Learn How to Automate InDesign CS5 Using XML, XSLT And JavaScript

The new book “InDesign CS5 Automation Using JavaScript” aims to take the readers’ InDesign productivity to a whole new level. Many designers and other users of InDesign are daunted by the idea of automating the program, since it requires the creation of scripts which, in turn, means learning a programming language. In this book, author Grant Gamble shows readers how to use the powerful, concise and user-friendly JavaScript language to create useful and time-saving scripting solutions, even if they have never done any programming before.

As InDesign embraces new technologies and new document formats, Grant invites users to add XML and scripting to their arsenal of InDesign skills: “The creative community has had to take on board challenges like HTML and CSS and, for a lot of people, scripting will be a natural progression. JavaScript is a great choice of language because it is so pervasive: a lot of non-programmers will have had at least some exposure to it as a result of working with web content.”

The style of “InDesign CS5 Automation Using JavaScript” is very much hands-on. “This book grew out of course material I developed for my company’s training workshops on InDesign XML workflows and scripting”, says Grant. “So it incorporates a lot of practical, step-by-step tutorials designed to reinforce the techniques and concepts being discussed.”

Here are some of the skills you will learn from this book.

The core fundamentals of the JavaScript language as well as the extra features offered by ExtendScript, Adobe’s extended version of JavaScript. You will also be shown how to get the most out of the ExtendScript Toolkit, the free JavaScript editor supplied with the Adobe Creative Suite.

  1. How to use ExtendScript to manipulate and control key elements of the InDesign object model such as documents, preferences, master spreads, pages, page items, text frames, text, graphics, fonts, styles and tables.
  2. How to create interactive interfaces for your scripts which allow the user to make choices that control what the script does, making solutions more flexible, powerful and useful. All of the main tutorials in the book involve the creation of interactive user interfaces using ExtendScript’s ScriptUI technology. So, users will become very familiar with the benefits of adding graphic user interfaces to their scripting solutions, especially those being written for colleagues or clients.
  3. How JavaScript can generate documents automatically based on content stored in text files, XML documents and metadata embedded in graphic files.
  4. The use of scripts to create interactive documents containing page transitions and navigation buttons, which are then exported as interactive PDFs.
  5. How to make your scripts more robust by incorporating error-handling features; and how to fix errors by using the debugging features built into the ExtendScript Toolkit.
  6. The core concepts and features of XML: the rules governing the structure and content of XML documents and techniques for generating XML using popular programs. You will also gain a full understanding of key InDesign XML workflows and the two ways of scripting XML import and export: using the JavaScript XML DOM and using InDesign’s built-in XML objects, as displayed in the Structure pane and the Tags panel.
  7. The usage and creation of DTDs for validating XML documents, both the general principles involved and their implementation within InDesign.
  8. The fundamental features of XSLT stylesheets: key elements and techniques which are especially important for InDesign workflows, such as converting attributes to elements, changing the order, name and content of elements, as well as the interactive use of parameter values for filtering XML import.
  9. If you want to start using JavaScript and XML to automate InDesign, and are looking for clear and concise guidance on how it all works, this book is all you will need to get up and running.


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