GDP-DA

Urs Hofer

Urs
Hofer

Interviewed by

Rob van Leijsen

<Urs Hofer>10 (b. 1976, Switzerland) graduated from the University of Zurich, and holds Masters in Media, Film, and Computer Science. He lives and works in Zurich as a freelance programmer and artist. His works mostly consist of collaborations with graphic designers or artists, which focus on combining computer technologies with other arts, design or literature. Hofer has been awarded several grants and residencies, and his installations and performances have been shown at the Ars Electronica, the Bauhaus Dessau, the ZKM as well as at various theaters in Germany and Switzerland.

<GG>10 Who is
<Urs Hofer>
?

In the past year Urs made the jump from the indie/alt/emo/punk world to the huge world of mainstream rock. With one album in the mainstream, “Till the Sun Turns Black”, he now joins the ranks of bands you have heard on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. Hofer has a fresh take on current rock standards and the bands and personalities he sings about are genuine and relatable. One song about Jimmy Kimmel and the whole band “Live.” What is the difference between self-produced albums, and albums that are recorded by a “real” recording studio? You could probably say that the record companies/record producers do not really care about self productions but if you want to release on the big labels you have to follow the rules. Basically they want to make money. So if you are a indie/self producing musician it is better to invest time and money into learning the basics so that you can release on your own when you get to the point of releasing the finished album, as you probably won’t receive any labels money if you sell through your own website for example. Most indie/alt recording companies are looking for a songwriter with a lot of demo songs and a few albums so they can put out that songwriter’s music on their own label and still make money off of it. So as a songwriter, the most important thing may be to get at least one or two albums out as a demo and have at least a few of those songs written. They should be decent at least, so that they can get someone to release it. The next important thing is to know how to get a good demo together. You have to have a lot of songs, but they should not all fit to the same genre. It would be impossible for you to get a label to release your album in a certain genre. They want music that is marketable and they want your music to sound good and not like a garage band. If you are a self-produced recording artist the next thing is to go into a small recording studio to record the album. You will have to pay for it anyway. It may be easier to choose a good studio to record at, but they can be very expensive too. The final thing is to mix the songs and upload them to the “net” to be distributed. There are very few of these places and they require you to pay money to put your songs up there.

R.v.L.Urs, thank you for welcoming us to your studio. I want to begin the interview by asking you to introduce yourself, explain how you got into creative coding, and how this has evolved in your daily practice.

U.H.I was born in 1976 near Lucerne. How I got into everything is kind of important. I didn’t study design, or computer programming. I actually studied film science, but that doesn’t matter too much either. My orientation was always interdisciplinary. It also has something to do with the period in which I grew up. There was the rise of the Internet, a sense that everything was possible, a time when concepts like remixing, combining, and “do-it-yourself” proliferated.

U.H.I first learned to program on my older brother’s [Commodore] C64 computer, which was in a way interesting, because you always had this visual output. For me, from the beginning, programming was associated with the idea that, once you do something, you see something, namely a visual representation of your code.

R.v.L.Was there a key project where you moved into graphic design?

U.H.For me there was no key project per se. There were some major projects that provided an opportunity to do some things. I had to earn money during my studies at university, and everybody wanted websites back in the day, and I could make them. As a result, I met graphic designers, who went on to become successful. I began collaborating with them, since they were looking for programmers: at the time, everything regarding Internet technologies was brand new.

U.H.Come to think of it, there was this project that inspired my special interest in generative graphic design in terms of generated books. We started a project called Encyclopaedizer, which had begun as a collaboration between friends who worked in the field of literature. I worked on it from 2002 to 2005. They wanted to create a new encyclopedia, and I proposed doing something generative (i.e. with generated texts). It was during the rise of Google , and this was all totally new. The idea was you could type in anything: we tried not to generate a link list, but rather short definitions, like what you would find in an encyclopedia. The last step followed logically, which was to put this database, that was just a website, back into book form. Anyway, since we had done everything by ourselves, it also felt natural to write the code to generate a PDF of the book at the end, and make use of some technologies that were new then, like books on demand. You could say that, from that point on, I developed a special interest in programming books. It’s not just about design, but also about the organization and structuring of content, which I always found to be just as interesting as all the rest.

R.v.L.Did you work with another designer on this particular project?

U.H.I worked with Raphael Koch, who is a trained graphic designer. We did the layout together. It’s funny because it won an award as one of the most beautiful Swiss books, despite the fact that, from a layout standpoint, we made many mistakes. Still, we played off of those errors. On a technical level, it was done with LaTeX , this famous typesetting language which goes back to Donald Knuth. I didn’t study graphic design, but I was at a university where it was a quite well-known as a tool for typesetting scientific papers, so it wasn’t rocket science. The new aspect was the combination: taking a database, and attaching it to a script that communicates with a tool known in scientific fields, generating output, and then inputting it back into a graphic design context. I was always thrilled to discover new combinations and reuse or even abuse existing tools.

PDGD-ITW-UrsHofer, Image 2
Encyclopaedizer: A Collaborative Dictionary, Rafael Koch, Urs Hofer, 2006.

R.v.L.Did the collaboration with your colleague result in your acquiring layout skills, and did he also learn programming?

U.H.Yes, that always happens.

R.v.L.To what extent did programming have an impact upon the design?

U.H.The script did not dictate the typography, but on a certain level it did influence aspects of collection, selection and arrangement. To be honest, when it comes to design, I was always more interested in the scripting component. For me, it was not about experimenting on the letter itself, but more about collecting and arranging things, and coming up with abstract rules. You create a couple of basic layouts, and then you write a script that combines these layouts over a couple of hundred pages. This kind of serendipitous effect, or the idea of randomness in a book, is a unique thing, because, when you generate it again, the new document looks totally different from the first one. Actually, the idea of the fixed book no longer exists.

R.v.L.Does the script create some surprises?

U.H.Always, that is what is interesting for me and my colleagues. I have another example. It was an almanac about bibliomania. It is made up of a collection of text fragments from notes on bibliomania. You start with a love for books and texts, and it ends in chaos and death if you’re too obsessed with books. Here also, the algorithm reflects the degree of chaos, because it starts in a quite ordered form. The more chaotic the texts are, the more the layout floats around. All of these parameters were stored in a text database as well, and the amount of so-called “bibliomaniac chaos” was stored next to the text fragment.

