At the Adobe MAX 2009 conference, one of the coolest sessions I attended was “Creating an eBook for Distribution on Sony Reader Digital Book, Amazon Kindle, and Apple iPhone” by Colin Fleming. The recording is online, among the many sessions available through the MAX 2009 Conference Scheduler. Colin’s blog post on the subject includes sample files.
Now this is quite cool, given a manual workflow. Just one problem… our company never wants to do anything manually, we want to automate everything. So on the surface, it appeared that we could probably just do this using InDesign Server, at least the export to Digital Editions. However, no such luck.
Therefore, in order to automate this, one would have to guess the parameters to pass to the scripts. No documentation, and no source for the scripts, is yet available from Adobe. Why did they even put these scripts into the InDesign Server application? It is only usable from the desktop application, and only from the UI.
Olav Kvern was quick to tell me that he will help correct this problem. I look forward to seeing either source for the scripts or at least documentation on how to run them from code. Then we will be half way there in fully automating conversion to Kindle: of course the setup of source InDesign documents is important, too.
The other half is figuring out how to automate the step that Calibre takes care of in the process. At least that is open source.
I am thrilled that Adobe builds parts of InDesign with scripting: we have long maintained that scripting should be a first-class citizen with C++, and this proves our point. But they should not abandon the extensibility and complete exposure to automation that make InDesign and InDesign Server the first-class tools that they are.