Publishing Workflow for InDesign Import/Export of XML

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17 févr. 2014 (il y a 3 années et 3 mois)

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Publishing Workflow for
InDesign Import/Export of XML

Creating Bi
directional Content Reuse

between Databases and Publishing Applications

Part 1: The XML Import

Dorothy J. Hoskins

President, Textenergy


The Problem Overview

Current State

Desired State

Proposed XML Workflow




Why Use XML?

Overview: The Workflow Problem

The college has 2 major sources of the content
used in the course catalog: a database and
InDesign documents. They would like to reduce
the time and effort of publishing the content in
the database that appears within the InDesign
catalog. Simultaneously, they want to reduce the
chance of discrepancies between the two sets of

Knowing that XML can be imported into
InDesign, they decided to try to export XML from
the database.

Overview: Workflow State at Start

There was no way to get the content moved
between the database and InDesign documents
without some kind of cut and paste operation.

When the publishing department got the content
from the database, it came as a large .txt file
that required extensive manual markup to get it
formatted correctly in InDesign.

Revisions also came as .txt or directly from
reviewers as Word snippets, also requiring cut &
paste and manual markup.

Overview: Desired Workflow

File import would be used to get the database
content into InDesign.

When the publishing department gets the
content from the database, it will come as a XML
files that format correctly in InDesign on import.

Revisions can come as XML snippets also, which
can be integrated into the main XML import.

Proposed XML Workflow

Create content in Lotus Notes database tables for
course descriptions and programs of study.

Export these types of content as XML from the
database, using its XML export capabilities.

Take sample XML and import into InDesign to
create element styles (to make each piece of
content look as it should in print).

Import entire XML into InDesign.

Adjust layout in InDesign.

Proposed XML Workflow

Develop revision process:

Create review materials and circulate to reviewers
(PDF of InDesign doc).

Input revisions in database tables. (The database
is to be the “single source” for all course
descriptions and programs of study content.)

Export revisions as XML snippets.

Import XML snippets to make revisions in

Create XML export from InDesign to load some
content into the database (bidirectional flow).

Development of XML Workflow

Identify the content types (course descriptions,
programs of study) and their components (credit
hours, prerequisites, course titles, descriptions,
etc.) in the database.

Model the content as XML elements.

Research the InDesign paragraph and character
styles to see how to map the XML elements.

Develop XML output from the database.

Test XML content and refine paragraph styles.

Import XML and verify results.

Development of XML Workflow

People and job functions involved:

The database developer: to create XML output from data

XML consultant: to develop the XML import to InDesign

Print publishing manager, production: to provide input on
the InDesign requirements, test and verify the import

Project manager: to track progress against goals and

Web publisher: to provide input on web
related issues
regarding the database

XML in InDesign CS2

Paragraph and character styles can be assigned
to XML elements.

XML in InDesign CS2

Import uses the InDesign structure pane (on left
side of the layout

for the page).

The document

already has its

paragraph and

character styles

defined by the

publications team.

XML in InDesign CS2

Select the XML file for import into InDesign.

The XML file

can include its

paragraph and

character styles

in attributes

(added during

export from the

database). Or

styles can be

added after

importing XML.

XML in InDesign CS2

Tables can be created with XML import also.

Table import

requires added

XML structures

that map to table


Imported files

may be linked for

further edits (not

recommended for

large XML files).

XML in InDesign CS2

Imported XML can be viewed in the Structure
pane in the

InDesign file.

Expanding the

structure will

show the XML

attributes as

well as the


Flat XML structures

are the best

for importing.

XML in InDesign CS2

InDesign has a mapping feature to assign a

paragraph style

to all XML elements

of a given name.

If you name XML

elements exactly

as your paragraph

styles are named,

(or vice versa)

the process is very


XML element names
cannot contain spaces
or certain reserved
characters like “&”.

XML in InDesign CS2

InDesign has a Story Editor view that makes it
easier to edit within XML elements.

Color coding helps
identify the different
XML element types.


In a catalog of about 300 pages, over 130 pages
are now created with XML import.

This has reduced the manual markup process
from days to a few hours.

Course descriptions flow into 70 pages from one
XML database output file.

Programs of study flow into 20 pages from
another database export (but require extra XML
processing before import)

Program requirements XML flows over 10 pages of
column table layout.


The import process gets all the XML elements to format
uniformly. However, there are “known issues” such as:

Importing takes a few minutes and requires a computer with
a lot of horsepower. Crashes are more likely than with non
XML files.

Tables are less stable than other layout elements.

Cleanup after import applies column or line breaks, kerning
overrides and other copyfitting.

Markup overrides do not affect the XML.

Overrides have to be redone if the source XML file is

In some cases, an XSL transform is required to restructure
the database XML file into a flatter structure that works well
inside Indesign.

Why use XML?

A look at forces moving the marketplace:

commerce, globalization,

speed to market

Global trading and enterprise
integration are speeding up

XML, a language for describing the structure of
information, is one of the key technologies for
making information reusable and transportable.

Already, industries have been forming coalitions
to create standards for themselves called XML

(rules for structuring information) and
making these schemas available to build
momentum for global e

The players are on the field, and
they’re all using XML

Microsoft, IBM, Sun and Adobe, among others,
are all building XML
enabled applications and

Large enterprises are already using XML in
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer
Relationship Management (CRM), Salesforce
Automation (SFA), and Supply Chain
Management (SCM)/e
procurement. XML is also
essential for many Content Management

Future development of products

XML is widely used in web publishing

and print
publishing is the next frontier. Back in 2001, Bill
Gates said,

An open industry standard managed by the World Wide Web
Consortium, XML enables developers to describe data being
exchanged between PCs, smart devices, applications and

Web sites. ... XML is a lingua franca for the Internet age.

Just as the Web revolutionized how users talk to applications,
XML transforms how applications talk to each other.

Now Microsoft has enabled XML for Office
applications. So has Adobe for its product line.

You have more options than ever before for XML
catalog development, from major players.

In a nutshell,

XML works for business

Using XML to connect applications and business
systems is working very well already, and XML
development is going on all over the globe.

(Note: XML makes multi
language websites and localized
documents easier to produce.)

Those who move to leverage their information
resources with XML have new opportunities for
establishing valuable partnerships and gaining

For more ideas about

XML for business


Textenergy LLC

585 750