Adobe's InDesign?

Subject: Adobe's InDesign?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 08:45:36 -0400

Keith Posner wonders: <<Has anyone had experience of Adobe's InDesign as a
DTP tool? Is it suitable for developing user documentation (ie longish book
style documents)? Does it suit a single-sourcing strategy for print, online
and web-based documents? Does it have any clear advantages over other
established DTP tools? Are there any disadvantages?>>

>From all I've read, and my discussions with local printers, InDesign is
basically still suffering from major version 1 headaches even though it's up
to about v.1.5 now. It has enormously powerful graphical design tools, but
no integrated text editor worth mentioning, and the planned editing and book
management plug-in was not ready last I checked (and will probably suffer
badly from version 1-itis when it is finally released); until that plug-in
arrives, it's doubtful you could easily handle large or complex text-heavy
books with the software. There were also no indexing or TOC tools last I
looked (not sure about the TOC part). ID has the best type-handling tools
available on the desktop (i.e., outside of the big dedicated typesetting
systems, and perhaps even better than them too), and marvelous integration
of graphical tools, but all our local printers have warned us to stay well
clear of it. They're still tearing their hair out trying to debug all the
problems they're having with output--and that after more than a year. I've
heard nothing about using InDesign for single-sourcing, other than that it
should integrate tightly with Acrobat, but I'd distrust it for Web-based
materials--and of course, you can't use it to generate help systems.

Oh yeah... don't even bother to order a demo if you don't have a fast
machine with lots of memory; I believe the minimum requirements are a fast
G3 Mac or a comparably equipped PC.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is
by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause
accidents."-- Nathaniel Borenstein


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