Architecting the future of BR on the web

At Cronen-Townsend Consulting, I am building the back-end of a new web site for the Boston Review using the Open Source content management framework Drupal. The site will incorporate current standard features, like a block showing the most recent comments, sharing with all popular social-network sites, and a block showing today's most popular content.

How to tell Ads from Photos and other Images

When I was a child my great Aunt Cornelia gave me a copy of Robert Williams Wood's How to tell the Birds from the Flowers: And Other Woodcuts. The joke behind every poem and illustration is the same - you can't. Check out Amazon's cover shot to see that a Pansy looks very much like a Chim-pansy, for example. In writing the package of JavaScripts that parses the InDesign files for an entire issue of the Boston Review into the files needed to upload all of the issue's content into the new Drupal-based web site I am building for them, I was faced with a very similar question: How do you tell an ad from a photo?.

Modular programming for InDesign JavaScripts using ExtendScript

The focus of the Boston Review is its print edition. So one task in creating their new web site has been creating an automated system for parsing the InDesign files that lay out an issue of the print edition, and creating the files needed to post the entire issue, if they desire, to their new web site.

The best answer to this task is clearly not one huge script, but a collection of smaller scripts that call one another, pass variables, and share one common log file (for my own sanity when debugging). In this article, I list some of the issues I have overcome in setting up such a collection of JavaScript files, rather than one enormous JavaScript, to script InDesign CS2.

Robust File-writing from InDesign JavaScripts

Recently I've been scripting InDesign with JavaScript to parse an entire issue of the print version of the Boston Review and produce the files needed for the new Drupal site I am building for them.

After getting oriented in the Adobe ExtendScript scripting environment, I found that outputting all my debugging print statements to the JavaScript console with $.write() was really slowing things down. Since I was going to have to write files eventually anyway, I was thrilled to find Dave Saunder's code for logging from InDesign JavaScripts. Using this logging function sped up my code greatly versus writing everything to the console.

CTC at DrupalConSF 2010

The upcoming DrupalCon in San Francisco from April 19-21, 2010 will be my first. I'm thrilled to return to the West Coast as a Drupal developer, having fond memories of the Human Language Technologies 2002 conference in San Diego (as a computer scientist) and the Materials Research Society's Spring meetings in San Francisco in the mid-90's (as a physicist).

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