Los Angeles InDesign User Group
TruEdit, a Content Management System for InDesign
Thursday, January 19, 2017
By Alvin Takamori
On a cool, wet Thursday night, the Los Angeles InDesign User Group held their first meeting of 2017 at General Assembly in Santa Monica. General Assembly is an education and career transformation facility. The turnout for this meeting was admittedly rather sparse, but that just meant more Panera sandwiches for the rest of us.
At this meeting, there were two presenters, Brett Kizner, Senior Director of Business Development for Managing Editor Inc. (MEI), and Monica Kollman, Graphics Director of Response Group.
Brett introduced us to Content Management Systems (CMS). In the world of publishing, designers use software like InDesign to create the look of a publication. While writers and editors use software like InCopy to generate content. Integrating the two in the production process can be a challenge for larger publications with multiple team members.
There are four parts of the process: collaboration, organization, automation, and publication. There are also four major systems that are used to provide this. ATEX is a CMS that is used by large newspapers. Another system used by magazines in the 90's was some software, whose name begins with the letter "Q." Since then, magazines have switched to Vjoon K4 and Woodwing Enterprise, which integrate InDesign and InCopy.
However, content is currently being generated in new ways. There are apps and social media, and staff working from home. There are freelancers and copy on Dropbox.
Brett explained that to address all of this, MEI introduced a new CMS called TruEdit, which uses a cloud-based platform to integrate web, mobile, and print.
Monica Kollman showed us how her company uses TruEdit. TruEdit works as a plug-in within InDesign and InCopy. The system also includes Web Client, HTML authoring, and bi-directional support. Using a typical multi-page article with ads, Monica demonstrated how you could drag and drop articles into TruEdit. There you could check if links are missing. Items like ads could be stored in another file and you could add and place them. You could click on an item in the "All Jobs Table" and a pop-up window tells you where it's placed.
You could do these things in InDesign alone, but with Truedit the file is in the Cloud where multiple users can access it. The file can be accessed by an editor, who is notified with a message. The status of whether he sees it is automatically updated. Any edits to the file do not overwrite the original file. So multiple versions of the file are stored in the Cloud. For organization, you can add a description, metadata, to the file. When you are ready to print, the file can be assigned to a production manager and checked in. It can be prepared for PDF with checks for font, colors, photo credits and image bleeds.
Kizner explained that translating files to HTML is difficult in InDesign. Since the software was designed for printing, the HTML generated by InDesign tends to be oversimplified. To help translation, using paragraph styles is helpful, because XML can generate tags from those styles. Using TruEdit, you could export a file as XML and convert it to HTML, to get a better HTML file.
Next there was a demonstration of a typical workflow. Beginning with a Word file from TruEdit and linked to InDesign, a writer in TruEdit could update a header. They could download it and alter it. A designer could check for updates and see a notice that the writer changed the header. The designer might see that an image is missing and go to TruEdit to create a job for it. The job directions to get a photo could be placed directly on the InDesign page and assigned to the appropriate person. Meanwhile, a writer could log into InCopy and edit text without access to the overall layout.
To generate output for mobile devices another platform by MEI called Twixl is good for creating apps. The Twixl platform creates sections of HTML content; the header, the text, and the photos. These sections are automatically rearranged to fit the dimensions of the output screen. The apps created can be used on android or iOS devices.
Obviously, TruEdit and Twixl are specialized tools for the niche market of large publications. But, if you're in that market, it looks like an excellent system to use.
Farthest Attendee Prize Winner
Mighty Deals—William Gunn
Raffle Prize Winners
TruEdit Complete. Value $3450.00—Rick Torres
Twixl Publisher Multi-Issue app. Value $2190.00—DeShawn Burton
Twixl Publisher Classic app. Value $850.00—Robin Schiff
eDocker CREATE! 6 month subscription. Value $774.00—Robin Schiff
Stock Layouts. Full access to Stock Layout template library. 3 month subscription. Value $299.00—Rick Torres
Markzware. FlightCheck. 12 month subscription. Value $199.00—Rick Torres
Expo Creative Asset Manager for Mac from Insider Software. Value $149.00—Connie Schurr
Font Agent Pro 7 from Insider Software. Value $99.95—William Gunn
InMotion Hosting. Web hosting and free domain. Value $90.00—Robin Schiff
DTP Tools Cloud for InDesign. 6 month subscription. $77.40—Robin Schiff
Adobe Stock. 15 image licenses. $44.00—Angela DeLeon
InDesign Magazine. 6 month subscription. Value $30.00—Angela DeLeon
Pluralsight. 1 month subscription. Value $29.00—Monica Kollman, Rick Torres
LA Web Professionals Group meeting tickets. Value $7.99—Florence Merl, Rick Torres