Atomik Roundtrip 2.1: Working with Roundtrip << >>

Chapter 19 Working with Place Holders and Automated Document Building

You will already be familiar with place holders from the tutorial section of this manual - if you are not, you should review chapter 9 (Tutorial 6), which will give you an introduction to Roundtrip’s Place Holder functionality.

Place holders allow you to create template documents into which XML content can be automatically imported into the appropriate boxes, or locations within the appropriate boxes. Using place holders is conceptually very similar to creating mail merge documents in a word processor, except that Roundtrip allows you to place the imported text not only into a location in the text flow, but instead to any location on the page, and with whatever styling you specify in the ruleset.

Place holders are created from a DTD and a ruleset, which you are asked to select when you create a new placeholder by clicking the Create Place Holder button (

), or select ‘Place Holder’ from the ‘Create’ menu option on the ‘Roundtrip’ menu.

The DTD which you select is used to identify the structure of the XML file, and the ruleset which you select is used to identify the styling which should be applied to the XML when it is imported.

The document in which you are creating place holders won’t usually have any XML imported into it, the place holders are inserted in the text to mark the locations which will eventually be filled with your XML. This is an important factor, as it means that you can create your QuarkXPress layout in advance of the XML content being available, or completed. Because the place holders are based on the XML DTD, rather than a specific XML file, the same QuarkXPress document containing Roundtrip place holders can be used as a template with multiple different XML documents (as long as they all conform to the DTD).

There are many different possibilities for this; if you have a publication which contains a lot of similarly formatted data, like a catalogue, and an XML file which contains all the required content produced from another system; then you can create a QuarkXPress template using place holders, and automatically flow the content into the pages. If any changes then get made to the data in your cataloguing system, the QuarkXPress document which you have created automatically can simply be discarded, and a new one created with the updated data.

An important feature for achieving this is the ‘Flow XML into Place Holders on Import’ preference in the Roundtrip Preferences dialog (Edit->Preferences->Application, and select the ‘Roundtrip tab’).

If this preference is enabled, Roundtrip will examine any XML file which is being imported, and identify whether there are any place holders in the current document which were created from the same DTD. If there are, then not only will the XML be imported, but the XML will also be flowed into those place holders, where appropriate.

This is equivalent to the user importing the XML file and then pressing the ‘Flow XML into Place Holders’ in the Atomik Roundtrip XML palette.

Design-oriented workflows, where you don’t know in advance how the page will look, can benefit from using place holders. This is because place holders can automatically locate and import text and images which can subsequently be moved to the correct place on the page, and any formatting changes applied.