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Subject: Re: InDesign typography advantage [Was: Re: [docbook-apps] DocBook and InDesign]

Hi Ivan,
to further clarify, I am not advocating that InDesign is better than
FO. I am just trying to introduce docbook based production workflows
in traditional publishing houses where the use of XPress/Indesign is
very common.

Here are the main complaints I hear from clients when I show them
their books converted to docbook and typesetted using FO.

#1 (by far the most common).
We are used to change interactively our layouts and see the results
before producing the PDFs.
Example: if we need to move a table or a figure to the top of a recto
page, we are used to use the mouse. We hate adding a <?dbfo-need
height="2cm"?> in the xml and running an XSLT from oxygen just to see
if the table/figure has been moved (and to verify what has happened in
the following pages)

We hate seeing in print the last line of a full justified para with
just a few characters (say less than 4). In InDesign/Xpress we just
change the track and we are done. With your FO stuff we cannot even
change the track of a single word.

We hate having to add a <?line-break?> in the XML just to have a soft
return in the PDF (see #1).

If a figure does not fit in the layout, we are used to just resize it
interactively in inDesign/Xpress

We need the flexibility to change small details in tables layout on a
table by table basis

The horizontal full justification algorithm used by the typesetting
engine leaves too much space between adjacent words

The vertical justification functionalities available in FO are quite
poor and/or not flexible enough (things should get better with XSL

We would like to have the total printed page count without the need of an XSLT

The idea of automatic typesetting from XML is very attractive, but we
need also the flexibility of our DTP applications. We cannot afford to
have to call an XML software engineer just to have our Index strarting
on the verso page because we need to eliminate a recto/verso pair to
close the book on a multiple of 32 pages

Your single source-multiple output format workflow is wonderful, but
we cannot afford to change completely the way our staff works to
produc our paper based books.

The final result is that we usually end up with two workflows: one for
paper output (inDesign based) and one for the digital versions (XML
based). A robust docbook/inDesign roundtripping solution would then
add, IMHO, a tremendous value to the whole idea of single sourcing in
the traditional publishing market.

For what the differences between Antenna House formatter and FOP are
concerned, here are a few points worth mentioning:

1. AH can output PDF/X and other widely used variations of these
standards. You can also generate PDF metadata and bookmarks
2. in my experience, FOP does not work well with complex footnotes
(i.e. footnotes containing indexterm entries)
2. AH can hypenate in many languages out of the box
3. AH has some nice FO extensions for generating crop marks
4. AH has some extensions for producing better indexes (avoid page
number repetitions, page ranges and so on)

I may be wrong, but this is my experience in real life scenarios.



On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 3:25 PM, Ivan Ristic <ivan.ristic@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 10:52 AM, Giuseppe Bonelli
> <peppo.bonelli@gmail.com> wrote:
>> ...
> Hi Giuseppe,
>> I will definitely have to do some work on this as I have some clients
>> who are not confortable with the typographycal quality you can
>> actually get with FO, even using the AntennaHouse formatter, and
>> therefore need a path going from DB to InDesign.
> Out of interest, what typographic features do your clients seek in
> InDesign that are not in FOP? To clarify, I am not asking how InDesign
> is better :)
> Also, in what ways is Antenna House's processor better than others (e.g., FOP)?
> --
> Ivan Ristic
> ModSecurity Handbook [http://www.modsecurityhandbook.com]
> SSL Labs [https://www.ssllabs.com/ssldb/]

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