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Let me explain what I am trying to achieve:

I have done workflows with LaTeX and FrameMaker that include a section (such as a data dictionary or API reference) that is incorporated into a larger specification document. I would like to generate this automatically separate file in a textual format with cross-reference anchors in a stable, human readable generated layout (e.g. DBCol:FooTable.BarColumn) and have the ability to arbitrarily regenerate this file and re-import it without breaking the XRef links. This process is quite possible with FrameMaker using MIF and trivial with LaTeX. In both of these tools, one can do the following:

  • It is possible to enter a cross-reference elsewere in the document and type the tag in directly as the destination, e.g. referring to a database table or column in a mapping document with a stable cross-reference to the data dictionary.

  • The imported file can include a cross-reference link to something elsewhere in the specification, whether the destination is generated or otherwise. i.e., the cross-referencing can work both ways in and out of the generated section.

  • Styling is inherited from the document; the import file should specify style tags that inherit actual style attributes from the parent document.

  • Cross-references to these anchors from other parts of the document remain stable across multiple imports, i.e. re-importing the file does not break the Xref links.

  • This file should be separate and automatically referenced from a master document (e.g. a Framemaker book file) rather than requiring a manual import process.

  • The file is in a textual format that is reasonably easy to generate and troubleshoot the import of (granted MIF import is somewhat pernickety ;-).

As I've said, you can do this with FrameMaker or LaTeX. Can someone describe whether this is possible with InDesign, and perhaps find a link to documentation that describes the file format - i.e. does InDesign/Incopy have any direct analog to MIF?

Edit: I've found some documentation about InDesign Tagged Text and IDML which would fit the bill.

share|improve this question
You may wish to start accepting some answers. – Zian Choy Feb 16 '11 at 4:00
I don't have any answers on this question to accept. – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Feb 27 '11 at 23:02
@Zian, @Charles: Guys, you have to be joking. He only has four questions... – Tom Wijsman Jul 1 '11 at 22:21
@Concerned: If you've found the answer, please add it as an answer. :) – Tom Wijsman Jul 1 '11 at 22:22
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Documentation about InDesign Tagged Text and IDML fits the bill.

share|improve this answer
Bingo. Thanks. Indesign Tagged Text is probably easier to user than IDML in much the same way that MML is easier to use than MIF, which is quite pernickety and the import is prone to unhelpful diagnostics. – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Sep 7 '11 at 18:40

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