8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 12, 2011 7:04 PM by Ken Krugh

    CS5 vs CS3 with XML

    Ken Krugh Level 1

      We're on the cusp of switching from CS3 to CS5 and just received a request to do layout from XML files.


      I know very little of XML and how to deal with it in InD and will be doing a crash course over the next two weeks, I'm also far more familiar with CS3 both (layout and scripting) than CS5.


      Are there any worth while advantages to working with the XML in CS5 over CS3?


      Many thanks,


        • 1. Re: CS5 vs CS3 with XML
          John Hawkinson Level 5

          Prepare for a world of hurt.


          XML workflows involving InDesign are not very mature, and it's quite possible that whatever you envision doing is just not possible. Or will require heavy tweaks to the XML.


          If you would be more specific about what you want to use XML for, we could advise you better.


          I can't remember what changed in XML from CS3 to CS5; not a huge amount, I don't think.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: CS5 vs CS3 with XML
            Dirk Becker Level 4

            In scripting CS4 added XMLElement.evaluateXPathExpression(), while XMLRules were already available in CS3.



            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: CS5 vs CS3 with XML
              Ken Krugh Level 1

              We have an existing set of sample pages for a series. The client is trying to find the best way to get the back list of the series to the web as well as prepared for traditional book printing and are testing some things, one of which is having the content created and tagged in XML and trying to use that for both getting the product to the web and prepared in InDesign for printing.


              So, we have an existing InDesign file that should have all the styles to lay the books out and newly created XML files that we have to import into InDesign.


              I'm going to try looking in to the evaluateXPathExpression and try to determine how helpful it might be. Maybe that will make it worth moving to CS5 ASAP.


              The looking I've done over the last couple of days has pretty much confirmed your initial assessment of a "world of hurt." Oy.




              • 4. Re: CS5 vs CS3 with XML
                John Hawkinson Level 5

                That is kind of vague.

                If you could be a lot more specific, we could give you better advice.


                It sounds like you have an existing backlist (in what format?) and you plan to (or already have?) converted that to XML. And then you want to import that XML into InDesign, potentially matching the exact print layout that the source material had before?


                If your InDesign layout is more than a single story, you're going to have quite a lot of trouble doing that with XML without scripting. If you're willing to do heavy scripting then anything is possible, but you are probably better off preprocessing your XML outside of InDesign first. But it depends.


                Are there graphics involved? Multiple text frames per page?


                Moreover, if its for the backlist, what's the point of generating InDesign files? Haven't these books already been printed and layed out? Presumably the web part would be the new part?


                Or is InDesign an authoring tool for the XML and you're planning to export XML from InDesign? And do what with it? Feed it to what?


                I don't think EvaluateXPathXpression is much of a game-changer. It makes it easier for you to find nodes in the InDesign XML tree in scripting. But you could always traverse the tree any way you liked without it.


                I think we'd be glad to help you, but right now you haven't really told us enough to say anything at all, other than "XML is hard, and probably not the easiest way."

                • 5. Re: CS5 vs CS3 with XML
                  Ken Krugh Level 1

                  Yeah, sorry, things are still very up in the air. Basically they've thrown some XML files at us and said "what's it going to cost to typeset this?" As you suspect the back list books have already been published, but many are old enough that there are NO electronic files available so the material needs to be keyboarded in some way.


                  My initial question has pretty much been answered. Going to CS5 won't be a game changer for us. Thanks for getting down to that for me. I'm fairly certain we're going to end up using quite a bit of scripting as well as manual work due to the complexity of the material. I'm looking into things now including using XSLT file to get us at least part way there.


                  For reasons of discussion, the material is very complex. Greek or Latin appears on the left pages, the English translation on the right pages. There are footnotes at the bottom of the pages, sometimes many. If required to make the text and tranlsation match on the spread, footnotes can appear on the opposite page from where they're referenced.

                  • 6. Re: CS5 vs CS3 with XML
                    Ken Krugh Level 1
                    Sorry, hit some keystroke that posted before I was done writing!
                    As I was saying, material is very complex, with multiple text frames on a page including footnotes and sometimes marginalia.
                    As I think you were alluding to earlier, John, I don't see that this is the way for them to go, overall I mean. There was talk of them updating the old content, which would be done by editors, who wouldn't have any working knowledge of XML and would be best served working on a word processor. So, it seems to us that we'd be better off getting the material keyed in a word processor, edited/updated, getting it into InDesign, THEN generating XML. But, thus far there is only one person at the client who sees that larger picture.
                    Thanks again for all your input. I'll post back if I have any revelations for anyone who might be interested.
                    All Best,
                    • 7. Re: CS5 vs CS3 with XML
                      John Hawkinson Level 5

                      OK, that helps.

                      One issue is you seem to be using the word "XML file" like it actually meant something. But really its more along the lines of "digital file." It could mean...almost anything.


                      So without knowing what inputs generate the XML and what consumes the output, its hard to say.


                      InDesign is not really designed for web development. But CS5.5 has, for instances, a bunch of features that enable EPUB export that are far ahead of CS4's features, and fairly ahead of (but a little bit behind, too) CS5's features. So you might find you wanted to leverage InDesign's export, but I wouldn't think of it as XML.


                      I'm not sure it would be easier for you to generate XML from InDesign than it would be to do it in the word processing application. Really so much depends on what would be reading it, and what the XML capabilities of the word processor are. The outputs and the inputs.


                      Because XML is not one thing. And there should be no expectation that an XML file written by Program A can be read by Program B.


                      But yeah, XSLT. Good luck with that. I think I want my brain cells back. But, its the wave of the future, right? It's a good skill to have though.

                      • 8. Re: CS5 vs CS3 with XML
                        Ken Krugh Level 1

                        Ha ha!!! I've been coming to similar conclusions regarding the XSLT and brain cells and all. Seems like something that might be good in theory but doesn't have many practical uses, at least not for things we need to do.


                        And yeah, "the wave of the future," I think that's the only reason they're starting down this path. Everyone thinks its the wave of the future but no one seems to know exactly what to do with it. Heck, they don't even know what the on line content is going to look like yet!


                        Ah well, I've still got to figure out the most efficient way of getting the XML content they sent me into InDesign.


                        Thanks again,