Skip to main content

Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Things I learned publishing a magazine

To­day at 00:00:00 GMT-3 PET: Python en­tre to­dos was in­deed launched, in time (ar­bi­trary but forced) and in bud­get ($0).

So, what did I learn? I learned a lot!

  • The on­­ly thing you need to pub­­lish an e-­­mag is time and con­­ten­t.

  • Time can be con­vert­ed in­­­to con­­ten­t, but if you write ev­ery­thing your­­self it's a blog, not a mag­a­zine. Luck­­i­­ly, PET found great con­trib­u­­tors.

  • If you want util­i­­tar­i­an de­sign, rst2pdf can do the job

  • In fac­t, it can do it bet­ter than oth­­er tools in some ways

    • I can push a fixed ver­­­sion of the PDFs in 5 min­utes for all lay­out­s. How much would it take me us­ing Scribus or oth­­­er DT­P? In a mag­a­zine where cor­rec­t­­­ness mat­ter­s, that's a big deal.

    • TOCs are bet­ter than in most am­a­­­teur PDF mag­a­zines I've seen. The in­­­-­­­con­­ten­t-­­­TOC is click­­­able, and the PDF TOC is per­fec­t.

    • Page num­bers in the PDF TOC make sense (no, the cov­­­er is not page 1)

    • I am pro­­­duc­ing 6 PDF ver­­­sion­s: A4(b­w, colour), A5(b­w,­­­colour), Book­let(b­w, colour) and I could add any oth­­­er I want in a few min­utes.

  • I learned about PDF im­po­si­­tion!

Let's ex­plain the last one:

Sup­pose you want to print a small book­let, and you have 32 pages of con­tent. How do you do that?

The eas­i­est way is to print it 2-up dou­ble-sid­ed in A4 pa­per so that you can stack the pages, fold them down the mid­dle, sta­ple them, and get a nice A5 book­let.

The prob­lem is that the page or­der­ing is hard to get right. For ex­am­ple, for a 4-­page book­let, you need to print one A4 page with pages 4-1 on one side and 2-3 on the oth­er. For an 8 page book­let it's 8-1,2-7,3-6,4-5.

Lucklily there's a way to get this done au­to­mat­i­cal­ly:

1. In­stall pod­ofo 3. Get book­let-A4.­plan (see be­low) 2. Run this:

podofoimpose my-A5-pages.pdf my-booklet.pdf booklet-A4.plan lua

book­let-A4.­plan is this:

---Generic Booklet (A4)
---It is said generic as it will try to determine
---automatically how to fit the booklet onto A4
---paper sheets, scaling pages if necessary.
---it is well suited for office documents for
---which you do not care too much about resulting
---imposition artefacts since it manages to save
-- print("Booklet")
-- We output an A4 booklet
PageWidth = 595.27559
PageHeight = 841.88976


-- We assume that H > W
-- Argh, we now can do better since we have "if" ;-)
-- Scale = PageHeight / (2*SourceWidth)
if(SourceWidth <= SourceHeight)
--  If you A5 pages are not really A5, uncomment the next line
--  Scale = PageHeight / (2*SourceWidth)
    Scale = 1
    rot = 90
        xof = SourceHeight
        yofRA = 0
        yofRB = SourceWidth
        yofVA = 0
        yofVB = SourceWidth
--  If you A5 pages are not really A5, uncomment the next line
--  Scale = PageHeight / (2*SourceHeight)
    Scale = 1
    rot = 0
        xof = 0;
        yofRA = 0
        yofRB = SourceHeight
        yofVA = SourceHeight
        yofVB = 0

    rest = PageCount % 4
    totp = PageCount
    if rest ~= 0
        totp = totp + ( 4 - rest)
    inc = 0
    count = 0
    imax = totp/4
    while count < imax
--          We assume that podofoimpose will discard invalid records
--          such as those with source page greater than PageCount
--          print(totp, inc, rot, xof,yofRA, yofRA, yofVA, yofVB)
-- Recto
        PushRecord(totp - inc , inc + 1 , rot, xof , yofRA)
        PushRecord(inc + 1 , inc + 1 , rot, xof , yofRB)
-- Verso
        PushRecord(inc + 2 , inc + 2 , rot, xof , yofVA)
        PushRecord(totp-(inc + 1) , inc + 2 , rot, xof, yofVB)

        count = count + 1
        inc = inc + 2

That code is tak­en from here: http://www.oep-h.­com/im­pose/

And voilá, you get a scram­bled PDF with the pages in ex­act­ly the right or­der (and emp­ty pages added as need­ed).

Contents © 2000-2023 Roberto Alsina