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Old 07-28-2005, 07:41 PM   #1
casper
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Default Help with automation of pix and text import in Quark

I'm new to this forum, and quasi-inexperienced in automation but have been interested from the start. To date myself--I started as a typesetter in 1987 using Bestinfo (I'll fall over if anyone's ever heard of Bestinfo--we used to joke that the job market for Bestinfo operators was very good because although there were only 3 Bestinfo stations in the world, there were only 2 operators, but I digress) with XYWrite the fabulous text editor and Blueberry the translation program. I have a lot of questions but will stick to the one about my current problem:

We do about 6000 name badges every couple of months. I made a Quark (6.5) layout for badges, 10 up on a page and have a semi-automatic routine I go through to translate the Excel file we receive with names and divisions into XPress tagged text for import. This has worked well. We now need to add photos to the badges and this has me out researching, which is how I discovered this forum.

I am not sure which avenue to pursue for this: 1) purchase XData or XTags (and which one?) 2) auto import photos somehow (how??) in one pass, then import tagged text as usual hoping text and photos will match up 3) most elegant solution but is it possible and how?: figure out how to write something that will cue the appropriate photo import each time a name and division are brought in via XPress tags or 4) something I haven't thought of because I don't know the scope of what's available for automation.

Thanks in advance for thoughts or ideas.

casper
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Old 07-29-2005, 03:24 AM   #2
Shane Stanley
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Oh, I remember hearing and reading about Bestinfo.

Really, either Xdata or Xtags will probably do what you want. You can download and try out the demo versions; the only restriction is the number of records you can import.

If you're familiar with XPress tags, Xtags might be the way to go. But there's a lot of overlap in capabilities between the two products.

The other option, if you're on a Mac, is to automate it all via AppleScript, with or without Xtags/Xdata.

Shane
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Old 07-29-2005, 04:39 AM   #3
casper
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Thanks for replying. I am on a Mac. Other than looking at it in passing and saying gee, I'd like to learn how to do that, I haven't touched Applescript. Do I start with the Danny Goodman book or is there some other book? What would be the first step in starting my project? Are there sample scripts out there I can use? Would it still incorporate my XPress tags system or is this starting anew? Our first set of photo badges is coming right up so I probably have to figure something out in the interim, then work on a more long-term solution via Applescript.

-casper
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casper
… I started as a typesetter in 1987 using Bestinfo (I'll fall over if anyone's ever heard of Bestinfo--we used to joke that the job market for Bestinfo operators was very good because although there were only 3 Bestinfo stations in the world, there were only 2 operators, but I digress) with XYWrite the fabulous text editor and Blueberry the translation program.
Bestinfo got a lot of press in Seybold Reports and other trade rags of the late 80s and 90s, so I have definitely heard of it. Never laid eyes on it, that I can recall (maybe at a trade show but not in real life).

As for XYWrite, I have a friend who is still passionate about it. I wish I had seen that one, actually.

Never mind about dating yourself, btw. We have serious oldtimers here. I started out as a designer in the 1960s and moonlighted as a typesetter on IBM Composer systems in the 1970s.

Good luck with your automation project.

   
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:28 PM   #5
Stephen Owades
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You could probably do the name badge project with either XTags or XData. I'd recommend XData, which allows you to build a prototype--a sort of fancy mail-merge document--and then import a delimited file (which you can export easily from Excel) to build the final Quark document. The file name for each photo can be in a column in the Excel file--a field in the database--and the pictures can be imported and scaled automatically by XData.

I've done projects much like this one for consulting clients using XData, and if you need help I'll be happy to take a look. First try downloading the demo and manual for XData and see how it feels. Your prior experience with code-driven typesetting will help.
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Old 07-29-2005, 11:14 PM   #6
Shane Stanley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casper
Thanks for replying. I am on a Mac. Other than looking at it in passing and saying gee, I'd like to learn how to do that, I haven't touched Applescript. Do I start with the Danny Goodman book or is there some other book? What would be the first step in starting my project? Are there sample scripts out there I can use? Would it still incorporate my XPress tags system or is this starting anew? Our first set of photo badges is coming right up so I probably have to figure something out in the interim, then work on a more long-term solution via Applescript.
Goodman is a good place to start (it's where I started). But given your time constraints, I'd suggest you start by looking at Xdata; it's probably the method that will get results for you quickest.

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Old 08-01-2005, 06:31 PM   #7
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Thank you all. I am off to experiment with XData. I will let you know how it goes.

-Casper
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Old 08-02-2005, 11:26 AM   #8
Howard White
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"Serious oldtimer" checking in. I not only saw Bestinfo in action but went to their offices in suburban Philadelphia and spent some quality time with Jim Bessen, the founder/pres.

They were later swallowed by Intergraph. Who knows what happened after that...

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Old 08-02-2005, 07:26 PM   #9
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Now I know I'm in the right place. This makes me remember that I too went to Bestinfo headquarters with a co-worker for training in their Tablemaking, uh, extension, for lack of a better word. There was also a User Group in NYC at the time, which was prevailed upon by Bestinfo not to use the obvious acronym . . . I forget what we called ourselves instead.
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