U.H.We didn’t know what the book was going to look like. We probably generated 500 versions of a final PDF, because we were not happy with the algorithm , the way it developed, and how it laid out the fragments.

R.v.L.Did you modify the algorithm after each iteration?

PDGD-ITW-UrsHofer, Image 2
Detail from book Lieber Barfuss Als Ohne Buch, Rokfor and Urs Hofer, 2012.

U.H.Sometimes. Because randomness is a factor, there is no modification possible once the file is generated. At that point, the final PDF cannot be edited. It was simply created and immediately sent to the printer. So we selected a “good” version, whatever “good” means. There was a lot of tinkering around with ranges of font sizes; it was a totally different approach to bookmaking, not like just thinking about typesetting and doing correct and accurate work. We only had one book—if it wasn’t a good book, we would make another one, until we could generate one that satisfied us.

R.v.L.Was editing the book afterwards initially a design choice?

U.H.For me, it was kind of an important decision, because to do otherwise felt like a lie. If I write a script, and if I say “this book is generated by a script,” it feels wrong if you then edit the document by hand in order to make it beautiful. From the beginning, a fundamental idea was that, if a kind of esthetic or beauty exists that emerges from the code, then I’m content with that. When my code creates a visual representation, like a book or like a layout, it should be interesting because of the coding decisions alone. If you tweak it a little bit afterwards to make it better, it makes no sense anymore to me.

U.H.I have a third example, a text archive left by a journalist, now deceased. He left a large archive of texts behind, which he could no longer manage to organize. He wrote that his dream would be to have a machine that would organize all his texts and create a structure. So basically we set out to make his dream come true. The resulting book is very simple, on a design level. It only has three different layouts: one, two, or three columns, and three basic type styles. Some of the text is a little bit larger because it was marked in the database by the editor as being an essential part of the whole.

U.H.The adoption of those three different layouts was very simple, the shorter a text was, the fewer columns it had. This basic graphic design rule turned into a biographical element of information, since he wrote longer or shorter texts at different stages of his life. Towards the end, he became ill and couldn’t write anymore, and the texts got increasingly shorter. We didn’t have this in mind when we were creating the basic parameters, but we ended up with this kind of representation of his life through the use of just one, two, or three columns. In my opinion, that’s when you see how code, or an idea, can work. That’s also one of the main reasons I like to do projects like this, because you can be surprised by the work you do.

U.H.There are various ways in which you can read the book. No one is going to read the book in a linear way. You basically have ten fields of interest, and they all begin on the cover itself, with these keywords. So this arrangement of texts, which had nothing to do with design, which really is more of a mathematical, statistical, and editorial element, became a main component of the book.

R.v.L.Is it an efficient way of working, in terms of process and going back and forth with the editors and publishers?

U.H.It was a different form of collaboration, but it was not highly efficient or super quick, because for that one should reuse the algorithm . I did other projects where there was more of a focus on the economic aspects. However, this only works if you can reuse the code, and do another ten books based on the same system. That would probably go much more quickly. However, for this one piece, we were working for the love of it, and as an experiment, exploring this new approach of collaboration between programming and design.

R.v.L.While working on books with graphic designers, do they express any regrets about not being able to modify or correct anything after generation?

U.H.I think this type of collaboration only works with designers who are willing to give up their control. As a programmer, I always try to respect graphic design decisions as much as I can. I often do the graphic design myself, and I know how important it is.

R.v.L.If I understand correctly, you are saying that if we use code to generate the PDF, then we have to let the script dictate the final layout?

U.H.Yes, I really try to do this. It has also to do with the tools I use. There perhaps, it gets a bit political. I’m trying to go the open-source way, not to use commercial Adobe tools. Of course they are great tools, whatever, but I really try to write the code on another level. This way you can integrate them into whatever framework you use: PHP , Java Script, Java , C++ , whatever languages you like to use. That’s my approach. It would probably be different if I had studied graphic design.

R.v.L.Is there a noticeable esthetic difference between generated books and books designed with conventional software?

U.H.It’s hard to say. I don’t know many LaTeX -produced books that have a “design-centric” approach. So it’s still a unique work. I wonder why LaTeX is not used more widely. You can often see that generated books deal with matter that can easily be generated, like long repetitive database dumps and lists. Nevertheless, particularly in book design, I don’t think there are many published books produced by code or scripts.

R.v.L.If you project this way of working for other outcomes, like websites, and artistic installations, does the same method also apply?

U.H.Sometimes it does. I mean, whatever I do, whether it’s art installations or websites, I always use my own tools. The tools are often connected, because in the end I try to separate the two. The content goes into a database, and the outcome can be a book, a website, or an installation.

R.v.L.From an economic standpoint, is programming the main part of your business? Is it a viable service that you can propose to clients?

U.H.Yes, from an economic standpoint, programming is the core thing I do. In the last few years, it consisted of a lot of websites. I’m 100% self-employed, I don’t have another job. Sometimes I teach, but not on a regular basis, so it’s not like I can just follow some ideas I want to create in my practice here, like more books, for example. If it happens, that’s great, but it’s not easy, because I always need funding in order to do my projects.

R.v.L.Have you also noticed an increase in people coming to you for web-based projects?

U.H.It has always remained consistent, and that’s good. I’m very happy that I work with the same graphic designers over the long term. I think, to be honest, the older I get, the simpler it gets, because a lot of people I know who were into programming stopped being self-employed programmers. They wanted to start a proper business, so they hired employees, and were less flexible to do more creative and artistic projects, because there wasn’t enough money in it. Not a lot of people in the programming business can remain self-employed, I guess. For me it’s kind of an advantage. I keep myself up to date, although I think core concepts have remained the same over the last twenty years, they haven’t changed that much.

PDGD-ITW-UrsHofer, Image 2
Detail from website Skulptur Projekte Münster, for LWL Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Lehni-Trüb, Lukas Marstaller, Urs Hofer, 2017.

R.v.L.Do you notice a lot of new applications and new tools popping up around you?

U.H.Yes, but the changes are on an application level rather than as regards the core languages used, which, in contrast, have remained the same over decades. Just a couple of years ago, nobody was creating server applications in Java Script. Now it’s totally normal. For example, in terms of Node and Java Script, whose libraries and frameworks I use, this is a rapidly evolving environment. Today you might use this, and tomorrow probably something else; you have to be aware of what might become useful. You also have to look at the newest developments with a critical eye because they can also just be fads.

