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  1. Put That Red Pen Down, and Step Away from the Copier! Going All the Way to a Digital Catalog Production Process (With Lots of Help from XML & Dorothy)

  2. Presenters: • Sean Baker, Monroe County Community College, web manager • Carol Burritt, Monroe County Community College, web specialist, former publications specialist • Janet Ekis, Monroe County Community College, public affairs specialist, Catalog editor • Dorothy Hoskins, Textenergy LLC: XML Consultant • Bob Reynolds, Monroe County Community College, web specialist, Lotus Notes developer

  3. MCC Catalog Production Scenario1998/99 – 2005/06 • Content for approximately 140 pages, ½ of the 2005/2006 printed catalog contained in a Lotus Notes database. • Input through Notes client forms • Password protected access to edit content • Password protected approval process for edited content • Email notification built into approval process • One button export to web and to create a rich text file for paper publication.

  4. MCC Catalog Production Scenario1998/99 – 2005/06 • The balance of the content is unstructured and scattered throughout the institution. • Edit requests & hard copy distributed to more than 30 originators college-wide. • Marked up hard copy returned to the publication editor. • Minor edits handwritten. Longer edits keyed. Collected edits incorporated into one document (MS Word) for layout person, by the publication editor.

  5. MCC Catalog Production Scenario1998/99 – 2005/06 • process problems • Content balance was unstructured and scattered throughout the institution. • Editing styles vary greatly. • Sloppy editing, transferring edits back and forth via interoffice mail hindered smooth work flow process.

  6. Pubflow…the dream • Phase One timetable – September 2005 through August 2006 • Scope – all catalog content would be structured in Lotus Notes at the conclusion of the project timetable • Participation – all content contributors would be trained to use the Notes client for content entry in time for the 2006-2007 catalog production cycle (January-May, 2006)

  7. Pubflow…the reality • Timetable – working out the XML export from Notes took more time than anticipated • Scope – populating the Notes database with the balance of the catalog content is best accomplished by pulling it from the InDesign document • Participation – introducing one more learning curve to people who were dealing with the introduction of Banner

  8. MCC Catalog Production Scenariofor 2007 and Beyond • All Catalog content will be structured in the Notes database. • Editorial access distributed to content owners via password protected web forms • Content approval process built in • XML export from Notes will enable print production and web display of all catalog content

  9. The XML saga (a different kind of Oz) Dorothy Hoskins XML publishing workflow consulting Textenergy LLC 585 750-3118

  10. XML import/export features of Lotus Notes • Lotus Notes has enabled some XML import and export. • Notes does not store XML natively. It breaks it up into components that it can store in its normal data fields. • Notes prefers a proprietary form of XML called DXL. • Scripting is required to extract “pure” XML from Notes.

  11. XML import/export with Adobe InDesign CS2 • InDesign CS2 is a powerful desktop publishing application which challenges Quark Xpress in the publishing world. • InDesign has the most user-friendly XML import and export of any major publishing tool to date. • Non-expert users can learn to work with XML in limited ways with a few hours self-study or training.

  12. Markup using the aid: namespace to create paragraph and character styles • The key to the true power of InDesign XML import is in the use of Adobe’s proprietary XML namespace • Adding the namespace with the correct character or paragraph style (aid:pstyle=“head1”) to the XML creates a binding between the internal styles of the InDesign document and the incoming XML content.

  13. Example of import into InDesign • Since this is easier to see than explain, here is a screenshot and some highlighted examples of the XML:

  14. Example of import into InDesign • <Table xmlns:aid="http://ns.adobe.com/AdobeInDesign/4.0/"aid:table="table" aid:trows="99" aid:tcols="5"> • <Cell aid:table="cell" aid:theader="" aid:crows="1" aid:ccols="1" aid:ccolwidth="117"> • <para aid:pstyle="Subheads - Small">Federal Financial Aid Programs**</para> • </Cell> • The XML used for tables in InDesign does not match that of the familiar HTML format. It does not wrap a group of cells with a row tag. It uses an internal mechanism to construct rows, based on the number of columns as in aid:tcols="5">.

  15. The XML saga (a different kind of Oz) Dorothy Hoskins XML publishing workflow consulting Textenergy LLC 585 750-3118

  16. XML import/export features of Lotus Notes • Lotus Notes has enabled some XML import and export. • Notes does not store XML natively. It breaks it up into components that it can store in its normal data fields. • Notes prefers a proprietary form of XML called DXL • Therefore, scripting is required to extract “pure” XML from Notes.

  17. XML import/export with Adobe InDesign CS2 • InDesign CS2 is a powerful desktop publishing application which challenges Quark Xpress in the publishing world. • InDesign has the most user-friendly XML import and export of any major publishing tool to date. • Non-expert users can learn to work with XML in limited ways with a few hours self-study or training.

  18. XML import/export with Adobe InDesign CS3 • InDesign CS3 has the capability to “apply XSLT”, to transform XML content into a form that will auto-format when importing. • General rules for creating the XSLT can be derived by analysis of catalog content and InDesign styles. The best strategy is “KISS”; InDesign does not handle very complex XSLT on import or export.

  19. Markup using the aid: namespace to create paragraph and character styles • The key to the true power of InDesign XML import is in the use of Adobe’s proprietary XML namespace • Adding the namespace with the correct character or paragraph style (aid:pstyle=“head1”) to the XML creates a binding between the internal styles of the InDesign document and the incoming XML content.

