For our May event, we were delighted to have Scott Russell join us to host a workshop, giving a little insight into some digital tips and tricks for the publishing industry.
On top of working with the University of Stirling’s MLitt, Scott is also an Adobe Certified Expert, working in training, publishing and design.
What the evening entailed was an introduction to structured data, XML and InDesign XML features. For the hands-on parts, we worked with Data Merge and examining, importing, viewing, editing and troubleshooting XML.
But what’s the difference between HTML and XML? XML itself doesn’t do anything, it’s not a language you can do anything with, it doesn’t make anything happen; it just describes stuff, but doesn’t do anything with it. HTML was built to allow web browsers to display content and it can be a bit general in terms of describing what the content is, XML just describes content but can do it in very specific detail. HTML is a set of predefined tags that you must learn how to use, with XML, you can make up your own as long as you are precise and consistent.
But why use XML?
- It simplifies data sharing: easily understood definitions
- It simplifies data transport: it uses plain text format
- It simplifies platform changes: allows data to be migrated easily
- It simplifies data availability: it can be interpreted by humans and software alike
Those in attendance got a crash course into the world of XML and the capabilities of InDesign for publishing, and you can too. Here are Scott’s recommended resources for those looking to further their skills in the field:
- A Designer’s Guide to Adobe InDesign and XML by James J. Maivald. Adobe Press. Published in 2007 but still relevant – a step by step self-teach course in all aspects of using XML with InDesign.
- Adobe’s XML help pages.
A massive thank you to Scott for hosting this event, and for those who joined us!