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I'd like to use a programming model for custom graphics and precision placement, and an interactive visual mode for large scale layout and less precise placements. I've used tools (PostScript, various vector drawing programs) that do one of these modes well, but leave me pining for the other model. Which tools should I be investigating? I'm currently on OS X.

Examples: Creating diagrams with precise spacing, sets of cards, either likely drawing from some sort of data.

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I've been working lately with Lyx. It's more WYSIWYM (what you see is what you mean) rather than WYSIWYG, but it does give you very strict control over what goes where. Bit of a learning curve, though. Works on OSX, iirc.

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Adobe InDesign's scripting implementation is very robust (though, at times, a bit wonky). Most anything in the document, including invisible and "behind the scenes" objects, can be manipulated in the script. I do all sorts of automatic layouts with Applescript and InDesign, but there are also a lot of online resources dedicated to using Javascript with InDesign as well.

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