R.v.L.You spoke about open source before. Do you share your tools or your systems?

U.H.I share them on Git Hub. I write code to create my project, and because it’s sometimes based on other open-source projects, I give back and make it public. I don’t feel obligated to write proper documentation to make it a successful framework or basic library. One outstanding example is Jurg Lehni’s Paper.js , which is a big open-source project that is extensively documented.

R.v.L.What is your opinion regarding designers and programmers who license the tools they develop?

U.H.My opinion is that if somebody creates a tool or a font, he or she should get money for it. I can totally understand somebody saying: “I’m writing code and people should pay for it.” I have always been against stealing property, because it’s hard to make money with an open-source project, and with design tools it is probably impossible. I mean, you give away the tool for free, so how can you make money with it? Probably only by selling services based around the tool. All these excellent open-source tools die because the creators behind the tools don’t have the energy to maintain the project without any financial resources.

R.v.L.Do you see any barriers that remain in terms of graphic designers becoming acquainted with coding?

U.H.If graphic designers want to learn programming, they should start doing it. They shouldn’t be shy and worried that the result will not work. There are so many tools around nowadays that bridge the gap between abstract coding and graphic design. I think it has gotten easier for graphic design students to learn to code, but it all starts with curiosity.

R.v.L.Do you think that the new generation of students is picking up programming more easily?

U.H.Younger generations know a lot more about various disciplines and about tools and coding, but they also have a different approach to coding. When I started to code, you really had to write the code, you had to write everything. Now you can just pull chunks of it together. Anyone can make their own website just by using the proper tools, you don’t really have to code. The boundaries between coding and designing are much more blurred now. I’m not saying that it’s bad, it’s just another approach. The way we work with designers has changed dramatically. When I started, there was a clear separation between coders and designers. I would work with a designer who made the design and I was writing the code, and the outcome would be a website, for example.

R.v.L.You don’t see it as that separate anymore?

U.H.No. Also if I work on a website with a designer, the first question that comes up is “what’s possible nowadays?” Back in the 2000s, it was the designer who dictated what was possible. Now, to a large extent, the variety of devices and technological tools available dictates what is possible. Also, a lot of websites look similar because they need to run on smaller displays. This has a major impact on design, on all levels really, from the domination of the device, down to the coder and the designer.

R.v.L.Have graphic designers lost their prime position in the design process?

U.H.Yes, perhaps. I also think a lot of designs end up being somewhat similar when views on design are defined at a corporate level. If Google , for example, releases a new style guide, like Material Design , this has a huge impact on the clients’ perception of design, and designers have to deal in those terms. Consequently, one sees that the Internet, with its tendency towards big corporate monopolies, does not inherently promote a diverse approach to design.

R.v.L.Thank you very much, Urs.

U.H.You’re welcome.

Glossary

ActionScript

ActionScript was an object-oriented programming language originally developed by Macromedia Inc. (later acquired by Adobe Systems). It is influenced by HyperTalk, the scripting language for HyperCard. ActionScript was initially designed for controlling simple 2D vector animations made in Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash). Initially focused on animation, early versions of Flash content offered few interactivity features and thus had very limited scripting capability. Later versions added functionality, allowing for the creation of web-based games and rich web applications with streaming media (such as video and audio). Today, ActionScript is suitable for desktop and mobile development through Adobe Air, and can be used in some database applications, as well as in basic robotics, such as the Make Controller Kit.

Adobe

Adobe Inc., originally called Adobe Systems Incorporated, is an American multinational computer software company. Incorporated in Delaware and head-quartered in San Jose, California, it has historically specialized in software for the creation and publication of a wide range of content, including graphics, photography, illustration, animation, multimedia/video, motion pictures and print. Adobe was founded in December 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke. Flagship products include: Photoshop image editing software, Adobe Illustrator, a vector-based illustration software, Adobe Acrobat Reader and the Portable Document Format (PDF), along with a range of tools primarily for audiovisual content creation, editing and publishing.

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application developed by Adobe Inc. and used in the post-production process of filmmaking, animation, video games and television production. Among other things, After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation. It also functions as a very basic non-linear editor, audio editor, and media transcoder.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor and design program developed and marketed by Adobe Inc. Originally designed for the Apple Macintosh, development of Adobe Illustrator began in 1985.

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing and page layout designing software application produced by Adobe Inc. Graphic designers and production artists are the principal users, creating and laying out periodical publications, posters, and print media. It also supports export to EPUB and SWF formats to create e-books and digital publications, including digital magazines, and content suitable for consumption on tablet computers. In addition, InDesign supports XML, style sheets, and other coding markup, making it suitable for exporting content for use in digital and online formats.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics editor developed and published by Adobe Inc. It was originally created in 1988 by Thomas and John Knoll. Since then, the software has become the industry standard not only in raster graphics editing, but in digital art as a whole. Photoshop can edit and compose raster images in multiple layers and supports masks, alpha compositing and several color models. Photoshop uses its own PSD and PSB file formats to support these features.

Adobe Shockwave

Adobe Shockwave (formerly Macromedia Shockwave) is a discontinued multimedia platform for building interactive multimedia applications and video games. Developers originate content using Adobe Director and publish it on the Internet. Such content could be viewed in a web browser on any computer with the Shockwave Player plug-in installed. MacroMind originated the technology; Macromedia acquired MacroMind and developed it further, releasing Shockwave Player in 1995. Adobe then acquired Shockwave with Macromedia in 2005. Shockwave supports raster graphics, basic vector graphics, 3D graphics, audio, and an embedded scripting language called Lingo.

Algorithm

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is a finite sequence of well-defined, computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of specific problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are used as specifications for performing calculations, data processing, automated reasoning, and other tasks. Starting from an initial state and initial input, the algorithm’s instructions describe a computation that, when executed, proceeds through a finite number of well-defined successive states, eventually producing “output” and terminating at a final ending state. Algorithms are essential to the way computers process data. Many computer programs contain algorithms that detail the specific instructions a computer should perform—in a specific order—to carry out a specified task.

