Creating new plug-ins with the Dolly command line tool

Dolly is a Java application for generating new InDesign plug-in projects. It is included with the Plug-in SDK.

Dolly has a simple user interface, but it can also be used from the command line. The user interface version of Dolly has a limited number of settings that you can adjust, so using the command line has its advantages.

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Using EVE for UI layout

The Adobe Express View Engine (EVE) is the recommended method of laying out UI widgets in InDesign dialogs. The main benefit of using EVE is that widget geometry is calculated for you, so that when you add or remove widgets to a dialog all of the other widgets are shifted automatically without you having to recalculate sizes etc.

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Running a script from an InDesign plug-in

Perhaps you’ve come to native plug-in development from a more script-based background, or perhaps you have some existing script code you want to reuse in a new plug-in project. Whatever your background, it’s really handy to be able to run a script from a native plug-in, and it’s also surprisingly easy.

The code below works out of the box so you can copy and paste as much as you please.

The above code uses JavaScript but you may use any script manager you like, including kAppleScriptMgrBoss for AppleScript and kOLEAutomationMgrBoss for Visual Basic. For a complete list of available scripting managers see ‘Script managers’ in chapter 10 ‘Scriptable Plug-in Fundamentals’ of the Programming Guide Volume 1 included in the plug-in SDK (available at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/indesign/sdk.html).

InDesign Server / OmniORB and Upgrading to Mac OS 10.6

Here’s a nugget that will be of interest to those of you who regenerate Java/CORBA support for InDesign Server on the Mac. If you upgrade to Mac OS 10.6, you must rebuild the OmniORB tools with an x86_64 target to ensure that they run correctly. Setting up the OmniORB tools is coverred in Regenerating the Adobe InDesign CS4 Server Java API. You should get the x86_64 target by rebuilding the tools on the upgraded machine.

Flash UIs with InDesign CS4

InDesign user-interface development can be expensive. It takes a lot of effort to implement a dialog or panel in ODFRC. Things should improve in future versions, with the possibility of using Flash-based user-interface tools like Flex and FlexBuilder. While this represents the future direction of InDesign user-interface development, there is a present reality in InDesign CS4. With an understanding of the current situation, you can implement Flash-based user-interfaces for InDesign CS4.

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