Asatte Press New Website

Asatte Press New Website
Asatte Press New Website

Today we completed the top to bottom redesign of our website.

As discussed in my previous post Asatte Press 3rd Annual Shareholders and Directors Meetings we are shifting away from consumer and personal skills toward Systems and Software Engineering.

Actually, this shift is not as dramatic as it might seem.  The conception of Asatte Press began in the Fall of 2010 with a command to me from Tomoko: “Dave, just quit! This job is killing you!” Followed by the next command: “And do something fun for a year.”  It was quite a revelation and it took almost a year to rearrange our life to transition.

However, it was the “And do something fun” part that led us into publishing.  I have always been very interested in typesetting. When I was an undergraduate at UC San Diego, I worked on a volunteer basis for a history professor who was using TROFF to photo-typeset complex academic texts. I wrote a series of very intricate macros to help him make parallel sets of footnotes in multiple languages (Greek, Latin, German, etc….)

Later when ROLM was purchased by IBM, I got to know GML and BookMaster. IBM GML was one of the key ancestors of SGML which begat XML and HTML. While BookMaster was definitely not in my job description, I was fascinated. I ordered all the manuals and dug in.  Where other engineers would produce specifications that were a few pages long and looked like they had been done on a typewriter, I went all-in and produced polished manuals that were hundreds of pages long with custom table formats, indexes, embedded graphics, you name it.

So, when the “just do something fun” chance came up, I jumped at the chance to go deep into XML technology. For Systematic Martini Lifestyle,  I developed my own XML-based markup language called APDOC. I then used XSLT 2.0 to write XML-to-XML transformations to turn that into XSL-FO, the Apache page formatting language from which I could use a high-end Japanese page rendering package (Antenna House Formatter) to produce the camera-ready PDFs for the book.  I also wrote a second set of transforms to produce EPUB2.0 versions of segments of the book which I released for the Kindle, iPad and Nook platforms.

Lots of fun! And it completely met my objectives of immersion in the XML technology space. However, we also learned that it almost impossible to make a living from consumer-oriented information products and social media. Time to think about the next step.

Well, it turns out that another technology I had a chance to work with at IBM is the formal modeling languages: UML and SysML. In 2003, IBM purchased a company called Rational that was a pioneer in the development of “Unified Modeling Language” (UML) which enabled the graphical modeling and design of complex software applications. In 2006, the Object Management Group  (OMG – the owner of the UML standard) and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) announced the adoption of SysML or “Systems Modeling Language” for System Engineering.  SysML is an extension of UML that enables the design of complex combinations of hardware, software, natural elements, political factions – whatever one might have in a system.

UML and SysML, however, are both XML technologies. Furthermore, one of the key challenges in deploying these technologies involves model-to-model transformations, which are basically just the next step in the XSLT transformation technology I developed in the last two years. The Systems Engineering part of the equation builds on the rich variety of software and system engineering experiences I had in almost three decades with IBM and the companies it purchased.

So far, this is looking really fun and I am really excited!

As for the website, we did a careful study of technology company websites, especially in the oil industry (a target customer set for us). I rewrote the site from scratch using the latest HTML5 and CSS3 techniques, which are much better and simpler than the partial implementations of two years ago.

Tomoko put together the front image. I gave her some XSLT code from my APDOC to XSL-FO transformation and she super-imposed it on a collage of some interesting architectural photos she had taken on her last trip to Tokyo. I think it gives a great abstract impression of our new mission.

Please stop by and take a look at our new website at



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