Los Angeles InDesign User Group

Muse: Create Websites Using an InDesign Interface

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Westside Pavilion, Community Room B, 10800 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90064

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Original Event Page



By Alvin Takamori


The January meeting of the Los Angeles InDesign User Group was held at the Westside Pavilion in a Community Room that was tucked away in a hidden exterior corridor. Somehow, about 70 intrepid people managed to find their way to this location.


Once there, our audience met our guest speaker Sharon Sachse, who introduced us to Muse, Adobe’s new website development software. Sharon does front-end development incorporating video, animation and rich interactive experiences for viewing on multiple devices. For this meeting, she showed us how to construct a simple website using Muse.


First, Sharon informed us that Muse is wrapped inside an Adobe AIR package. If you don’t already have AIR, it installs automatically with Muse. AIR is a cross-operating system runtime that enables web developers to build and deploy standalone web applications and context to be seen and used by multiple devices like smartphones, computers and televisions. Don’t worry, I don’t fully understand all of this either.


However, an important point that Sharon made was that your editing options have restrictions. If you take your Muse website and decide to edit it in another program like Dreamweaver or create any custom coding of the HTML, you won’t be able to go back to Muse. Muse will not recognize any outside changes that you made. So this is not a program that a sophisticated website developer, who wants to tweak every detail and add custom features would want. At least, not yet.


Muse is targeted at those of us who would rather not see any scripting or code. In the master page section of Muse, Sharon demonstrated how to quickly create a sitemap with the various pages and links. The order of the pages was easily changed by just dragging the image of the page where you wanted it. Then she created a header and a basic menu with the rollover and click-on states. Both features were applied universally to all the pages on the website.


Sharon inserted an interactive map and explained how you could also add videos. Then she built a gallery of images. The thumbnails could be displayed, repositioned and adjusted in a variety of ways. On a long page, she added anchors to scroll to specific sections. She also created a drop-down menu and a footer with links. There is also a library of widgets inside Muse.


The beauty of all of this was that Sharon created the website primarily with drag-and-drop and menus that an InDesign user would intuitively be able to use.


To publish the site, Muse integrates with Adobe Business Catalyst, but you also have the option to choose your own webhost.


Currently, Muse is available as beta software, so you can test it.



Raffles and Prizes


Jeanie Lytle won Type DNA font management software and Cathy Cassells won a three-month subscription to Lynda.com that should turn her into a software guru. Dallas Dorsett, Jeffrey Schimsky and Colleen Gates all took home Adobe T-shirts. Proving that if you buy multiple raffle tickets you can win multiple prizes, Jeffrey also won a gift from Art Beats and Colleen won an eDocker electronic publishing software product. Another multiple winner was Gary Mancoris who received a subscription to InDesign Magazine and stock photo downloads from Fotolia. Robin O’Connell also won downloads from Fotolia and Yumiko Yamada won access to the Stock Layout template library for three months. Joanne Abensour won her choice of a Markzware software product and Barbara Fier won Adobe Dreamweaver 5.5. In addition, a couple of concert ticket prizes donated on the spot by attending user group members went to Nelson Anderson and Mike Gonzales.


Congratulations to all the winners. With so many prizes the odds of winning were very good, but even if you didn’t win a something, everyone could have helped themselves to the free cookies.



Thank you


Here's a shout out to the meeting's facilitators: Adobe, eDocker, Lynda.com, Artbeats, Stock Layouts, Fotolia, Markzware, InDesign Magazine, O’Reilly Press, Peachpit Press.



Job Opportunities


We are looking for people who want to get involved with the administration of the group. Maybe you have web skills, newsletter skills, an eye for photos, want to conduct the raffles. Whatever. Let's talk.



Next Meeting


The next meeting of the Los Angeles InDesign User Group will be held March 15, 2012 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at a shopping center whose name and address are both called 8000 Sunset located in Los Angeles, CA 90046. 8000 Sunset is the big curved center located at the corner of Crescent Heights Blvd. that used to house the Sunset 5 Movie theaters.


Andrew Keith Strauss will speak on typography and OpenType helping to get you up to date on the latest typographic functionality in InDesign including (1) technological standards, including Unicode, OpenType and the Adobe Type Engine; (2) InDesign’s typographic features, especially the most useful ones that are hidden in plain sight; and (3) typefaces and type foundries, including some new designs and the independent foundries and type designers that produce them.


Andrew co-founded the original Los Angeles InDesign User Group in 2001. He is an Adobe Certified Training Provider, and has worked with a variety of publishers, design firms, advertising agencies and other customers over the years. He provides technical consulting, support and training in all aspects of publishing: from print to digital to online. Andrew is responsible for helping many prominent companies make the move to InDesign over the past 12 years, and even trained Adobe’s own staff in preparation for release of the original Creative Suite in 2003. Current concentrations include publishing to tablets and mobile devices, and the emerging HTML5 & CSS3 web standards. Two of his specialties are color theory and typography.






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