The light at the end of the tunnel...

lunde's picture

What a long ride it has been.

I started the process of revising my 1,128-page CJKV Information Processing by signing the contract with O'Reilly Media in April of 2007, and actual work started on August 5th, 2007, by working on Chapter 3. I moved to Chapter 4 on December 31st, 2007. Next was Chapter 6 on January 26th of this year. These are the three chapters that are the longest, over 100 pages each. I completed all chapters and appendixes at the end of July, and delivered the book to O'Reilly Media on August 1st for technical review. Comments and suggestions were incorporated by the end of September, and the book was then copyedited. I finished incorporating copyedit changes at the end of October. This entire month is being used to build the index. I am doing this by setting index markers throughout the book.

This morning, the book stands at 880 pages. That includes 26 pages of front matter, 728 pages for its twelve chapters, and the rest are for appendixes and other material. That figure includes the index to date, which is 14 pages. The index is expected to grow another 10 to 20 pages before I am done.

I used Adobe FrameMaker to write and typeset First Edition, which was published at the end of 1998. Given that I use Mac OS X as my OS on a machine that uses an Intel processor, that application was no longer viable for Second Edition. I decided to use Adobe InDesign CS3-J (the Japanese version is used because I need access to the Japanese-specific typographic controls).

While the table support in Adobe InDesign has come a long way, it still has a way to go. I had to develop a workaround for table notes, and tables that span pages cannot include a convenient " (continued)" in the title on subsequent pages.

The lack of page number references means that I cannot refer to other sections of the book by page number.

I am currently tackling the index. While setting of the markers is fairly easy, and many of the controls and options are superb, some of the things that FrameMaker could do, such as setting begin and end markers that result in page ranges, and the ability to specify character tags for the text associated with the markers, cannot be done.

All in all, I am very pleased with how Adobe InDesign has worked out. Its typographic controls are unmatched. Of course, there are some areas that still need attention, mostly related to book or long-document publishing. I hope that my experiences, after having been relayed to the InDesgn team, will help to make it a better product through appropriate enhancements.

The book is scheduled to go to press on December 12th. See: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596514471/

Now, back to the index…

Comments

jslabovitz's picture

I'm interested to hear more of your thoughts on those ‘areas that still need attention.’ I've never laid out anything as large as your project, nor something as technical (most of my projects have been prose or poetry), but I, too, have run up against limitations in InDesign that relate to book layout. I have a back-burner project to build a better book-design application, and am keeping notes on interesting ideas, architectures, etc.

--John

colaboy's picture

For xrefs in CS2-3 a to me untested but well spoken about plugin is available here. Are you using the book feature? If so, have a look at this if the index is not behaving.

lunde's picture

Yes, I am using the book feature. I am also aware of the known indexing bug, but the version I am using is not affected by it.

The index broke 25 pages this morning, and at this point I am having a hard time adding more to it. I am clearly on track to deliver it to O'Reilly Media for review on Friday. The Index Panel of InDesign is great, and represents a convenient way to see the index information for the entire book, or for specific chapters (files). My only complaint there is whenever something is done in the Index Panel, any open topics are closed.

Dr. Ken Lunde
Senior Computer Scientist, CJKV Type Development
Adobe Systems Incorporated
lunde@adobe.com

Monoecus's picture

I think you should definitely use LaTeX with XeLaTeX as a compiler.

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