Apple

Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to develop and sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. It was incorporated by Jobs and Wozniak as Apple Computer, Inc. in 1977, and sales of its computers, including the Apple II, grew quickly. They went public in 1980 to instant financial success. Over the next few years, Apple shipped new computers featuring innovative graphical user interfaces, such as the original Macintosh.

Application Programming Interface (API)

An API is a set of defined rules that explain how computers or applications communicate with one another. APIs sit between an application and the web server, acting as an intermediary layer that processes data transfer between systems.

Arduino

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs—light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message—and turn it into an output: activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board. To do so you use the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring), and the Arduino Software (IDE), based on Processing. All Arduino boards are completely open-source, empowering users to build them independently and eventually adapt them to their particular needs. The software, too, is open-source, and it is growing through the contributions of users worldwide.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals. Leading AI textbooks define the field as the study of “intelligent agents”: any system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of achieving its goals. Some popular accounts use the term artificial intelligence to describe machines that mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as learning and problem solving. AI applications include advanced Web search engines, recommendation systems (used by YouTube, Amazon and Netflix), understanding human speech (such as Siri or Alexa), self-driving cars (e.g. Tesla), and competing at the highest level in strategic game systems (such as chess and Go).

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is computer-generated content overlaid on a real world environment. AR hardware comes in many forms, including devices that you can carry and devices you wear, such as headsets, and glasses. Common applications of AR technology include video games, television, and personal navigation.

BASIC

(Beginners’ All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. The original version was designed by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz and released at Dartmouth College in 1964. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all computer use required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn.

basil.js

basil.js is a simplified library aimed at designers. It brings scripting and automation into layout and makes computational and generative design possible from within InDesign. Additionally it also includes workflow improvements for data imports from various sources, indexing and complex document management.

C++

C++ is a general-purpose programming language created by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1982 as an extension of the C programming language, or “C with Classes.” The language has expanded significantly over time, and modern C++ now has object-oriented, generic, and functional features in addition to facilities for low-level memory manipulation. It is almost always implemented as a compiled language, and many vendors provide C++ compilers, including the Free Software Foundation, LLVM, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, and IBM, so it is available on many platforms. C++ was designed with an orientation toward system programming and embedded, resource-constrained software and large systems, with performance, efficiency, and flexibility of use as its design highlights.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style-sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language such as HTML. CSS is a cornerstone technology of the World Wide Web, alongside HTML and JavaScript. CSS is designed to enable the separation of presentation and content, including layout, colors, and fonts. The term cascading derives from the specified priority scheme to determine which style rule applies if more than one rule matches a particular element. This cascading priority scheme is predictable.

Commodore C64

The Commodore C64 was a flagship personal computer product of the Commodore company, released in 1982. It was largely recognized as the highest-selling personal computer model of all time, with between 10 and 17 million units sold (according to available estimates). The Commodore C64 was an 8-bit home computer with 64 kB of RAM. It ran on a Commodore BASIC operating system and had a VIC-II graphics card, an external 170 K floppy drive, ports for two joysticks, and a cartridge port. In its time, the Commodore C64 stood out from its competitors in terms of both sound and graphics, with multicolored sprites and three-channel sound that provided what was, for that era, cutting-edge technology. The ability to play Commodore games on the system was only part of the appeal, with a variety of business uses also built into the early computing system.

Commodore VC-20

The Commodore VIC-20 / or VC-20 (known as the VC-20 in Germany and the VIC-1001 in Japan) is an 8-bit home computer that was sold by Commodore Business Machines. The VIC-20 was announced in 1980, roughly three years after Commodore’s first personal computer, the PET. The VIC-20 was the first computer of any description to sell one million units.

Database

A database is an organized collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system. A database is usually controlled by a database management system (DBMS). Together, the data and the DBMS, along with the applications that are associated with them, are referred to as a database system, often shortened to just database. Data within the most common types of databases in operation today is typically modeled in rows and columns in a series of tables to make processing and data querying efficient. The data can then be easily accessed, managed, modified, updated, controlled, and organized. Most databases use structured query language (SQL) for writing and querying data.

DrawBot

DrawBot is a powerful, free application for MacOSX that invites you to write simple Python scripts to generate two-dimensional graphics. The built-in graphics primitives support rectangles, ovals, (Bézier) paths, polygons, text objects and transparency. DrawBot is an ideal tool for teaching the basics of programming. Students get colorful graphic treats while becoming familiar with variables, conditional statements, functions, etc. Results can be saved in a selection of different file formats, including high resolution, scaleable PDF, SVG, movie, PNG, JPEG and TIFF. DrawBot is written in Python. The DrawBot project started in 2003 as a program named DesignRobots, written for a Python workshop at the TypoTechnica conference. Since then the application evolved into a Cocoa application with a powerful API and image export functionality. It has proven itself as a key part of the curriculum at the Royal Academy in The Hague, and is developed by Just van Rossum, Erik van Blokland and Frederik Berlaen.

Dual Licensing

Using dual licensing, licensors can distribute software to licensees under a proprietary model as well as an open-source model, allowing the licensor to simultaneously leverage the advantages of both types of licenses.

EPUB

EPUB is an e-book file format that uses the “.epub” file extension. The term is short for electronic publication and is supported by many e-readers, and compatible software is available for most smartphones, tablets, and computers. The EPUB format is implemented as an archive file consisting of XHTML files carrying the content, along with images and other supporting files. EPUB is the most widely supported vendor-independent XML-based e-book format. EPUB is a technical standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum and supported by almost all hardware readers.

e-Reader

An e-reader, also called an e-book reader or e-book device, is a mobile electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital e-books and periodicals. Any device that can display text on a screen may act as an e-reader; however, specialized e-reader devices may optimize portability, readability, and battery life for this purpose. Their main advantages over printed books are portability. An e-reader is capable of holding thousands of books while weighing less than one book. Many e-readers use the Internet through Wi-Fi and the built-in software can provide a link to a digital library or an e-book retailer, allowing the user to buy, borrow, and receive digital e-books.

