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[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us (151.03 KB)
MD5: cd473e1f9a3a2d18a824c2d6b77f54a0
For System 1 - 5
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The Mac history site assembled this comprehensive history of Typographer, as part of its coverage of the Boston Macworld Expo in August 1985:

A fascinating glimpse into what could have been an alternate history of the entire Desktop Publishing market: Microsoft showed off Typographer, a "professional document design and composition system" which it had licensed from creator Broca Software. InfoWorld considered the program so significant it featured a screenshot as the only visual accompanying their coverage of the Expo.

As a signal of how new the concept of DTP was, the accompanying caption explained that the program "lets you incorporate text from word processors and graphics programs such as MacPaint and MacDraw." Writers in other journals, such as Creative Computing, thought that the app signaled a new era in electronic layout software: "the legitimacy of desktop publishing seems to be proven by the entry of Microsoft into the field with its Typographer program for the Macintosh."

So what happened? Turns out the program was so buggy that beta testers rebelled, user groups turned up their noses, and Microsoft canceled the entire project. A follow-up article in InfoWorld was titled "Flawed Typographer", and complained that "The preview copy had enough bugs to keep us from doing much of anything with it; Microsoft has a lot of work left to do before releasing the product — even the program's name was misspelled on the disk." An ironic twist to be sure, in a program named Typographer, but there were other problems more serious — users had to switch into and out of layout mode, and screen refresh problems prevented font changes from taking effect.

In comparison to other desktop publishing programs, Typographer was difficult to use. I don't know who came up with the user interface for this program, but they didn't do their homework.
— Steve Costa, BMUG, quoted in InfoWorld November 4 1985

By November, three months after the program's preview at Macworld, Microsoft had announced the software would never ship: it failed to meet their "standards for quality and performance." Broca, the original developers, said for their part that Typographer "got lost in the middle of a shutdown of Microsoft's Mac Library publishing effort." A possible arrangement with T/Maker as publisher apparently never came to fruition, and for all intents and purposes this software has been lost to time.

It's lost to time no more: judge Typographer for yourself.

Architecture: 68k


pl212's picture
by pl212 - 2017, April 1 - 5:45pm

How funny is it that "About Typographer" has a shortcut (Command-T), but no actual code to display the about box...

pl212's picture
by pl212 - 2017, April 1 - 5:40pm

Thanks for finding this and uploading! I wrote that article on 32by32 and am happy to see the software turn up.