John Arthur Nichol

Christmas Eve and The Persistent Template Mystery

Manuela Pentangelo and I have used a variety of methods and applications over the years to create the print versions of our Sascha Martin books. Sascha Martin's Christmas Eve, the paperback, relies exclusively on two wonderful apps developed by Serif in the UK: Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher.

To start with, I set up the text and all the front and back matter in Affinity Publisher on my laptop. Manuela created her images in Affinity Photo on her iPad. Then we just had to bring them together.

Well, not quite.

Manuela needed access to my Publisher file so she could work out the placement, size and orientation of her images. It could have been a problem because Manuela works exclusively on her iPad these days, and right up until the final stages of developing Christmas Eve, an iPad version of Affinity Publisher didn't exist.

But Manuela's determination and ingenuity find their true soulmates in the Affinity suite, which allowed her to open my Publisher file inside Affinity Photo on the iPad, and effectively work with it as if it were a native Photo file.

Problem solved? Yes. And no.

Yes, because we successfully used our hybrid hybrid iPad-laptop system to create the paperback, from scratch.

No, because we hit an issue with the cover, and although it didn't stop us completing the project - we found a work-around - the problem persisted, and resisted our attempts to explain it. I call it the Persistent Template Mystery, and it rankled. It nagged. It was inscrutible, insufferable and infuriating.

Did we ever get to the bottom of it?

Yes. Resounding yes.

Well, Manuela got to the bottom of it and showed me the answer, but I couldn't rest until I'd reproduced the solution myself. Oh but I made heavy going of it, and this video tells the story of how I fared.

I mean, how could you not buy the book now?