  20. Example of import into InDesign • Since this is easier to see than explain, here is a screenshot and some highlighted examples of the XML: <paraaid:pstyle="Subheads - Small">Federal Financial Aid Programs** </para>

  21. Example of import into InDesign • <Table xmlns:aid="http://ns.adobe.com/AdobeInDesign/4.0/"aid:table="table" aid:trows="99" aid:tcols="5“ > • <!-- no <Row> elements needed --> • <Cell aid:table="cell" aid:theader="" aid:crows="1" aid:ccols="1" aid:ccolwidth="117"> • <para aid:pstyle="Subheads - Small">Federal Financial Aid Programs**</para> • </Cell> • The XML used for tables in InDesign does not match that of the familiar HTML format. It does not wrap a group of cells with a row tag. It uses an internal mechanism to construct rows, based on the number of columns as in aid:tcols="5".

  22. Issues of XML output from Lotus Notes (rich text tables) • Tables were the bane of our project. In Lotus Notes, a lot of the content that we wanted to export was stored in rich text fields, including tables. • Bob wrote scripts to export the rich text from Notes as the type of preformulated, namespaced XML that we needed for InDesign. • We documented the process so that we could reproduce it for other types of Notes content.

  23. Repeatable processes? Yes! • Much to our gratification, the team at MCC has been able to make the XML content export from Lotus Notes for InDesign import following last year’s methods. They just needed a bit of email tech support to resolve a few glitches. • Some content that was in the InDesign files and not in the database has successfully been exported and added to the Notes database content.

  24. 15 seconds of fame • Dorothy has continued exploring XML and InDesign and has an O’Reilly ShortCut coming out this summer. Check the O’Reilly website for “XML Publishing with InDesign CS2+”, 99 pages featuring this MCC project as the case study. Tips on using CS3 and CS2 features of XML handling and sample code are included.

  25. Issues of XML output from Lotus Notes (rich text tables) • Tables were the bane of our project. In Lotus Notes, a lot of the content that we wanted to export was stored in rich text fields, including tables. • Bob Reynolds had to write scripts to export the rich text from Notes as the type of preformulated, namespaced XML that we needed for InDesign. • We documented the process so that we could reproduce it for other types of Notes content.

  26. Screen Shot of Notes Form View with Rich Text • Screen shot of just formula

  27. Issues of XML import to InDesign (general and table markup) • InDesign CS2 can handle some nested XML structure, but it is not intended as a true XML editor. Adobe provides a “cookbook recipe” example and some technical documentation on XML, but it is not very complete. • In order to get the degree of markup that we wanted for XML import, we had to know the complete set of InDesign styles and understand the style mapping mechanisms within InDesign.

  28. Issues of XML import to InDesign (general and table markup) • To our knowledge, this was one of the most complex XML import projects using InDesign CS2 and Adobe’s namespace yet achieved. Over 130 pages of content is automatically formatting itself with document styles as it comes into InDesign, in a matter of minutes.

  29. Demo of XML Import: Adobe InDesign

  30. Issues of XML import into Notes from InDesign (to create importable “chunks") • While we can get XML to export successfully from InDesign CS2, Lotus Notes works best with an XML format known as DXL. This is the format that IBM and Lotus have developed to represent Lotus Notes data. • In order to better understand DXL markup, we generated DXL documents by exporting current Lotus Notes data. Our samples contained rich text elements (tables, various font properties, etc) so we could review the XML structure needed for these elements.

  31. Issues of XML import into Notes from InDesign (to create importable “chunks") • We achieved the desired result by importing DXL data into Louts Notes. The marked up rich text data is imported and structured as we needed, with very little added refinement. However, we have not yet tested the process of transforming the InDesign XML output to the DXL markup. • Importing XML into Lotus Notes involves writing code in LotusScript or Java, and we are getting very close

  32. Demo of Import: Lotus Notes

  33. MCC Catalog Production ScenarioEnvisioned for 2007 and Beyond • The sections of the content exported from Notes as XML, take layout production time from approximately 2 ½ days to a couple hours. • MCC is currently exploring the possibilities of moving away from a print-version catalog, while looking to extend the process to other major publications.

  34. The future of our Catalog approval and publication process • Users will edit, review and approve their section of the catalog through a web browser. No special software or training will be needed. • Email notification will keep people informed of where things are in the catalog process.

  35. The future of our Catalog approval and publication process • Catalog content will be available for distribution through various mediums – print, web, mobile web, MCC digital signage network, etc. • Customized documents can be created by combining content from many databases and printed as needed by the customers. • (Interactive Catalog)

  36. Imagine this Mash Up • A prospective student is meeting with an Admissions counselor to decide whether MCC has a program that meets her needs. • While they are meeting, the counselor opens a web form that offers choices to pull information from various sources, according to the prospects interests and needs.

  37. Imagine this Mash Up • This information could include: • Program descriptions • Course descriptions • 2+2 and/or transfer options • Faculty contact information • Tuition and financial aid information • Registration deadlines and other key dates • Etc.

  38. Imagine this Mash Up • As the prospective student leaves the interview, she is handed a customized document that contains the information collected from the form. • She could also be given access to the web form, allowing her to explore other options on her own time. At any time the information can be captured and printed.

  39. Questions?