Pro Pack Module

For the True Power User

Specialized utilities, and custom Rule Action support using JavaScript

When we designed the list of available Rule Actions for DesignMerge we came up with a standard set of Actions that we felt would be the most popular and commonly used. Everyone uses the Set Data to… Action, and the Apply Master Page… Action, but of course we couldn’t imagine all of the things our customers would eventually want to do during a merge.

So we have introduced the Pro Pack module to allow users to develop their own custom Rule Actions. Basically, the Pro Pack module serves to expose a set of special programming routines that can be use to totally customize your DesignMerge functionality. All custom Actions are developed using JavaScript (a/k/a Adobe InDesign ExtendScript), and can be triggered by any DesignMerge Rule.


For Example…

Adjust Width of Custom Book Spine: One client for a custom book publication needed to adjust the width of the spine for a variable book cover based on the number of pages in the book. Each data record held the information for a different book cover, including the number of pages. The customer developed a custom Action for this purpose using the Pro Pack. During the merge, the custom Action was triggered each time the spine frame was about to be processed. The custom Action read the number of pages from the data field, did a quick calculation, then adjusted the width of the spine box, and returned control to DesignMerge to continue processing.

Change Color of Text Frame with Pantone Color: Another client needed to change the background color of a label frame by reading the specific Pantone color to use from a data field. During the merge, the custom Action was triggered each time this specific label frame was processed. It read the Pantone Color from the data field, applied the color swatch to the frame, and returned control to DesignMerge to continue processing.

These are just a couple of examples of how clients have utilized the Pro Pack.


Helpful Utilities

In addition to the ability to develop custom Actions, the Pro Pack includes a set of pre-built utility functions that have been integrated with DesignMerge software, and are designed for performing various variable data tasks. These Pro Pack functions can be used with any version of DesignMerge, and represent a very powerful set of tools for specific VDP applications. Each module in the Pro Pack is described below.

Advanced Title Case Conversion
This module performs advanced title case conversion on any variable text string being imported. The module handles simple initial case conversion (JOHN JONES becomes John Jones), but also has a built-in table for handing more complex names, which is nice for the McCormick’s and MacDonald’s of the world! Source code is included, so you can add other title case scenarios if you need to.
Multi-Page Text Flow
DesignMerge already supports the flow of variable text across pages in a document, but what about those records that do not include enough text to span to the second page? In most instances, it is sometimes desirable to exclude that second page from the print run. This module assists in the process by automatically detecting such text flows, and marking the page for omission from the variable print stream. The custom Action is triggered by a Frame Rule during processing. Source code is included.
Price Parsing Module
Many of the variable jobs encountered by DesignMerge involve variable pricing information. This module provides a method for selectively grabbing just a portion of a particular price. For example, if a client has “2 for 1” pricing, this module allows them to selectively merge just the ‘2’ and the ‘1’ portion of the data independently, allowing for precise styling of this data after import. The price parser module handles many common retail scenarios, including standard pricing and percent-off pricing. Provided in binary format (no source code), but we can send you a few great examples.

Additional Code Samples

To help get you going, we also provide the full JavaScript source code to several other Custom Actions. These samples will show you the basics of how to communicate with DesignMerge, examine the data being processed, modify the data, apply changes to the document, and return new data to DesignMerge for processing. We also provide code to assist in other utility functions such as the ability to scan for and locate DesignMege placeholders in a document.


This Does Not Compute

Don’t know (and have no interest in learning) how to code using ExtendScript? Not a problem. Just give us a call and we would be happy to discuss your project and work up a custom DesignMerge Action, just for you!