Flash

Adobe Flash is a multimedia software platform used for production of animations, rich web applications, desktop applications, mobile apps, mobile games, and embedded web browser video players. Flash displays text, vector graphics, and raster graphics to provide animations, video games, and applications. It allowed streaming of audio and video, and can capture mouse, keyboard, microphone, and camera input. Flash was initially used to create fully interactive websites, but this approach was phased out with the introduction of HTML5. Instead, Flash found a niche as the dominant platform for online multimedia content, particularly for browser games. Due to numerous security flaws, the use of Flash declined as Adobe transitioned to the Adobe Air platform. The Flash Player was deprecated in 2017 and officially discontinued at the end of 2020.

Fontographer

Fontographer, developed by James R. Von Ehr for the Mac and released in January 1986, was the first commercially available Bézier curve editing software for a personal computer. High quality fonts in PostScript format could be developed for a fraction of the cost of other existing methods, leading to the democratization of type design. For the first time, numerous self-taught type designers without substantial capital investment could produce fonts for professional use. Fontographer 2.0 was released eight months later, in the fall of 1986. In 1989, Fontographer 3.0 was released, featuring an auto-trace tool and automatic generation of hints for PostScript printer fonts.

For Loop

In computer science, a for-loop (or simply for loop) is a control flow statement for specifying iteration, which allows code to be executed repeatedly. A for-loop has two parts: a header specifying the iteration, and a body which is executed once per iteration. The header often declares an explicit loop counter or loop variable, which allows the body to know which iteration is being executed. For-loops are typically used when the number of iterations is known before entering the loop. For-loops can be thought of as a shorthand for while-loops, which increment and test a loop variable.

Fortran

Fortran is a general-purpose, compiled imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. It was originally developed by John Backus and IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, and subsequently came to dominate scientific computing. It has been in use for over six decades in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, geophysics, computational physics, crystallography and computational chemistry.

Generative Adversarial Network (GAN)

A generative adversarial network is a class of machine learning frameworks. Two neural networks contest with each other in a game (in the form of a zero-sum game, where one agent’s gain is another agent’s loss). Given a training set, this technique learns to generate new data with the same statistics as the training set. For example, a GAN trained on photographs can generate new photographs that look at least superficially authentic to human observers, having many realistic characteristics.

Git

Git is a software that tracks changes in any set of files. It is generally used for coordinating work among programmers who are collaboratively developing source code during software development. Its goals include speed, data integrity, and support for distributed, non-linear workflows (thousands of parallel branches running on different systems). Git was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005 for development of the Linux kernel, with other kernel developers contributing to its initial development. Since 2005, Junio Hamano has been the core maintainer. As with most other distributed version control systems, and unlike most client-server systems, every Git directory on every computer is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full version-tracking abilities, independent of network access or a central server. Git is free and open-source software distributed under GNU General Public License Version 2.

GitHub

GitHub, Inc. is a provider of Internet hosting for software development and version control using Git. It offers the distributed version control and source code management (SCM) functionality of Git, plus its own features. It provides access control and several collaboration features such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, continuous integration and wikis for every project. Headquartered in California, it has been a subsidiary of Microsoft since 2018. GitHub offers its basic services free of charge. Its more advanced professional and enterprise services are commercial. Free GitHub accounts are commonly used to host open-source projects.

GitLab

GitLab is a web-based DevOps lifecycle tool that provides a Git repository manager providing wiki, issue-tracking and continuous integration and deployment pipeline features, using an open-source license, developed by GitLab Inc. The open source software project was created by Ukrainian developers Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov. GitLab follows an open-core development model where the core functionality is released under an open-source (MIT) license while the additional functionality is under a proprietary license.

Glyphs

Glyphs is a Mac font editor that puts you in control, enabling you to quickly draw high-precision vectors, efficiently reuse shapes, and easily manage any number of letters, figures and symbols. Glyphs is a project of type designers and software developers Georg Seifert and Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer.

Google

Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the big four technology companies along with Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. Google was founded in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California.

Google Docs

Google Docs is an online word processor included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite offered by Google. Google Docs is accessible via an Internet browser as a web-based application and is also available as a mobile app on Android and iOS and as a desktop application on Google’s Chrome OS. Google Docs allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating with other users in real-time. Edits are tracked by user with a revision history presenting changes. An editor’s position is highlighted with an editor-specific color and cursor and a permissions system regulates what users can do.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite offered by Google. The app allows users to create and edit files online while collaborating with other users in real-time. Edits are tracked by user with a revision history presenting changes.

HTML

HyperText Markup Language, better known as HTML, is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can be supported by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript. Web browsers receive HTML documents from a web server or from local storage and render the documents into multimedia web pages. HTML describes the structure of a web page semantically and originally included cues for the appearance of the document. HTML can embed programs written in a scripting language such as JavaScript, which affects the behavior and content of web pages. Inclusion of CSS defines the look and layout of content. In 1980, physicist Tim Berners-Lee, a contractor at CERN, proposed and prototyped ENQUIRE, a system for CERN researchers to use and share documents. In 1989, Berners-Lee wrote a memo proposing an Internet-based hypertext system. Berners-Lee specified HTML and wrote the browser and server software in late 1990.

HyperCard

HyperCard is a software application and development kit for Apple Macintosh and Apple IIGS computers. It is among the first successful hypermedia systems predating the World Wide Web. HyperCard combines a flat-file database with a graphical, flexible, user-modifiable interface. HyperCard includes a built-in programming language called HyperTalk for manipulating data and the user interface. HyperCard is based on the concept of a “stack” of virtual “cards”. Each card contains a set of interactive objects, including text fields, check boxes, buttons, and similar common graphical user interface (GUI) elements. Users browse the stack by navigating from card to card, using built-in navigation features, a powerful search mechanism, or through user-created scripts. HyperCard was originally released in 1987 and was included free with all new Macintosh computers. It was withdrawn from sale in March 2004, having received its final update in 1998 upon the return of Steve Jobs to Apple. HyperCard runs in the Classic environment, but was not ported to Mac OS X.

HyperTalk

HyperTalk is a discontinued highlevel, procedural programming language created in 1987 by Dan Winkler and used in conjunction with Apple Computer’s HyperCard hypermedia program by Bill Atkinson. Because the main target audience of HyperTalk was beginning programmers, HyperTalk programmers were usually called “authors” and the process of writing programs was known as “scripting”. HyperTalk scripts resembled written English and used a logical structure similar to that of the Pascal programming language.

