Antenna House

Inasmuch as I like their products, I like their people, and they have strengths in XSL-FO, CSS, and EPUB, I’m pleased to join Antenna House as Senior Architect, XML Division.

I am still based in Ireland, and I am still available for consulting, but now it’s as part of my work with Antenna House. In fact, we already have a couple of projects lined up, including prospective work from a company that wasn’t with Mentea.

This blog remains (and, who knows, might even become active), and the resources at remain available, but going forward, I am representing Antenna House.

Mentea training supplies

Inasmuch as people may come to a training session without either a pen or something to write on and there’s always slides and exercises to distribute, there’s now limited-edition Mentea pens, notebooks, and USB drives:

Mentea training supplies

And to reduce the impact of what is essentially a vanity project, the pen body and the USB drive casing are biodegradable plastic, and the notebook covers and sheets are recycled board and paper.

A useful button

Inasmuch as, when using the Oxygen XSLT debugger, I often navigate straight to the files that I want to run or navigate to a line and set a breakpoint and then want to just run it, but I used to also often just rerun the previous set of files I’d been debugging because the debugger’s file selectors weren’t keeping up with my gyrations in the editor panels.

Enter the “Link with Editor” button.  Clicking once on the "Link with Editor" button button beside the file selectors once you’ve got the files that you want to run visible in the editor panels will update the selectors to reflect the currently selected panels.  A useful button, indeed.

Oxygen "Link with Editor" button(You probably want to click it again straight away to turn the feature off again, just so the selections don’t change every time the debugger’s focus shifts to another file for a breakpoint or, rarity of rarities, an error.)

Posted in XML

Printing should be invisible

'Printing should be invisible' coverInasmuch as if any book is going to exemplify the ideal that “printing should be invisible”, it would be a printing of “Printing should be invisible” by Beatrice L. Warde, so I found a copy of the 1937 printing by the Marchbanks Press just to see how invisible it really was.  And, yes, also to have something close to an original of a well-known speech and article about typography, though possibly the 1955 version, produced by Warde herself, counts as more of an original even though it came out 25 years after the speech. Continue reading

Printing Design and Layout

printing-layout-and-designInasmuch as it was written in 1948, “Printing Design and Layout” by Vincent Steer could never be one of those ‘typography’ books that explain everything in terms of dialog boxes for a particular program, and I like that.  There’s a wealth of detail (only some of which is dated), and I don’t know if it’s indicative of the author or the time and place where it was written, but the text also has a wonderful tone that I like.

For example, since Dave Cramer, author of the “Requirements for Latin Text Layout and Pagination” document from the “Latinreq” task force of the W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group, was most recently working on initial capitals, that was one of the sections of “Printing Design and Layout” that I looked at when I got my copy last Friday, where I found this gem:It is entirely wrong to set swash italic initials in this careless manner. Any printer who does this sort of thing should be spoken to rather severely. It is wrong and does not show common sense. Don't put up with it.

Multi-stage XSLT in Ant

Inasmuch as Ant is good at re-running an XSLT transformation or a series of transformations when the XML source changes but not so good at re-running when one of the transformations’ stylesheets’ sub-modules changes, it’s a simple thing to generate on-the-fly a temporary build file containing paths listing the dependencies of each stylesheet so Ant can do the right thing. Continue reading

XSL 1.1 properties

Inasmuch as I find it useful and 50% of the people that I’ve shown it to find it useful, the XSL 1.1 Properties quick reference is now available at It crams all the properties, their values, and their defaults into two A4 pages for when you just want to know the allowed value of a particular property. When printed, it works best when the pages flip along the long edge, and when viewed online, the property names link to their definitions in the XSL 1.1 spec. Continue reading