2 Replies Latest reply on Dec 26, 2016 9:33 AM by Joel Cherney

    Making a dynamic catalog from XML (or scripting)




      My understanding about InDesign is limited. I want to know if is possible to do the following, before spending time on it.


      I need to programmatically create a huge catalog (~500 pages).


      * There are like 10 different kind of items, they should use different templates

      * Some templates depends on the page number (if an article is in an odd page, use template X, else use template Y).


      It is possible to make something like that?

      It is possible with IDML or am I going to need scripting too?


      My idea is to create that IDML programmatically.


      Thank you for the help.

        • 1. Re: Making a dynamic catalog from XML (or scripting)
          Kasyan Servetsky Level 5

          Hi there,


          I've never played with IDML so can't say anything about this approach.


          Check out Designer's Guide to Adobe InDesign and XML by James Maivald and his course on Lynda.com

          No scripting needed. He has a chapter about making a catalog (with sample files). But, as far as I understand, there's a significant limitation: all the elements should have identical structure.


          Also, there are a few plug-ins -- e.g. InCatalog -- but I can't say about it because used it only as trial: in my opinion, the same limitation as above.


          In my opinion, the most flexible approach is scripting: you can do everything (automatically) you can do manually in InDesign.

          A few years ago I made a script which generated a catalog from a csv-file (exported from Excel). Below I'll post a couple of screenshots to illustrate what I'm talking about. The starting point was an indt-file with an empty page. The user have only to double-click the script and (absolutely) everything else is done by the script in a few minutes: including placing the images and applying formatting.


          — Kas



          26-12-2016 16-53-14.png26-12-2016 16-53-41.png

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          • 2. Re: Making a dynamic catalog from XML (or scripting)
            Joel Cherney Level 5

            I am in almost complete agreement with everything Kasyan posted. However, I lack the scripting skill to do what he does. However, I really like the midpoint that InData offers between using XML and writing your own catalog script from the ground up.   I was bashing my head against Visual Basic, trying to generate InDesign Tagged Text from an Access database when I was introduced to InData. It is more flexible than InCatalog, but easier to use for someone who can write scripts but isn't a true write-everything-from-scratch developer. It is worth a look, if you don't want to roll your own catalog development tool.

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