WoodWing Software (news, site) just updated their Smart Catalog productivity plugins. The tool, which is used for the rapid distribution of publications that rely on external data (TV guides, price lists, etc.) can now utilize the formatting power of Adobe inDesign and InCopy.
Goodbye Copy/Paste, Hello Filtering
By connecting an InDesign layout to a database, the desired information can be published and updated without manual copy-and-paste work. Meanwhile, Smart Catalog users can filter with the tool in order to extract only the information they want, while complex formatting is just a few clicks away.
"We wanted our customers to be able to completely automate the tedious production of data-rich documents," said Erik Schut, President of WoodWing Software. "Producing this kind of publication is usually very time-consuming and error-prone. When automating this process, precise control over filtering and formatting of the published data is crucial. This is where Smart Catalog and its new formatting rules come into play."
The New Rules
Filters for the precise selection of data are created using formatting rules. The data can come from either a plain text file, XML or ODBC source, or WoodWing’s own enterprise publishing system. Following selection, the set rules define how to present and format this data, using InDesign features such as character styles.
WoodWing Smart Catalog formatting rules
Obviously, the more rules combined into a rule set, the more control over the final output a user has. In other cool news, the same set of options are available when placing images.
"This precise control is also of major importance to customers that use Smart Catalog in conjunction with Enterprise, our publishing system," Schut continued. "Imagine the amount of structured data that will be published when creating a TV guide. Programs, different channels, days of the week, sections and special characters - such as for ratings - have their own formatting and colors. This can all be poured into the design automatically now, once the formatting rules are in place. That changes the creation process profoundly."
You've Got Choices
WoodWing's got different version of Smart Catalog, depending on customer needs. The standard version of the plugin supports comma-separated files (.cvs). Smart Catalog Pro comes with the Smart Styles and Smart Layout plugins for additional automation, as well as support for ODBC, XML, and scripting. And last but certainly not least, the Enterprise version offers the whole package, as well as an integration with WoodWing's Enterprise Publishing system, offering nifty database publishing capabilities to the big guys.
Check out additional information (including pricing) here.