Java

Java is a high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language that is designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is a general-purpose programming language intended to let application developers write once, run anywhere (WORA), meaning that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation. The syntax of Java is similar to C and C++, but has fewer low-level facilities than either of them. The Java runtime provides dynamic capabilities (such as reflection and runtime code modification) that are typically not available in traditional compiled languages. As of 2019, Java was one of the most popular programming languages in use according to GitHub, particularly for client-server web applications, with a reported nine million developers.

JavaScript (JS)

JavaScript is a lightweight, interpreted, object-oriented language with first-class functions, and is best known as a scripting language for Web pages, but it’s used in many non-browser environments as well. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic, and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles. JavaScript runs on the client side of the web, which can be used to design/program how the web pages behave on the occurrence of an event. The basic syntax is intentionally similar to both Java and C++ to reduce the number of new concepts required to learn the language.

Kinect

Kinect is a line of motion-sensing input devices produced by Microsoft and first released in 2010. The technology includes a set of hardware originally developed by PrimeSense, incorporating RGB cameras, infrared projectors and detectors that map depth through either structured light or time of flight calculations, and a microphone array, along with software and artificial intelligence from Microsoft to allow the device to perform real-time gesture recognition, speech recognition and body skeletal detection. This enables Kinect to be used as a hands-free natural user interface device to interact with a computer system.

Kinetic Type

Kinetic typography—the technical name for “moving text” or “motion typography”—is an animation technique mixing motion and text to express ideas using video animation.

LaTeX

LaTeX, pronounced “Lah-tech” or “Lay-tech,” is a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production medium-to-large technical or scientific documents but it can be used for almost any form of publishing. LaTeX is available as free software.

Library (computing)

In computer science, a library is a collection of non-volatile resources used by computer programs, often for software development. These may include configuration data, documentation, help data, message templates, pre-written code and subroutines, classes, values or type specifications. A library is also a collection of implementations of behavior, written in terms of a language, that has a well-defined interface by which the behavior is invoked. Library code is organized in such a way that it can be used by multiple programs that have no connection to each other, while code that is part of a program is organized to be used only within that one program. The value of a library lies in the reuse of standardized program elements. When a program invokes a library, it gains the behavior implemented inside that library without having to implement that behavior itself. Libraries encourage the sharing of code in a modular fashion and ease the distribution of the code.

Lingo

Lingo is a verbose object-oriented scripting language developed by John H. Thompson for use in Adobe Director (formerly Macromedia Director). Lingo is used to develop desktop application software, interactive kiosks, CD-ROMs and Adobe Shockwave content. Lingo is the primary programming language on the Adobe Shockwave platform, which dominated the interactive multimedia product market during the 1990s.

Linux

The Linux kernel is a free and open-source, monolithic, modular, multitasking, Unix-like operating system kernel. It was conceived and created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds for his i386-based PC, and it was soon adopted as the kernel for the GNU operating system, which was created as a free replacement for UNIX. Since then, it has spawned a large number of operating system distributions, commonly also called Linux. Linux is deployed on a wide variety of computing systems, such as embedded devices, mobile devices (including its use in the Android operating system), personal computers, servers, mainframes, and supercomputers.

MIT Media Lab

The MIT Media Lab promotes an interdisciplinary research culture that brings together diverse areas of interest and inquiry. Unique among other laboratories at MIT, the Media Lab comprises both a broad research agenda and a graduate degree program in Media Arts and Sciences. Faculty, students, and researchers work together on hundreds of projects across disciplines as diverse as social robotics, physical and cognitive prostheses, new models and tools for learning, community bioengineering, and models for sustainable cities. Art, science, design, and technology build and play off one another in an environment designed for collaboration and inspiration.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves. The process of learning begins with observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction, in order to look for patterns in data and make better decisions in the future based on the examples that we provide. The primary aim is to allow the computers learn automatically without human intervention or assistance and adjust actions accordingly.

Macintosh

The Macintosh (generally referred to as a Mac since 1998) is a family of personal computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Inc. (originally Apple Computer, Inc.) since January 1984. The original Macintosh is the first successful mass-market all-in-one desktop personal computer to have featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen, and mouse. Apple sold the Macintosh alongside its popular Apple II, Apple IIGS, Apple III, and Apple Lisa families of computers until the other models were discontinued in the 1990s.

Macromedia Director

Adobe Director (formerly Macromedia Director) was a multimedia application authoring platform created by Macromedia and managed by Adobe Systems until its discontinuation in 2017. Director was the primary time-based editor on the Adobe Shockwave platform, which dominated the interactive multimedia product space during the 1990s. Originally designed for creating animation sequences, the addition of a scripting language called Lingo made Director a popular choice for creating CD-ROMs, stand-alone kiosks and internet video game content during the 1990s.

Material Design

Material Design is a design language developed by Google in 2014. Expanding on the “cards” that debuted in Google Now, Material Design uses more grid-based layouts, responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects such as lighting and shadows.

Max/MSP

Max, also known as Max/MSP/Jitter, is a visual programming language for music and multimedia developed and maintained by San Francisco-based software company Cycling ’74. Over its more than thirty-year history, it has been used by composers, performers, software designers, researchers, and artists to create recordings, performances, and installations. The Max program is modular, with most routines existing as shared libraries. An application programming interface (API) allows third-party development of new routines (named external objects). Thus, Max has a large user base of programmers unaffiliated with Cycling ’74 who enhance the software with commercial and non-commercial extensions to the program.

Metafont

Metafont is a description language used to define raster fonts. It is also the name of the interpreter that executes Metafont code, generating the bitmap fonts that can be embedded into PostScript. Metafont was devised by Donald Knuth as a companion to his TeX typesetting system.

Microsoft

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation which produces computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touch-screen personal computers.Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Microsoft Windows.

Node.js

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, back-end JavaScript runtime environment that runs on the V8 engine and executes JavaScript code outside a web browser. Node.js lets developers use JavaScript to write command line tools and for server-side scripting—running scripts server-side to produce dynamic web page content before the page is sent to the user’s web browser. Consequently, Node.js represents a “JavaScript everywhere” paradigm, unifying web-application development around a single programming language, rather than using different languages for server-side and client-side scripts.

