DATAform Add-on FAQ
DATAformXTension for QuarkXPress
DATAformPlugin for InDesign
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|Which database can work with a DATAform Add-on?
Any database that is able to parse and compose a complex string. There is a special interface for the database 4D (www.4D.com) which makes communication with a DATAform Add-on very easy. For other databases than 4D the routines are included as text files and may be used as a coding example for the environment of your choice.
What must my database learn in order to communicate with QuarkXPress or InDesign?
The DATAform-4D-interface supplies the database with three new commands only to carry out all main operations: DX_Write, DX_Read and DX_Message. DX_Write transfers a box to the layout program, DX_Read reads a box exported from QuarkXPress or InDesign, DX_Message sends a command to the layout program, e.g. "IMPORT", waits for the answer and parses it for you.
How can I create a box in the layout program with my database?
Fill the DX_Array with the properties that your box should have and call DX_Write. Then, in your layout program, you call the menu command “Import boxes” or the database sends an import-command by DX_Message.
Can I create several boxes in one single step?
Certainly, as many as you want. The quantity is limited by a reasonable size of the layout document.
Can I produce complete catalogues by merely pressing a button?
Sometimes it is possible. But many catalogues are not well enough structured for it. In this case the database supplies the necessary material which has been produced in the network onto the layout page. And the designer shapes the more or less preformed objects. This flexibility is one of the outstanding features of the DATAform approach.
Can I make modifications in QuarkXPress or InDesign and write them back into the database?
Yes, of course. When exporting from your layout program you receive all specifications of boxes and their contents. The designer´s work can flow back into the database as well and be at your disposal for the next catalogue.
Are character attributes of texts conserved while importing into the database?
The DATAform Add-on offers a checkbox “Include XPressTags” and “Include InDesignTags” respectively. With this preference also all character attributes and style sheets are exported and all modifications are conserved.
In many cases a different solution is the attribution of styles to the corresponding data fields, which means the handling of text formats by the database.
What are DATAformTags and XPressTags or InDesignTags?
DATAformTags describe the entire box properties like type, position, color, angle, frame and so on.
With XPressTags and InDesignTags you define the character and paragraph specifications of a text within a box like “bold” or a paragraph style.
With DATAformTags you describe or create the box itself the text of the box may be formated by XPressTags or InDesignTags again.
|Which box specifications can be defined and which ones do I receive?
Size and position, type of box, box ID, background colour, gutter, frame and runaround specifications, box angle and skew, scale picture, box character attributes, group boxes, page and section number, text, path to picture etc. altogether 80 specifications mostly in both directions.
How can the database match boxes with records?
The database marks any box placed in QuarkXPress or InDesign with a specific, invisible number. Thus each box and each picture can be called by the database. It can be updated or re-imported into the database.
What happens if I update a text box and the new text does not fit in the box any more?
The DATAform Add-on adjusts the box height, if desired, automatically to the new text length.
Can I import existing layout documents into the database?
Yes, but it does not always make sense. Boxes in QuarkXPress or InDesign don´t have a logical nexus; for the layout program a text and two picture boxes do not form an entity. But a database should handle all elements of an article module as a whole. These connections have to be established in the layout document first and then you can execute the export. The DATAform Add-on helps you doing this by a Auto-numbering function of selected boxes.
Can I use DATAform Add-on cross platform?
Yes. DATAform may be used fully cross platform. A DATAformTags file can be generated in one world and processed in the other one.
What picture formats does the DATAform Add-on support?
All those that are supported by the layout program. You only hand over a path to a picture. The picture is loaded then in the same way as it is placed manually in QuarkXPress or InDesign.
Does a DATAform Add-on use Apple Events?
No, it doesn´t. As an add-on it directly co-operates with QuarkXPress or InDesign. The layout programs can be remote controled by DATAform´s own message interface, under MacOS, Windows and cross platform.
Can you further process and print an automatically produced document even without DATAform Add-on?
Yes, you can. All QuarkXPress or InDesign functions are at your disposal. There is no difference to a hand-made-document.
Is DATAform Add-on a new product?
No. DATAformXTension for QuarkXPress has been existing since 1990, and it has already produced a great number of catalogues and other prepress documents.
DATAformPlugin for InDesign is shipping since 2006. It is complete porting of the approved DATAform technology.
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