Here and there is a debate on a topic like "web to print" or "export content to InDesign" etc. but nothing to ready to use or suitable customizable modules can not be found. I think this topic must be of interest to many who are dealing with both the web (Drupal CMS) and print (DTP, InDesign) issues. Can anyone give a hint how do I solve this challenge?

I have started a site building with Drupal. The aim is to put on the Drupal site a lot of product data (text, images, PDF and DXF file attachments), and I would like the ability to export this content to the InDesign layout. So method will be a "web to print". I need to mapping text styles to InDesign character and paragraph styles, maybe even mapping also to InDesign object styles. It will be a bonus if the data between InDesign and Drupal are able to synchronize. But this is not necessary, I can live without this feature ;-)

P.S. I am new here and with Drupal. I have about 20 years experience for DTP (DeskTop Publishing) and web projects. I served industries companies with their needs in print & web projects. I am familiar with Adobe's DTP softwares like InDesign.


WorldFallz’s picture

The problem here is browser and DTP goals are diametrically opposed. The web strives to make one design adapt to multiple devices ('responsive', 'mobile friendly') which is exactly the opposite goal of DTP (pixel perfect layout). I don't see any possible ROI being worth it frankly.

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Ezer’s picture

I try explain more specifically:
Here's a question to transfer content, not dimensions, not layout, from Drupal to layout sofware (Like InDesign or QuarXpress). So it does not matter what kind of design or layout of the web page is it, or whether to lay out a responsive etc. or not. Only the content is a matter and mapping styles (html tags & some CSS styles) from Drupal to InDesign.

In addition to exporting a content, we must to do style mapping between the Drupal and the InDesign. So what is (example) a header text in Drupal must still be a header text in InDesign layout and so on. So we need mapping Drupal styles to InDesign styles.

I think that maybe export content from Drupal to XML is one way to do this.

drupalaar’s picture

Hi, Esa,

Are you are still trying to make Drupal and Indesign work together? I am setting up a workflow where content is edited in Drupal books, exported to XML and imported/formatted in InDesign.
I can export my Drupal content to XML, but am stuck in InDesign. Maybe you have more experience in InDesign?

I am following this procedure:

Should be simple, but the Map Tags to Styles menu option is missing in my InDesign copy. Does this procedure work for you?


crych’s picture

I wonder if ickmull would be a useful tool here. It converts XHTM to InCopy Markup Language (ICML), which can be opened in InDesign. I'm not sure that any work has been done on it since 2011.

Sam Moore’s picture

Ezer, I have a similar background to your - 25 years as studio rat/production manager/creative services guy for ad agencies.

The kind of thing you describe is supported to a certain extent by some expensive, enterprise level document creation engines such as Pageflex etc. There's a trade show called Print on Demand where a lot of these solutions are shown. Generally the business case is to allow potential customers of a print shop to design their own documents in a web browser, usually using a template, and output hi-res PDF suitable for prepress workflow.
This is not a trivial problem to solve, and a whole industry has grown up around it - mostly geared toward marketers and publishers who need to allow users (franchisees, salesforce, direct mailers) to control their document creation.

For InDesign output specifically, there is actually the Adobe InDesign Server - a headless multi-threaded version of InDesign that has an API. Last time I checked, the API was written in Javascript, but it's been over 5 years.
I believe this is also available as a cloud service:

Integrators use AI Server coupled with their own front-end to do what you describe - take design information such as layout and typography choices from a browser and translate that into an InDesign document. This is also not trivial.
The most successful integration I know of is the one by iBrams, which ties into their whole enterprise-level brand management product suite.

If you really need to do this, I think you can still get a developer license for AI Server free or cheap and learn the API; but I'd make sure there was some serious interest from a paying client first. People have spent years on this.

For more attainable solutions, look at integrating with a PDF creation library such as wkhtmltopdf. You could bypass AI entirely if all you want is PDf output.

I must say I walked away from this whole market several years ago after being a Pageflex developer for a while; I think the non-enterprise market won't support the amount of effort needed, and the enterprise market is dedicated to expensive and proprietary closed-source solutions. But if you disagree, tally ho :-)