15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 4, 2012 9:29 AM by Dirk Becker

    Viewing a page from another Software




      one of my customers uses InDesign for making the layout of a magazine. Each issue is an own document.

      In the magazine there are pages for ads. Ad orders are entered for invoicing in some other (invoicing) software and for the layout in InDesign. Now when a client is on the phone and asks 'can I place an ad half a page in size on page 10 of the December issue?' the invoicing software(!) should be able to look up that page in the InDesign document. Means some window should open showing what is on that page 10 already, so that one can see if there is enough unused space to place the half page ad.

      I'm a complete newbee to InDesign, maybe there are scripts or calls the invoicing software could use for that, giving document name and page no. to InDesign and thus opening the page or whatever.



        • 1. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
          [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

          Uh, keep a recent PDF at hand maybe?


          If you want to use InDesign to browse through the latest version, all you have to do is

          (1) open the right document;

          (2) jump to the correct page.


          -- I don't see how a script could help you with that (*)


          (*) Or maybe, if you could double-click a script that scans your hard disk for all issues, shows you a drop down list of the ones it finds, lets you select one and then prompts you for the page number. Personally, I wouldn't need such a script because all of my work is stored in separate folders for (a) publisher, (b) client, (c) journal, (d) issue -- and sometimes (e) version. So it's a one-way walk straight to "the latest version".

          • 2. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
            Dieter_ Level 1

            Thanks, Jongware,

            open the Document and jump to the page takes some time and the client is waiting on the phone.

            Moreover, I forgot that maybe InDesign is not even installed on the workstation where the order is input into the invoicing software.

            But yes, a PDF might be a super simple method. The person that uses InDesign therefore would have to save the document as PDF always when he/she made an important change (OK, boring...) and the invoicing software would have to open the correct PDF. And maybe offer a little menu where one can choose things like issue and rubric or such things. Sounds not bad.

            • 3. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
              Dmitry Aleksandrov

              If you will have any method that does not generate preview on-the-fly it will always be a danger, that an operator forgets to export PDF after some important change.

              It depends for sure on how many operators, clients and documents are in process.

              Could escalate if one page will be sold to several customers at the same time

              • 4. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                Dieter_ Level 1

                Yes, exactly that is what should be avoided, selling the same space twice.

                Problem is that the invoicing software and InDesign are 2 different softwares, each having it's database.

                For the PDF idea above

                - the person(s) that accept the orders would have to pass them in a timely manner to the InDesign user and

                - the InDesign user must save as PDF after each important change.

                Only after these 2 steps the information in the PDF is renewed, in the dark time between (maybe hours) things may happen.

                However, much better than nothing.

                A direct connection to InDesign, viewing pages in the document, passing information about new ads to InDesign reserving space would be best but not easy and I assume InDesign would have to be installed on the order-accepting workplace(s), too.

                • 5. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                  Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  @Dmitry – exporting a PDF could be an event driven thing.

                  Here an example with an "beforeSave" event, that every time you do a "Save" to the document will export an PDF with a predefined export set to the same location your InDesign file resides. Or to a different location you will define:


                  #targetengine "exportPDF"  
                  var myEventListenerVersions = app.addEventListener("beforeSave", ExportPDF, false, undefined);      
                  function ExportPDF(){
                      var d=app.activeDocument;
                      if (d.saved == true){
                          d.exportFile(ExportFormat.PDF_TYPE, File(d.fullName+".pdf"), false, app.pdfExportPresets.itemByName("MyPDFpresetName"));
                      alert("Saved and exported to PDF!");


                  Start that script from the ESTK (to make it work one session long, until you close InDesign) or put it in the "startup scripts" folder to initialize it every time you start InDesign. Of course you have to change the string "MyPDFpresetName" to a reasonable name.


                  Every time you save the InDesign file the exported PDF will be overwritten, so do not check the option "View PDF after Exporting" in your own PDF export preset.


                  An event listener for the "Save As" command will be a different one…



                  • 6. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                    Dieter_ Level 1

                    If MyPDFpresetName could be the same name as the InDesign document name...(automatically) that would be helpful.


                    • 7. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                      Dmitry Aleksandrov Level 1

                      @Uwe, that's really a good idea.


                      It would be very useful if the invoicing software could place frames on the pages that are reserved.

                      Otherway it's still possible that operator sees the outdated version.


                      @Dieter - MyPDFpresetName is a name of the preset configuration to export PDF.

                      Why do you want it to have the same name as your document?

                      • 8. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                        Dieter_ Level 1

                        Yes, placing frames from the invoicing software would be a very good solution (but no idea how to do that)

                        For the name: I think that each issue of the magazine is an own InDesign document with the issue no. in the filename and maybe the magazine name, like, say, surfersjournal-6-2012. Now, if the invoicing software wants to open the pdf for that issue it will know that the filename constists of magazine name + issue + year.

                        • 9. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                          Dirk Becker  Level 4

                          The "invoicing software" might be the problem, as of your description it sounds like something generic that also a plumber would use for customer and order management, and you were asked to customize it a bit / reinvent the wheel?


                          A media specific solution should come ready with interfaces to further components, or bring minimum versions of those itself:

                          - a page planning system to handle future editions before the first InDesign document exists

                          - an editorial system should solve multi user workflow / collaboration issues (keyword "outdated").

                          - as soon they are available also automatically provide previews or PDFs from its database.

