What is the best way to publish a part catalog to both print and web?
November 9, 2007 11:32 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to publish a part catalog for printing and the web?

Here is what our data looks like:

* Over 10,000 part numbers (Parts are categorized by family/subfamily/series)
* Hundreds of part drawings (in EPS and GIF)
* Parts are added/edited/deleted frequently

Currently, we have a giant InDesign file were all of the data is "hard-coded" into it. Likewise, our website is hard-coded (no database backend). The main difference is that the pictures are in vector (EPS) on the InDesign file and GIF on the website.

I'm thinking that a database should be at the core of both of these publications so that we can update one location instead of two. If this is the case, what is the best software to link a print publishing program (such as InDesign) up to a database? The closest thing I've found is Corel Ventura. If a database isn't the solution, what other options do I have?

posted by colecovizion to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
At work we have an in-house tool that allows us to create pdf's dynamically either from scratch or using an indesign document as a template. I'm pretty sure it's a wrapper for indesign that allows it to be automated and data driven. I bet we could whip up a great web based system for maintaining your catalog, maybe even quickly and cheaply since we've built similar systems before.

If you want to code it yourself ActivePDF toolkit is a handy library. It's not as flexible as indesign but if you don't need to have full control of all typical typesetting parameters it'll do the trick.
posted by waxboy at 12:15 PM on November 9, 2007

This might be a useful tool once you decide on a database or you might need a complete publishing system.

Also, what's your budget? Mac or PC? What other software do you use in conjunction with the catalog?

What you're talking about is a radically different way of doing of working and will require some careful thought and preparation, so do a lot researach.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:15 PM on November 9, 2007

Thanks for the replies everyone. We're on PC. As far as budget, we're just trying to figure out what's involved first.

We're not really into coding it ourselves or having someone create it, but thanks for the offer waxboy.

To me, it seems like anyone who has a catalog would need this type of functionality. I'm surprised Adobe or Quark hasn't already built this in!
posted by colecovizion at 1:05 PM on November 9, 2007

It's not built in because most people DON'T need it, that's one it's usually available as an Xtension or Plugin. Also, what's needed is a database and then a bridge to get Indesign to work with that database. Doing it by hand can cause workers to kill or be committed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:25 PM on November 9, 2007

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