A few months ago my friends at Coe-Truman Technologies (a bunch of database/XML publishing brainiacs) in Chicago invited me over to take a peek at a new InDesign plug-in they were about to offer to their customers. My jaw dropped, it was one of the coolest things ever … and this from a company who is not really that into InDesign! They come at it from the other end. Coe-Truman helps clients's marketing departments create, manage, and publish their databases to the web and to print, instead of fighting with IT over it. That web-based software is called Catapult Manage:
For the past few years, Seneca (my company) has been Coe-Truman's training partner. After their clients are up and running with Catapult Manage, we come in. We train their client's print catalog teams how to use the inData plug-in or XData XTension (both from EmSoftware) to automate catalog production in InDesign or XPress, using the layout template created by client's design staff.
Most of their specialty catalog clients have been migrating to InDesign, and publishing in general has been moving to XML, so Coe-Truman saw a way to make automated layout even easier with this neat XML plug-in they call Catalog Print. It lets the InDesign (CS3 or CS4) user create "page models" of how they want a product's data to look, kind of like snippets. Then designers just pick the products from a panel (that's interpreting the XML file) and say "Make it so." The data comes in matching the page model, still completely editable.
I'm going to be showing how it works with some real data and real catalogs next week during a free webinar they're putting on. And of course I'll be throwing in some InDesign production tips while I'm at it, since I won't be able to help myself. ;-) If you're laying out catalogs in InDesign, you should check it out! To register and learn more details, go here:
"Pick-and-Place"XML Publishing with Catapult webinar
Thursday, June 16, 2009; 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. CST
Note: Coe-Truman's Catapult Print plug-in only works in conjunction with their Catalog Manage service, which I linked to above. You can't use it with just any XML file (maybe one day …). But if you're involved with creating catalogs and you're struggling with the data (who isn't?) Catalog Manage is definitely worth a look too. They'll be showing a little of that during the webinar as well.
Hope to see you there!