the organisation of metal typefaces, with the small letters low down near the workspace, and less-frequently-used CAPITAL letters placed in the harder-to-reach uppermost box (or case), that gave us the terms uppercase & lowercase that we still use today.
"Maybe it was Todd Rundgren. "
"Maybe it was Todd Rundgren. "
Is that cpmment in particular, and maybe the article in general, what passes for irony in the mid-West? Todd did invent some smart stuff, including some multimedia stuff, and make the odd record or three over the years (calling him a "rock music producer" is a bit of an understatement, though he was quite good at that in his own way) but in the last 35 years (roughly since I saw his 1975 gig at the Liverpool Empire) I don't remember ever seeing anything claiming he invented (or was connected to) DTP.
Whoever did invent DTP for the masses should be shot (posthumously if necessary) for starting the "presentation trumps content" fashion which has in due course resulted in so much wasted time (and indeed in so many lost lives - yes I'm serious, start with http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001OB and progress in due course to the Haddon-Cave inquiry into the Nimrod crash in Afghanistan, an inquiry report which for some strange reason Lewis has so far completely ignored even though it has, unusually, actually named names and resulted in arrests - but maybe not yet charges, anybody know?).
So your the one
who turned my computer into someone else's print manager. You are the reason the rain forest is cut down to print things that I cant read on screen only to find I didn't want to print it anyway.
DTP - turning 21stC hardware into an 11thC woodblock.
IIRC there was a DTP-alike package on the TRS-80 ... it used a very much 'zoomed in' view to cope with the fact that the graphics hardware wasnt capable of displaying what was printed, but if you could cope with that then it was very much a WYSYWYG interface.
I saw that photo of the Teletype keyboard and immediately went on to ebay to see if there's one for sale. Alas, not one. Ah, the happy days of setting a print job running and then going to have dinner whilst the Teletype thundered away in the attic making the whole house shake. The little ding that gave inadequate warning of the tremendous thump of a truly proper carriage return can not be bettered, especially in conjunction with my mother's cooking. The huge piles of scrap paper tape spewed out when the puncher went wrong, and the fun the cat had trying to fight it's way out of it. Learning the mistake that was dropping the little chad hopper underneath the puncher when it was almost full. The smell of machine oil that would drift from the machine after you'd printed a few dozen pages. The tremendous 'clack' when you pressed a key, none of this soft touch malarky. The amusement of editting text files on a PC through a Teletype on a serial port using Edlin.
Do I need help? I think I need a Teletype!
What about Xerox PARC's stuff like the Alto and the software that ran on it? Sure, the Alto wasn't a small desktop microcomputer, but all the elements were there including the laser printing which defined the "professional" DTP market on the Mac in the decade following.
I was using a Versatronic vector to raster graphic systems since at least 1980. It may well have been around before then. It was driven by Data General minis but obviously the package was availabe for DEC etc. The vector to raster was as upmarket as any modern graphics system and included splines and most of the elements in postscript but without the interpreter. Resolution was nearly as good as a modern photo-typesetter. In about 1983 I developed a hack so that high class graphics input could be rendered cheaply on dot matrix printers.
For me desktop publishing came via postscript. It was really easy - and quicker - t o write programs in Postscript and execute them on an LN03. After Postscript I loved Venture Publisher even more - as a techie and producer of computer generated manuals it was ideal. You could do so much automated stuff with it by use of style sheets and generation of the content by other processes.
I've yet to find another package that lets me do the same thing as easily. Every other package I've seen with the word 'publisher' is inflexible and/or crashes a lot.
It was 1972.
I had just leased a machine from HP, the 9830A. You can see the specs on the HpMuseum.org web site.
I was studying law at the time and knew I would need to have it do word processing. Perhaps not DTP as it became known but rather an automatic typewriter.
It came with the BASIC programming language and nothing more. Oh, and I got the extra string ROM. Not knowing any better I wrote my own word processing application that had global search and replace, spell checking and an unlimited document size. HP also sold a Facit typewriter with a whole bunch of solenoids for LQP (letter quality print).
It took a well to develop the application but by the time I started to practice law in 1974 it was fully developed. And HP at the time fully supported their system with office calls and the whole bit. At the time IBM only had their MTST machine. It could only print duplicates of what you had typed earlier. And Xerox was just coming out with their machine.