                          - trigger the invoice from publishing, provide a final proof PDF for that

                          - eventually a separate image archive

                          and so forth


                          InDesign would be one important component, but it does not provide interfaces at that high level of abstraction, out of the box it stops at the single user. At a small scale, many of these things are doable with duct tape, scripts and a shared folder. For a reason though there is also a whole ecosystem of specialized solutions. If you're located in/near Germany (my guess from your name) and can dedicate the time, get hold on an early bird ticket for www.ifraexpo.de to catch some ideas.



                          • 10. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                            Dieter_ Level 1

                            > A media specific solution should come ready with interfaces to further components... <

                            Uh, yes, Dirk, nice plan :-)

                            And no, I don't want to invent the wheel again, that's why I'm here, to get tipps on how best start that.

                            Maybe I should also look into the SDK forum (?).

                            • 11. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                              Dirk Becker Level 4

                              Both forums (scripting and SDK) have a focus on the programming side, in the SDK forum you'll mostly find beginner woes (how to get a hold on the debug build, can I use Java for low level programming etc.) and very specific how-to questions about programming details. Active participation of the "big" solution providers is rare, they apparently prefer to keep their competitive advantage or have better things to do with their time.


                              To get your feet wet you can just google for buzzwords like "indesign enterprise publishing workflow system" and browse the found sites, and later on visit a few presentations at their already suggested trade show. Some solution providers also offer budget / entry level systems. Don't expect too much detail from the web sites, again they are often afraid of competition.

                              As your problem is with ad handling, you might need other keywords - Anzeigenverwaltung Blattplanung if you prefer german.


                              At the other extreme I have watched team efforts of months to just compile a set of relevant criteria for an individual publishing house, request and evaluate the matching answers from various vendors - actually this can become an ongoing process, combined with several more months or even years for the actual deployment and customization - nothing that I'd want to squeeze into a forum thread.

                              • 12. Re: Viewing a page from another Software

                                The best solution to your problem is entirely dependent on the circulation of the magazine. What you describe is a little bit odd. Normally the ads are sold first. In this case the invoicing/adbooking software only needs to know what has been booked so far. If the customer is allowed to choose a particular page, or position on a page then this must be remembered (columns and height of ad). Only after the ads are booked the issue is planned. Then the space not occupied by ads needs to be filled by content.


                                Of course sometimes it happens that the InDesign document is nearly finished and someone wants to place an ad. In this case the page planning software must add page to the issue or some guy decides to drop an article.


                                In the case you describe it seems Uwe’s idea might be good enough. Just create the PDFs automatically when saving. You could also write the coordinates of all stuff into a nice little xml file and use this in your adbboking software. (It is something I have done)


                                By the way, I have watched the (maybe same) teams Dirk mentioned. And I could not help thinking, sometimes it is better to reinvent the wheel. It is certainly more fun....



                                • 13. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                                  Dieter_ Level 1

                                  @liedzeit, thanks for your hints from the practice department, always helpful.

                                  The thing is, if there is a quarter page ad in the top left corner and one in the lower right corner, the remaining free corners give half a page in total, but there will be no way to place a half a page ad (unless you move one of the 2 existing ads - and this is only a simple example). That's why I think in the end the invoicing software would have to have ways to reserve space on pages in frame format (graphic) - and exactly that's what I want to avoid. Designing the pages is InDesign's job, not the invoicing software's job. But OK, it could show a list of existing orders on a page, with placement wishes and maybe sum of free space on the page. Then the user must decide if that looks like half a page in my above example can be placed.


                                  > write the coordinates of all stuff into a nice little xml file and use this in your adbboking software <

                                  Yes, from the coordinates the booking software could show a graphic with not much effort to program. Interesting idea, too. That demands, on the other hand, that layout already has been done. Or do you talk about the other way round, the adbooking software makes the XML file and InDesign reads it and that builds frames in the InDesign document and the designer will move the frames to nice places on the page ? (Also interesting).


                                  (And yes, I'm in Germany)



                                  • 14. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                                    liedzeit Level 2


                                    (big) magazines and newspapers use a page planning software that acts as a middle man between the invoicing/adbooking and layout software. And the page planner is the one to decide where an ad is placed. The ad-software creates the ad list, including size, section, requested position etc. The page planning software then creates an issue and the software/human planner places the ads.

                                    Then the page planning software creates the Indesign pages. Depending on the type of ad the layouter may be allowed to move an ad (especially so called text ads ads in an editorial context). But in most cases the designer must ask the planner to move an ad and the InDesign page gets updated. If there is a change from the ad department, say an additonal ad, change size, or canceled ad changes must be accepted by the planner.


                                    Of course this is only the theory. In practice it is sometimes the case that a last minute change will be directly done in InDesign. I know one editorial system were the designer decides wether to accept changes of the planning system but this is rather odd.


                                    You could certainly do without the middle man. But to let the ad system create InDesign pages directly or place ads directly would be quite problematic. Very often pages need to be deleted or moved and then the issue has to be repaginated. This is much nicer if you can see what you are doing in a page planning system.




                                    • 15. Re: Viewing a page from another Software
                                      Dirk Becker Level 4

                                      liedzeit wrote:


                                      By the way, I have watched the (maybe same) teams Dirk mentioned. And I could not help thinking, sometimes it is better to reinvent the wheel. It is certainly more fun....


                                      Ralf, I did not mean to discourage Dieter, just show him that he's not completely in uncharted waters. Reinventing the wheel can be fun indeed , if you know what's going on.