Temporary Pages in Layout View in InCopy

A user was concerned because she was seeing 3 extra pages in InCopy in Layout view that the designer was not seeing in InDesign. Each extra page had a single text object on it. I looked at the K4 Attachments panel and noted that the unattached text objects were showing up on the extra pages.

In the example below there is a text object in the credits article that has not been placed on any page. When the InCopy user views the page in Layout mode an extra page was created, that is only viewable in InCopy, that has this text object. A additional page was created for another unassigned text object that didn't have any content.

So what has been updated in K4 in the past 2 years?

Here is a list of the new features that matter to my office:

  • Independent Tasks can be linked to specific status. In K4 6.6 an independent task can be used no matter what the status. Being able to prohibit a given independent task from being used in a given status enhances security and makes me more willing to allow someone to conduct an independent task.
  • Facebook and Twitter integration might be useful. I've let the editor responsible for postings to these services know that we can set up a simple workflow to ensure that postings to the company accounts are first reviewed by editors.
  • Fewer notifications. Staff will only be notified of assignments if they are new assignments, and not every time that someone edits an object that is in their cue. This requires the administrator to make some changes to publication settings.
  • Show the expander arrow in a K4 Query window only if that object has sub-objects.
  • Date and Time fields can be empty when originally set.
  • Hide deleted K4 user accounts.
  • The K4 Web Editor is now Java free. I'm looking forward to experimenting with the Web Editor on an iPad.
  • A K4 5.9 feature has returned. The default assignment for an object can be set to the current user.
  • InCopy users have the option to open every article in a separate window.
  • The administrator can define the folders for K4 clients to use for local files. Revoked files can be sent to a separate folder. This also eliminates the need to create folders or directories on client computers manually. If you set the folder locations on the K4 server then the K4 client will automatically create the folders.

K4 Web Server

Our K4 Web Server is now running. Not too difficult to set up but I made a blunder and the K4 plugins for InDesign Server were serialized incorrectly. Vjoon was quick to issue us with the correct plugins and I fixed my minor mistakes with help from MEI.

K4 Web Server enables you to edit InCopy documents via a web interface. it offers only a subset of InCopy capabilities and has a different interface. But it allows a mobile user to access text in K4 via a web browser. it no longer requires the client to have Java.

While the interface is very similar to the version that shipped with K4 6.4r4 it is much faster. My tests on an iPad worked out well. You select files via the Query panel, nothing new here. Once you open a file you see a list of K4 Attachments associated with it, a Layout view pane (non-editable) and a text pane (Story view only). The panes can be expanded so you can have the text editor occupy the entire window.

I recommend against the K4 Web Server from being available to the public Internet. We will require VPN access to our network in order for staff to access this server.

Handy K4 Upgrade Tip

Be sure to install the Java SDK and not the Java runtime on your K4 Server and any computer running K4 XML exporter. I assume that this will be true also for the K4 Web server. I now realize that the first time I installed Java 1.8 on my test server it did not work because I had the runtime version of Java instead of the SDK.

Successful Upgrade

Today's K4 Server upgrade from version 6.6r4 to 6.10r2 went well. While I practiced everything on a test server first there was a hiccup that didn't happen with the test server. The lesson is to initially launch MySQL via the terminal and then read the error messages.

While vjoon is recommending InDesign and InCopy 8.1 we are still with 8.02. It seems that you need to subscribe to Creative Cloud to get ID/IC 8.1 but I am working on confirming this requirement since a test iMac allowed me to upgrade IC to 8.1 even though we had not installed it via Creative Cloud.

I do recommend using a service provider such as MEI the first time you do a K4 upgrade. It isn't brain science but there are many things that can get wrong, such as directory permissions and properly updating/customizing configuration files.

And I recommend cloning your server's boot drive before upgrading. The cloned drive can be cloned to your test system and will provide an emergency backup in case your upgrade fails. I also recommend making a copy of your data directory in case anything goes wrong.

Moving on to K4 6.10r2 this weekend

It's been almost 2 years since my last entry. Sorry about that, I've been busy on other projects and haven't been making any K4 changes. That changes this weekend.

I've been putting off upgrading K4 for too long. We should be running a version certified for Mac OS X 10.10 on both server and client side. Some of my feature requests have been implemented over the past 2 years.

I've been practicing installing an upgrade for the past few weeks. We are running MySQL and no optional modules so it is a plane Jane setup. The upgrade is pretty straight forward but since I have not done an upgrade in 2 years I had a few question for MEI.

The initial steps have been completed. I cloned the K4 Server's boot-up drive (necessary for setting up the test server). After successfully upgrading the test server from Mac OS X 10.6.8 to 10.8.5 I did the same with the production server.