One day my legal secretary went to a product demo for Xerox. After that demo she asked the Xerox guy how to do spell checking and global search and replace. The Xerox salesman told her that no machine did that. So she went back to work in my law office that afternoon totally unimpressed.
When did the Apple I come out? And the IBM PC? Even Wordstar?
If you check the HPMuseum website you will see that the HP 9839A also offered a hard disc (sharable between 4 systems). That was not a toy. It was not until years later that it hooked up to the early spinwriters as they were called. I even remember seeing a Diablo spinwriter prototype. It was twice as fast as the Facit. It was only about 15 cps.
Just shows what a lawyer can do when you do not know any better.
I also wrote a very complete Tax Analysis application. It would spit out some 90 tax return abstracts in order to analysis real estate investments. Oh, and I wrote the accounting applications for my law office as well. Again, I never knew that shrink wrapped software may someday be available for office applications. Of course, they never were for that early machine anyway.
That HP machine also was available with a 250 LPM thermal printer. It only printed in upper case. But, it was very fast and quiet. It was not bested for rough drafts until the laser printers came out. First from HP of course. 250 LPM is almost instant.
But then that was 1972 hardware.
binary sort anyone?
Hate to reply to my own post but I just had to tell you that I invented the binary sort routine.
I never did have a formal computer class or any kind although I did teach MIS at the University level for a number of years.
Back on the binary sort.
I need a sort routine. My friend the Hp salesman gave me a short code printout for a bubble sort. It worked but was not efficient enough. I finally came up with the binary sort. Actually my first working version used an ramdom pointer to the sorted list rather than the half way point. A random point was almost as good as splitting the field. It offered about 85 to 80 percent of the speed of a true binary sort routine (which I tried a bit later). It worked great. I never knew that the routine actually had a name until years later.
By the way, a bubble sort algorythm was used to sort pages of items stored on tape. Tape access was slow and serial. But, a bubble sort routine provided a way to sort an unlimited number of items bringing them from tape and putting them back with a minimum amount of tape time. 8K bytes user memory only goes so far.
Again, it only goes to show what a lawyer can do when you do not know any better.
Did you really get there before Knuth published the definitive work on algorithms? Bubble sort (bleugh), Shell sort (OK-ish for a simple code and limits on dataset size), several O(ln2 X) sorts (best, unless you forget to randomize first and get unlucky, or get thermodynamically unlucky with "randomize").
Pity you didn't publish.
I don't know what the previous poster means by "binary sort" (probably not a binary-tree sort; maybe a simple binary merge sort), but I'm sure it was published before Knuth's TAOCP. I don't have v3 (Sorting and Searching) handy at the moment, but I don't recall any claims of first publication of any of the algorithms in it.
If the OP does mean a simple merge sort, von Neumann probably beat him to it by a few years - he described it in 1945.
If he means a sort based on inserting unsorted elements into the sorted list using binary search, that's just a binary insertion sort. Without knowing more details about such an algorithm (in particular, how it did comparisons and moves), it's impossible to say just how it compares to various published versions, but it had probably been well-documented by the time Shell was publishing his sort as an improvement to insertion sort in 1959.
By the way, I suspect you mean O(n log2 n), not "O(ln2 X)" (ignoring the routine abuse of big-O notation in casual CS discussions). And O(n log2 n) is only the best case for serial comparison-based sorts; radix sorts can do better - O(kn), or linear time for a given key length - where they're applicable.
And then there are parallel sorts, which have all sorts of other subtleties in their complexity analysis.
command shift d
I was there in 1988 and can attest to the whirlwind change that hit the design and print business. Typesetters went bankrupt overnight and designers had to learn or lose their job (though there are still a few who only use a pencil).
I went from hand paste up to mac whizz and thence to new media
(and I know hand typesetting/letterpress and litho and reprographics - it's all around, yet most people know nothing about it)
Tom 7 are you a troll?
your comment would apply to any technology that did not transmit bits
Should we insult you for the workarounds required in early html to get any sort of design?
No of course not - it's an evolving technology
DTP did lead to some odd experiments but maybe you didn't notice, humans like to be creative - and only by trying can you know if the result is a success