InDesign Draws on the Strength of Its Plug-Ins

InDesign's platform offers "extraordinary" extendability with the latest trends, especially those geared toward newspapers and catalog publishing, advocates say.

InDesign is only as good as its parts—all 140 or so plug-in parts, to be exact—according to Adobe Systems Mark Niemann-Ross.

"With InDesign, youre buying a platform, but with all the plug-ins, youve just doubled or tripled its capabilities and your investment," said Niemann-Ross, the evangelist for Adobe System Inc.s Creative Professional Unit, which includes InDesign.

InDesign is page layout software that is integrated with other Adobe applications (part of the Creative Suite) and offers production workflows.

"InDesign was built around being able to extend it with plug-ins," Niemann-Ross said. "Developers have been a part of the philosophy of InDesign since the beginning."

From the start, Adobe has shared a great deal of the inner-working APIs of InDesign with developers in the hopes that great things would come of that.

Niemann-Ross says its been an incredible journey.

"Its been really interesting to see what theyll do. If you want innovation to work, you just have to open your doors."

Chris Jones, director of product development for Triple Triangle, a company that produces plug-ins for InDesign that address the needs of the advertising vertical market, calls this platform extraordinary in its openness.

"Ive worked in a lot of platforms and none have been this extraordinary. You can do amazing things because you have unparalleled options to customize this," said Jones, who formerly worked at Adobe and on the InDesign product.