In order to keep some identical parts of multiple InDesign documents in sync, I'm currently experimenting with placed ICML files. This works fine while placing the ICML files as text frames of their own, I can check in/out etc. However, due to our layout, the repetitive parts (e.g. a warning box) must be nested within other text frames. Simply trying to place the ICML file inside a text frame will cause the contents to be placed without remaining linked. I found a workaround for this (though I wonder if it's sensible): Export an isolated text frame containing the link-placed ICML file as IDMS snippet and place that inside a text frame, and voilà, a linked text frame within another text frame, checking in/out also works fine. And since the ICML files are basically plain XML, I can use SCM like git to version control those parts.
But the problem starts after modifying other parts of the parent text frame: Without warning nor sensible reason, when saving the InDesign document now also "updates" the ICML file with some non-changes concerning only the metadata, e.g.
<Story Self="u1a1" AppliedTOCStyle="n" UserText="true" TrackChanges="false" StoryTitle="text" AppliedNamedGrid="n">
<Story Self="u163" AppliedTOCStyle="n" UserText="true" TrackChanges="false" StoryTitle="text" AppliedNamedGrid="n">
so it's really some irrelevant (though consistent) changes of ids. However it becomes worse when I cleaned up the ICML file to not contain e.g. paragraph styles not actually relevant, since InDesign will then reinsert that garbage information. In fact changes also happen when just editing the ICML file via InCopy, which makes even more meta-changes. The only "solution" I found so far was making the ICML file readonly, which however not only defeats the purpose of check in/out (which is no longer possible) but also in the infamous "The Content is locked and cannot be modified."
So, does anyone have an idea how to fix this nasty behaviour?
(In case you're going to suggest we should use Framemaker instead, I'm aware of that, but for now we're stuck with InDesign)