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
Thank you for taking the time to send this ode to XPP.
(strangely enough 'ode' with exactly the same meaning is exactly the same word in Dutch)
Very good to hear all of this. When using XPP all the time, one tends to take things for granted. And they are not...
But you said the limiting factor for the spreading of this wonderful product is price.Now you dream about an open source version, but I strongly believe that there is a big market opportunity for a stripped down version of the XPP product (in my this product is called SDL PdfMaker) that competes in the same price range as Indesign Server or Antenna House or Prince XML or .... Because of the inherent capabilities of the XPP software would win in this market every time somebody is looking for a product that can turn his XML or HTML into PDF
Oh and if you wonder what I mean by 'stripped' down here is a how I perceive things (again in my head):
This is (and has always been) a bit of a personal dream about the future of XPP.For many many years I have been talking with various people at SDL and Xyvision about creating an (what I called) XPP Light.I think that now the time has come to really do this.If this does not happen, we will continue to see a continuing reduced interest in XPP until it finally fades out and becomes no longer commercially viable.
If I had something to say about the future direction of this marvelous product, this would be the direction I would take!(unfortunately I having no say in those things...)
Oh and one last thing: we miss you Laurie and I am sure that you miss all of us!
This is probably something that SDL "management" is very well aware of, but we (all) face the challenges of limited time/money/resources.
Maybe this would be a good candidate for one of you to enter an Idea on the SDL XPP Ideas page.
That way other customers (and SDL) can comment and vote on it.