To produce faster, to produce better, or to produce automatically, use Simple Workspace. How was Simple Workspace designed?

Before Richard and I created J2S, we were already software editors in the company B&L Parenthèses that I had created with my partner at the time. We were designing what is now called a DAM: Phraséa [1], back in the day when there was no Internet (but Numeris, which was a little slower than today’s networks 😉 ) and no Open Source (we had to develop everything). A good example of use: Phraséa was used by the Reuters agency to provide its press clients with photos [2].

The challenges of a software publisher have not changed: it is to produce a solution suited to the needs that we have targeted. One difficulty is that, since the goal is to sell a maximum number of solutions, we tend to widen this target! Another difficulty is to take into account the feedback from users; as you know, in France there are as many coaches of the national soccer team as there are fans; it’s a bit the same with the users, each one, acting in an honest way, but we can only make one software!

With J2S, created in 1999, we followed an almost opposite path.

After we got used to Adobe technologies and in particular InDesign, we developed our first software components. First of all, J2S Layout Toolbox automates the creation of InDesign documents and then its rule editor J2S Module Editor.

Richard holding the InDesign 1.0 manual (the 1999 J2S copy; I’m talking about the manual, Richard is a little bit older 😉)

At that point in J2S’s life, it was all about having software components that could respond more quickly to specific development requests. Even though we were publishing some tools, most of our activity was related to this custom development.

But these developments were always based on generic components. Since these components were progressively enriched, we were able to restrict the scope of our activity (solutions that simplify your manufacturing workflows), and we asked ourselves the question of developing a 100% generic solution. You can guess what happened next…

The adventure starts around 2014.

Because of our proximity to Adobe, the first drivers were written using the flagship technology of the time: Flex. (It was in fact Flash.) Unfortunately, this technology was at the end of its life. We rewrote everything in HTML/JavaScript. Simple Workspace was born!

We needed a flexible solution that could be adapted to our customers, with some configuration, without development. And we wanted to offer them to host the solution for them.

The multi-vision of the time…

Note that the icon of Phrasea was a tree, already…

This is why the word multi is often used with Simple Workspace. It is multi-instance – because Simple Workspace can be launched several times on the same server. It is multi-account, multi-user, multi-project, multi-base – several DAMs, several offer bases in the same account – and multi-application [3].

Since we are dealing with “manufacturing” users, we know that time is a strong constraint. That’s why the other word we often use is simple. First, thanks to the precision of the management of rights and workflows, the user only sees the projects that concern him or her and on which action is expected from him or her. Secondly, we favor efficiency with a direct and effective interface and ergonomics.

But Simple Workspace, in and of itself, is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the applications that take advantage of its powerful architecture. And the three most widely used applications today are:

Once again, these applications are highly customizable. For example, the Simple Brief Flatplan can be used to produce a catalog, but also to edit or translate an Adobe InDesign file online.

Translation example

P.S. This screenshot is an excerpt from the article “Translate, validate, customize existing Adobe InDesign documents“.

Did you get the job done? Yes, because Simple Workspace is now able to meet a wide variety of needs. I’ll let you be the judge, here are some examples:

  • This studio of an international B2B mail order company uses Simple Workspace to automate the production of its multilingual catalogs;
  • A Chinese electronics manufacturer that uses Simple Workspace as a portal for its product sheets for all its international subsidiaries;
  • This industrial group specialized in advertising uses Simple Workspace to validate InDesign documents;
  • A German automobile club that simplifies the production of its magazine with Simple Workspace;
  • And so on.

Would you like to know more? Contact us: we will be pleased to discuss.


Jean-Yves Jourdain,
Co-founder of J2S

1- Read this article in the magazine Icônes (page 1 and 2).

2- From a technical point of view, a Phraséa Server was installed at Reuters, with x Numeris cards. The clients were connected with Phrasea Agencies. And so, only x clients could connect simultaneously.

3- I am referring to the multi in this article “Simple Workspace is multi“.