Conversion of Adobe InDesign articles into XML content

  1. chevron left iconConversion of Adobe InDesign articles into XML content
December 10, 2013

With censhare, both paths for multi-channel publishing are open for companies: content- and print-first. The specially developed XML article structure provides the basis in both cases. With Version 4.8, print articles in Adobe InDesign may be converted into this structure.

Content or layout: both strategies possible

Since the end of the print era as the dominant medium for the publication of contents, companies are having to handle an increasing variety of media in parallel. Besides the print-first strategy, content-first has established itself as an important approach. In the latter, contents are captured and recorded in media-independent XML and converted for different channels. censhare allows the use of both strategies for multi-channel publishing. censhare uses XML as a neutral format and converts it for particular channels with transformations. This makes it ideal for the content-first strategy. When companies decide to move from print-first to content-first, censhare 4.8 simplifies the transition: existing articles in Adobe InDesign may be converted to XML and used for web, mobile or E-books. Future articles are directly captured in XML. This saves one copy and paste transfer.

On the other side, companies are able to use this conversion function to simply extend their print-first strategy into multi-channel publishing. Articles will continue to be first created for print. But the content can easily be used for other publishing channels. Regardless of where a company stands: with censhare 4.8 it can implement both a content-first as well as a print-first strategy.

The key to content-oriented capture in censhare is the Standard Content Structure. This defines everything necessary for media-independent capture with the article editor. The article editor combines in one application everything necessary for the production of an article such as text, images, metadata, videos or media channel-specific settings.

The key to content-oriented capture in censhare is the Standard Content Structure. This defines everything necessary for media-independent capture with the article editor. The article editor combines in one application everything necessary for the production of an article such as text, images, metadata, videos or media channel-specific settings.

In a change from print-first to content-first, the existing print editions can be made available on the web page. Appropriate content is thereby available right from the start. Subsequently these will then be created with the article editor.

With a print-first strategy, a company uses censhare to create print articles with the help of Adobe InDesign and InCopy or censhare's InCopy editor. These are then converted into the Standard Article Structure and prepared for other channels. If an Adobe InDesign article is changed after being converted, censhare automatically brings the XML content into line.

Customer benefits

  • Support of a print-first or content-first strategy
  • Simpler transition from a print-first to a content-first strategy
  • Print-First strategy: use of the print content for multi-channel publishing
  • Easier migration of articles in Adobe InDesign to censhare's article structure
  • No censhare know-how necessary for defining an article structure in Adobe InDesign
  • Automatic updating of the article in censhare on changes to the Adobe InDesign document
  • Use of the Standard Content Structure: direct processing of the migrated contents with censhare's article editor
  • Use of the article editor: all transformations are available, such as for previews or publication of contents for various media channels
  • Definition of conversion rules between Adobe InDesign styles and other markups in the layout
  • Temporary generation of IDML files as an intermediate format for conversion by means of Adobe's InDesign Server: no additional usage of storage space

Application case

  • Change from a print-first to a content-first strategy: simply continue using existing content for the online presence
  • Extension of the print-first strategy: preparation of print articles for other media channels such as web, e-book or mobile

From layout to XML content

For article migration from Adobe InDesign, censhare uses Adobe's IDML file format, which stores a layout in the form of XML. The first step is for censhare to produce a corresponding IDML file from the layout. In the second step, censhare goes through the articles in the layout and collects all contents such as text and images from the IDML file.

Then an article asset is created with all the data belonging to the article attached to it as assets. The information present in the Adobe InDesign document, such as styles or other XML tags in the IDML file, can be used in the conversion. Here, a mapping rule must be defined for every tag which is to be taken into account. This specifies which XML tags of the Standard Content Structure the IDML file tag should be converted into. In this way, emphases, for example, can be transformed into a media-neutral form. The specification of the rules takes place in the framework of a project.

Previously every article in an Adobe InDesign layout must be defined in the article palette and the associated contents such as text or images linked with it. This arrangement is the basis for the production of the corresponding article structure in censhare. No censhare know-how is required for the definition of the article in Adobe InDesign. As a result it is possible to place the task of marking all Adobe InDesign documents with an external service provider.

The Standard Content Structure allows a company to create media-neutral XML-Content with the help of the article editor, from the start of a project. With the Standard Content Structure, censhare supplies a collection of asset templates, editor definitions and output transformations. The collection uses the censhare DTD (Document Type Definition) as its basis. All necessary transformations, such as for print or HTML preview or output channels like web or E-book, are supplied.

Two roads lead to IDML

For the first migration step, the conversion of an Adobe InDesign layout into IDML, there are two possibilities: either it is performed with the help of an Adobe InDesign server, or else censhare can produce the IDML on check-in of the layout file, and attach it to the associated asset as a file.

In the first case, censhare only produces the IDML temporarily without storing it as a file, thereby saving time and storage space. The IDML file is significantly larger than the binary version and needs more time to store. An XSLT command to the renderer in censhare launches the conversion into IDML.

If no Adobe InDesign server is available, the IDML can also be produced with the help of a local Adobe InDesign installation. It will be stored as a file with the storage key type "IDML", similarly to EPS or PDF files.

Finally, a ZIP file which contains images and XML files is behind IDML. The XML files contain, for example, the articles (stories) of the layout file. Compared with the binary version of the layout, IDML has the advantage that all contents can automatically be read out or transformed.

If an Adobe InDesign layout is modified, an automatic server action ensures that the changes are incorporated into the censhare articles.

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