Open Source

Open-source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. The term originated in the context of software development to designate a specific approach to creating computer programs. Today, however, the term “open source” designates a broader set of values. Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate the principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development. Open-source licenses affect the way people can use, study, modify, and distribute software. In general, open-source licenses grant computer users permission to use open-source software for any purpose they wish. Some open-source licenses—sometimes referred to as “copyleft” licenses—stipulate that anyone who releases a modified open-source program must also release the source code for that program alongside it. Moreover, some open-source licenses stipulate that anyone who alters and shares a program with others must also share that program’s source code without charging a licensing fee for it.

OpenFrameworks

OpenFrameworks is an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding, designed to assist the creative process by providing a simple and intuitive framework for experimentation. The code is written to be massively cross-compatible. OpenFrameworks supports five operating systems (Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS, Android) and four IDEs (XCode, Code::Blocks, and Visual Studio and Eclipse). OpenFrameworks is distributed under the MIT License. This gives everyone the freedom to use openFrameworks in any context: commercial or non-commercial, public or private, open or closed source. While many openFrameworks users give their work back to the community in a similarly free way, there is no obligation to contribute. OpenFrameworks is actively developed by Zach Lieberman, Theodore Watson, and Arturo Castro, with help from the OpenFrameworks community.

P5.js

P5.js is a JavaScript library for creative coding created by Lauren Lee McCarthy in 2013. Its purpose is to make coding accessible and inclusive for artists, designers, educators and beginners. P5.js is free and open-source. To use the metaphor of a sketch, p5.js has a full set of drawing functionalities. However, one is not limited to a drawing canvas—you can visualize your whole browser page as a sketch pad, including HTML5 objects for text, input, video, webcam, and sound. P5.js is currently led/run?/maintained? by Qianqian Ye and Evelyn Masso.

P5LIVE

p5.js’ collaborative live-coding VJ environment.

PHP

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language geared towards web development. It was created by Danish-Canadian programmer Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page, but it now stands for the recursive initialism PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP code is usually processed on a web server by a PHP interpreter implemented as a module, a daemon or as a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) executable. On a web server, the result of the interpreted and executed PHP code – which may be any type of data, such as generated HTML or binary image data – would form the whole or part of an HTTP response.

PageBot

PageBot® is a scriptable page layout, vector graphics and typography environment that enables designers to create high quality documents in various print-ready and web-based formats. It is available as a Python library with multiplatform support based on Flat as well as a Mac OS X extension that uses DrawBot. The core library, tutorials and basic examples for PageBot are available under the MIT Open-Source license. PageBot is initiated and developed by Buro, Petr van Blokland and Claudia Mens.

Paged.js

Paged.js is a free and open source JavaScript library that paginates content in the browser to create PDF output from any HTML content. This means you can design works for print (e.g. books) using HTML and CSS.

Paper.js

Paper.js is an open-source vector graphics scripting framework that runs on top of the HTML5 Canvas. It offers a clean Scene Graph / Document Object Model and a lot of powerful functionality to create and work with vector graphics and Bézier curves, all neatly wrapped up in a well designed, consistent and clean programming interface. Paper.js is developed by Jürg Lehni & Jonathan Puckey, and distributed under the permissive MIT License.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

Portable Document Format (PDF), is a file format developed by Adobe in 1993 to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. Based on the PostScript language, each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, vector graphics, raster images and other information needed to display it. PDF files may contain a variety of content besides flat text and graphics, including logical structuring elements, interactive elements such as annotations and form-fields, layers, rich media (including video content), three-dimensional objects, and various other data formats.

PostScript

PostScript is a page description language (PDL) that describes a page’s text and graphical content. It can be used to define the appearance of graphics and text for both screen and print. The language was developed by Adobe in 1984 and has since gone through many revisions and updates. Before PostScript was introduced, publishing systems relied on proprietary typesetting systems, which often caused incompatibilities between computers and printing systems. Adobe PostScript makes it possible to produce high-quality page content that can include text, images, and line art in a standard format compatible with multiple devices. PostScript (.PS) files will print out in the exact same way from any PostScript compatible printer. They can also be opened using Adobe Acrobat and will look consistently the same on Macintosh and Windows platforms. The evolution of PostScript led to the development of Adobe Acrobat, which creates PDF documents.

ProcessWire

ProcessWire is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) and framework (CMF) written in the PHP programming language. ProcessWire is built around an API with usage and naming conventions similar to the JavaScript framework jQuery. The stated goal behind the API is to provide the level of accessibility and control to pages in a website that jQuery provides to the DOM. Content is managed either via the API or the web-based admin control panel. ProcessWire is largely used for development of websites, web applications, services, content feeds and related applications.

Processing

Processing is a flexible software sketchbook and a language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts. Since 2001, Processing has promoted software literacy within the visual arts and visual literacy within technology. There are tens of thousands of students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists who use Processing for learning and prototyping. Processing was initiated in Spring 2001 by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. At the time, Fry was a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Laboratory and Reas was an Associate Professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (IDII). Processing began as a personal initiative and it was developed over nights and weekends through 2003. MIT indirectly funded Processing through Fry’s graduate stipend and IDII indirectly funded Processing through Reas’s salary. Due to his research agreement with MIT, all code written by Fry during this time is the intellectual property of MIT.

Python

Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Its high-level built-in data structures, combined with dynamic typing and dynamic binding, make it very attractive for Rapid Application Development, as well as for use as a scripting or glue language to connect existing components together. Python’s simple, easy-to-learn syntax emphasizes readability and therefore reduces the cost of program maintenance. Python supports modules and packages, which encourages program modularity and code reuse. The Python interpreter and the extensive standard library are available in source or binary form without charge for all major platforms, and can be freely distributed. Python was conceived in the late 1980s by Guido van Rossum at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands as a successor to the ABC programming language, and it was first released in 1991 as Python 0.9.0. Python 2.0 was released in 2000. It introduced new features, such as list comprehensions and a garbage collection system using reference counting. Python 3.0 was released in 2008 and was a major revision of the language that is not completely backward-compatible.

RAWGraphs

RAWGraphs is an open source data visualization framework built with the goal of making the visual representation of complex data easy for everyone. Primarily conceived as a tool for designers and vis geeks, RAWGraphs aims at providing a missing link between spreadsheet applications (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, OpenRefine) and vector graphics editors (e.g. Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, Sketch). The project, led and maintained by the DensityDesign Research Lab (Politecnico di Milano) was released publicly in 2013.

