1 Reply Latest reply on Sep 18, 2011 11:59 PM by Dirk Becker

    InDesign Server to manage reporting services


      Hi, Im looking for help/guidelines regarding InDesign. I'm a software architect working on a line-of-business application that will eventually require printing about 5 hundred thousand personalized report (of about 20 pages each) over a couple of days (and many other smaller jobs), and my client requires that this job be executed by a third party. Think of the document as a fairly standard financial report printed once a year for each participant. The application is built in .net, backed by a sql database. Once a year, the data is mined, computed, and outputed in a format acceptable by the supplier (who is chosen through a public tendering process).


      So from what I've learned thus far, to be complient with most suppliers, I must use some file format like postscript or eps, and to do this, it looks like InDesign Server might be what I'm looking for.


      So here is what I've figured out so far (and where I will need your help if I'm not making sense) :

      - Create a kind of IDML template using InDesign on a desktop computer

      - in our .net application, modify the IDML for each participant to personalize it (a lot of conditional code to remove sections of text, and inject numbers, etc).

      - Send each (or a batch is feasable) to the InDesign Server to prepare for publishing into postscript/eps files

      - and if feasable, also create a PDF of each because we need to keep a digital version of the document on the client's corporate SharePoint (for legal reasons).


      Is this how InDesign should be used? Am I making any sense?


      Thanks in advance for all the answers.

        • 1. Re: InDesign Server to manage reporting services
          Dirk Becker Level 4

          You're pretty close, the outlined steps could work. Of course you'd have to add some more postprocessing steps - add or remove pages dependent on your conditional sections, let InDesign rebuild the index if you need one, eventually optimize the layout beyond the automatically maintained keep options.


          With that number of produced documents your topmost issue will be speed. For that reason I'd try to not use IDML and outside processing - to open an existing document is much faster than to import it from IDML, and if you can reuse the same template document without close-open, it will be even faster. InDesign has many features such as conditional text, text variables, counters that could be utilized. Your script would then work straight on the document object model, given an input such as tab delimited text or xml.


          It is possible to communicate from .net applications with InDesign, but here you should also run comparisons with VBScript and ExtendScript which both have the advantage to run within the InDesign process. There are also other advantages of VBScript and ExtendScript - controlling InDesign can be a bit inconvenient for strongly typed languages like C#, even though it is doable. The community and thus possible support is larger for ExtendScript.


          Output will work in all mentioned formats. You might get along with a PDF-only workflow, but as you mentioned the print supplier may have special requirements.