I've been asked to work on some real interesting projects lately, all involving working bringing XML data into InDesign, or getting XML out of InDesign. Most of these projects involve automating the production of complex catalogs from product databases.
This sort of thing is kind of hard to get your head around, so I've put together a series of four "case studies" (1 page PDF each) that attempt to explain in a few paragraphs what each project involved, what challenges were faced, and how they were solved.
Case study 1: A company that sells molecules to research scientists asked me to develop a way for them to efficiently produce a massive 975 page catalog from their product database. Read the solution here.
Case study 2: An electronic components distributor asked me to automate production of complex "new product" brochures that are produced several times a year in eight languages each. Find the solution here.
Case study 3: A company that sells cake decorating supplies hired me to create an automated catalog production workflow that doesn't sacrifice designer's creative freedom. Discover the solution here.
Case study 4: A publisher of legal texts asked me to develop a way to extract product name, descripton and price information from hundreds of formatted InDesign files in XML format so they could import the information into their database. Read about it here.