Ode to XPP

Hello XPP friends and family!

As some of you know, I was separated from SDL 9 months ago. In my new role, I have had to go to the dark side, and am using InDesign. While InDesign is perfectly fine software, it's not XPP! Oh, how I wish I had XPP. Once you've experienced what XPP can do (and this is in regard to the automated and repeated page layouts that most of us produce), nothing else is truly acceptable. It's often said, and I have said it myself, that XPP has a steep learning curve, but I have come to the conclusion that InDesign and other powerful desktop software has a similar learning curve, just different. I have probably spent close to the equivalent of a week of XPP training doing online searches and tests to achieve some of the effects we probably take for granted in XPP. Some just can't be done. For instance, all that you can do with pickups, running heads and text registers, table formats, numbering, page numbers and keeps to name just a few things. And that doesn't even brush the surface of conditionals! For the most part, with XPP, you set up these things and you just *know* it will work, and you don't have to keep going back to pages with your fingers crossed that something didn't go wonky.

If the learning curve is comparable, what else gets in the way of an XPP for everyone? Well, there is that little issue of price. And then there is the need to use structured markup (e.g., XML). In organizations with smaller scopes, these are significant obstacles. I find myself musing about an XPP time-share, or dare I say "open source XPP"!

One has to have dreams!

Best to all. Laurie Hagar