Sunday I will backup the production server database and start upgrading K4. This means upgrading MySQL, installing a newer Java, and then upgrading K4. Then testing the server. If all goes well then updating InDesign and Incopy in the office to 8.1  and installing the K4 client software. Last is modifying K4 Admin to take advantage of some of the new K4 features.

I recommend working taking the MySQL and K4 configuration files provided by vjoon and modifying them for you use. Much easier than taking your current config files and adapting those for this newer version of K4.

K4 6.6r4 Upgrade a Success

3 days into working K4 6.6r4 and all is better than before. We are not using any of the new features but we notice a few improvements.

  1. Under K4 6.4 InCopy users were get a bothersome dialog on opening articles if the article was attached to a layout. Problem fixed.
  2. In the past few months the K4 database kept growing in size. I noticed in some of our publications when I instructed K4 to deleted earlier versions of objects that it failed to do so. Now this function works for all pubs and our database shrunk by 30GB.  I do not know if this was a coding problem or if there was some corruption to our database which the update process fixed.
  3. Query panels seem a little faster. I will have a better idea if there is a noticeable speed increase in a few weeks when I archive the July issue. I cannot say if this improvement is due to coding or if the update process fixed problems in our database.

My next step is to upgrade to MySQL 5.5. This upgrade looks pretty simple to do and doesn't involve exporting or importing database.

K4 v6.6r4 Upgrade Completed

I upgraded our K4 Server from version 6.4r4 to 6.6r4 so now we are only a single version behind the current one.

The upgrade was uneventful. Vjoon installation instructions have greatly improved over the past 2 years. I had a few question for MEI that were all answered quickly and simply. If everything at work could be so boring.

The only option we use in addition to the basic setup is XML Exporter.

I did not upgrade MySQL this time. Since I am running an older version I plan on upgrading that in a month. I am concerned at some point a future version of K4 will not support our version of MySQL and I would prefer to only upgrade K4 or MySQL but not both at the same time.

Preparing for Upgrade to K4 6.6r1

I realize we are behind the curve, running K4 v6.4r4-2 (love the numbering system). We are not moving to version 6.7 yet because I want to be sure we are moving to a known stable version of K4. We are looking forward to having an editorial web client that does not use Java and we should move to 6.7 once it is battle tested.

The upgrade instructions for v6.6 are clearer than past versions. This is a definite improvement, I do not want to spend $2,000 for hand holding. I have been through K4 v6.x upgrades often enough to be comfortable doing it on my own. Fortunately there is no need for us to upgrade MySQL now. I will upgrade MySQL after we have upgraded K4. I am concerned that at some point K4 will no longer support our version of MySQL.

The only step I found hazy was removal of Tomcat and preservation of any Tomcat custom preferences. The upgrade document refers to the Install document for removing Tomcat but I did not find the reference there. I have requested information from MEI. I assume that Tomcat installation might vary on different platforms. UPDATE. On the Mac I just need to delete the Tomcat folder in the K4_6_Server folder in the Applications folder. I will keep the context.xml file in the conf folder since it looks like it was modified and the port was changed from the default.

I'm reviewing the release notes of the versions following 6.4. A few features/fixes that might interest you:

  • Version 6.5 brings in Simplified Task Workflow that is similar to the workflow in K4 5.9. You can switch back and forth between the regular task workflow and the simplified one.
  • Version 6.5 also sees the return of the K4 Revision Manager.
  • In the Query Panel you can filter by any text column.
  • 6.6 allows for assets to be placed on a file server instead of placing them in the K4 database.
  • Some batch editing is possible.
  • Users can be exported from one publication and imported into another.
  • Automatic reconnect by clients. This is important because previously after losing a connection a user reconnecting could use an extra license.
  • DPS integration seems to be improved with every K4 release.
  • So many bug fixes that I'm not going to mention any of them.

XML Export Without K4

I am working on converting the text from 50 layouts into HTML. These layouts do not exist in our K4 server so I did the XML export from within each layout. Working with the resulting XML files is a lot more work than the XML that are exported from K4.

In my K4 XML export workflow, I wrote a XSLT that creates a XML file per layout, which is the case for exporting XML directly from InDesign. But there is a major difference in organization.

In the K4 XML export each story or article has its own tag which includes the name of the article. So I can quickly find different stories in my XML editor by working in outline view.

In contrast the XML files exported directly from InDesign simply have <Story> tags around each story. I can identify each story only by opening the tag in my XML editors outline view. I am working on a layout right now which can have over 10 stories to a page and the stories are not organized in any predictable way. So I am spending a lot of time looking for text and dragging it to the correct part of the document.