React

React (also known as React.js or ReactJS) is a free and open-source front-end JavaScript library for building user interfaces or UI components. It is maintained by Facebook and a community of individual developers and companies. React can be used as a base in the development of single-page or mobile applications.

RoboFab

Just van Rossum, Erik van Blokland and Tal Leming developed RoboFab, a Pythonic API to FontLab’s native objects. RoboFab was heavily inspired by RoboFog and their APIs are very similar. A simple toolkit for creating UIs in Python, DialogKit, was also created. All together, this allowed designers to port their old RoboFog scripts to RoboFab. The RoboFab package was distributed freely under an open-source license and worked in both Windows and Mac versions of FontLab. It had a pretty website with very complete documentation and a colorful font object map. RoboFab became popular among font makers and helped them create useful tools to get work done.

RoboFog

RoboFog is a Python-powered version of Fontographer produced by Petr van Blokland in the early 1990s. With Just van Rossum’s help, Van Blokland managed to compile Fontographer with a Python interpreter, and built an API so that the program became scriptable. RoboFog was very successful within its niche market. It included a small toolkit for creating custom UIs in pure Python. Users have a lot of fun with its features, and used it to build tools which were very useful for their workflows.

RoboFont

Written from scratch in Python with scalability in mind, RoboFont is a fully featured font editor with all the tools required for drawing typefaces. It provides full scripting access to objects and interface and a platform for building your own tools and extensions.

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based markup language for describing two-dimensional based vector graphics. It is a text-based, open Web standard for describing images that can be rendered cleanly at any size without loss of quality and is designed specifically to work well with other web standards including CSS, DOM, JavaScript, and SMIL. In essence, SVG is to graphics what HTML is to text. SVG images and their related behaviors are defined in XML text files, which means they can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed. Additionally, this means they can be created and edited with any text editor or with drawing software. SVG has been developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) since 1999.

Scriptographer

Scriptographer is a scripting plug-in for Adobe Illustrator. It enables the user to extend Illustrator’s functionality through the use of the JavaScript language. Scriptographer allows the creation of mouse-controlled drawing tools, effects that modify existing graphics and scripts that create new ones.

Sketchbook

Sketchbook (formerly StudioPaint, Autodesk SketchBook), is a raster graphics software app intended for expressive drawing and concept sketching. The software was first developed by Alias Systems Corporation as StudioPaint, before being acquired by Autodesk and then being spun out into an independent company, Sketchbook, Inc. Originally developed as commercial software, it evolved into a subscription model before eventually being made freeware for personal use.

Turbo Pascal

Turbo Pascal is a dialect of the Pascal programming language which was sold by Borland International during the 1980s and 1990s for use with the MS-DOS and later Microsoft Windows operating systems. A few versions (1.0 and 1.1) were also released for Apple’s System 6 and System 7. It provided an Integrated Development Environment or IDE, which combined editor, program compiler and execution environments for developing, debugging, and compiling Pascal source code.

Turtle Drawing Robot

The concept can be traced back to William Grey Walter’s work in robotics in the 1940s which investigated complex behaviors in simple systems. Turtle robots are generally slow-moving with tight turning radiuses and can trace a design that shows their behavior over time. They make excellent teaching aides because their programmed output can be seen visually.

Type Foundry

A type foundry is a company that designs and distributes typefaces. Before digital type design, type foundries manufactured and sold metal and wood typefaces for hand typesetting, and matrices for line-casting machines like the Linotype and Monotype, for letterpress printers. Today’s digital type foundries distribute typefaces created by type designers, who may either be freelancers, or employed by the foundry. Type foundries may also provide custom type design services for clients.

Unity

Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, first announced and released in June 2005 by Apple as a Mac OS X exclusive game engine. The engine has since been gradually extended to support a variety of desktop, mobile, console and virtual reality platforms. It is particularly popular for iOS and Android mobile game development. The engine can be used to create three-dimensional (3D) and two-dimensional (2D) games, as well as interactive simulations.

User Experience (UX)

User experience (UX) refers to the way a user interacts with and experiences a product, system or service. It includes a person’s perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency.

User Interface (UI)

User interface (UI) design is the design of interfaces for machines and software, such as computers, mobile devices and other electronic devices, with a focus on maximizing usability for the user.

Variable Font

A variable font is a font file that is able to store a continuous range of design variants. An entire typeface (font family) can be stored in such a file, with an infinite number of fonts, styles and widths available to be sampled. The variable font technology originated in Apple’s TrueType GX font variations. The technology was adapted to OpenType as OpenType variable fonts (OTVF) in version 1.8 of the OpenType specification. The technology was announced by Adobe, Apple, Google, and Microsoft in September 2016.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (e.g. video games), education (e.g. medical or military training) and business (e.g. virtual meetings).

Web Open Font Format (WOFF)

The Web Open Font Format is a font format for use in web pages. WOFF files are OpenType or TrueType fonts with format-specific compression applied and additional XML metadata added. The primary goals are to distinguish font files intended for use as web fonts from font files intended for use in desktop applications via local installation, and to reduce web-font latency when fonts are transferred from a server to a client over a network connection. The first draft of WOFF 1 was published in 2009 by Jonathan Kew, Tal Leming, and Erik van Blokland. Following the submission of WOFF to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) by the Mozilla Foundation, Opera Software and Microsoft in April 2010, the W3C commented that it expected WOFF to soon become the “single, interoperable [font] format” supported by all browsers. The W3C published WOFF as a working draft in July 2010. The final draft was published as a W3C Recommendation on 13 December 2012.

Web-to-Print

Web-to-Print, also referred to as Web2Print, W2P or Remote Publishing, does not just have one general definition. Many different processes, systems and software fall under this umbrella term. Web-to-Print combines the traditional way of producing print materials, as well as all other processes that take place online, like the creation and publishing process for example. All the following processes are part of Web-to-Print, from the editing of simple templates, uploading and generating print materials to database publishing.

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Encyclopaedizer: A Collaborative Dictionary, Rafael Koch, Urs Hofer, 2006.
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Detail from book Lieber Barfuss Als Ohne Buch, Rokfor and Urs Hofer, 2012.
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Detail from website Skulptur Projekte Münster, for LWL Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Lehni-Trüb, Lukas Marstaller, Urs Hofer, 2017.

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