Teamwork, for loops, and IDML

Well, with some help from the materials coordinator, I was able to break down my crazy Extendscript task into something a lot more manageable – constructing a for loop that he would then pair up with some Extendscript to swap out the Edufont characters with text variables in FrameMaker.  Teamwork makes things a lot less scary, when it comes to unknown programming languages!

I did get to strengthen my Javascript skills a little bit, thankfully, and refreshed my knowledge on for loops and tinkered with some math.  Some of it was just guessing at what might work, and trying to run it to see if I’d get any results – I started with a simple script that would just look through an array of variables, and print them out in pairs, two at a time, until it hit the end of the list.  And it worked! Below is a condensed version of the script.

var eduFontPair = [];
eduFontPair[0] = ‘«’
eduFontPair[1] = ‘xAlt’
eduFontPair[2] = ‘„’
eduFontPair[3] = ‘xArrowRight’
eduFontPair[4] = ‘´’
eduFontPair[5] = ‘xArrowUp’

var i = 0;

while (i < 6) {
console.log (eduFontPair[i], eduFontPair[i+1]);
i = i + 2;
} ;

Yesterday I figured out how to open up an IDML (InDesign Markup Language) file and see what’s inside!  I needed to use oXygen XML editor to do it, but once I popped it open, I was able to see all sorts of XML files used by InDesign to govern the appearance and layout of an InDesign document.  It was pretty exciting to see what goes on behind the scenes in an IDML file.

My next task actually involves some quality time with InDesign: I’m taking the handful of sets of materials that still exist in InDesign format and will be working to migrate them to FrameMaker.  It’s a process that I doubt can be automated – but it will give me plenty of experience working with different file formats, as well as digital publishing techniques.

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