I appreciate how K4 makes my XML workflow easier.

Tagging and Embedded Images

Today I've had trouble checking in two articles after tagging them. In both cases they text has embedded images. For some reason on checking in these articles I end up with the spinning wheel of death.

In the past ensuring that embedded text or graphic boxes are not tagged has been sufficient to fix this problem. Today I am not sure if that is the fix.

One article was just a table. I untagged the article and then manually tagged the table as a table and did not tag any text within the table. That allowed me to check in the table. But if I just tried to remove the tag that encompassed the embedded graphic I could not get beyond the spinning wheel of death.

I am working on the other article right now. It has 75 embedded graphics. When I tagged this article I made sure that the paragraph style used on the paragraph with the graphic did not get tagged. But sometimes paragraph styles get misapplied by accident, which would result in tagging of the paragraph. If that isn't the case I will have to duplicate the article and remove all images from it. Or I can copy and paste the text into a text editor and use GREP to automate tagging the paragraphs.

Follow-Up. I checked the long article with 75 embedded graphics. I noted that the last paragraph wasn't tagged at all. I tagged it and then checked it in, I decided to give it at least 15 minutes. InDesign never became responsive but the Finish Task dialog did disappear. After force quitting ID and restarting it I discovered that the article was checked into K4 after all.

Good news on InCopy CC and CC for Teams

An Adobe reseller has told me that it is now possible to buy an individual Creative Cloud app and tie it to your Carbon Copy for Teams account. This is important for publications with writers and editors who use InCopy but no other Adobe software. 

An Adobe rep told me that Adobe will not sell you this type of license, you have to buy it from a Adobe Creative Cloud reseller.

But we aren’t there yet.  I have contacted Chesapeake Systems about buying a single InDesign CC license and tieing it to our CC for Teams account. Since we purchased our CC for Teams licenses directly from Adobe Chesapeake Systems is not sure they can sell us the InDesign CC license and tie it to our CC for Teams account. They are researching the issue for me.

This is somewhat academic since K4 currently does not support InDesign CC or InCopy CC, but we can assume we will see this support in 2014.

K4 and CC

I asked MEI about K4 and Adobe’s Creative Cloud today. I was told that K4 6.7 is under development and will offer new features, but they do not know about Creative Cloud support. Adobe has not released the Creative Cloud version of InDesign Server yet, IDS CC is necessary for vjoon to support InDesign CC in K4. So we are waiting on Adobe.  

No word yet from Adobe on InCopy CC licenses that can be integrated with a CC Team license yet. The horror of managing 35 InCopy CC licenses is too much to imagine. So just as well that K4 does not yet support InDesign and InCopy CC.

Meanwhile I need to upgrade our K4 system from 6.4 to 6.6r4. I'm told there are some nice administrative features in it.

We Purchased Creative Cloud for Teams Today

We needed 5 more licenses for Adobe Creative Suite 6. Since Adobe is still offering this week CC for Teams for $39.99/month for 24 months it did not make sense to purchase perpetual licenses for CS 6. So we bought just 5 CC for Teams licenses. Here are a few highlights:

  • I had a few questions so I call the 800 number to purchase our licenses. Their phone system insisted on getting my phone number and said someone would call me in 1 or 2 minutes. Or I could have scheduled a callback. But they didn't want me to wait on hold. 5 minutes later I receive an automated phone call and am then put on hold for at least a minute until an agent got on the line. Once I got an agent, Frank Padilla, everything went smoothly. Frank walked me through the purchase and basic administrative steps.
  • Billing is only done through monthly automatic charges to your credit card. If you want to pay for all 12 months at once, my Controller’s preference, you need to buy CCfT through a reseller.  I will make my Controller happy by printing out invoices every month.
  • You will need to enter the e-mail address of everyone authorized to an CCfT license. Seems reasonable when you think about it. The authorized staff will receive e-mails and they click on a link to complete the process. If they have an Adobe account they use that password. Otherwise they set up a new one. If someone leaves your office you can remove them from the authorized use list and add someone else. 
  • You can install the CS6 versions of software using CC. Be aware that Acrobat Professional under CC is limited to version XI (Adobe, please make you number systems consistent). It takes a few extra steps over installing the current version of any of the software.  Since I do not have the latest version of PitStop Pro I cannot use Acrobat XI.
  • A CC item is added to your menu bar on Macs. Use it to install software, update software, sync files to the Cloud (not available yet), deliver fonts from TypeKit (not available yet), and access BeHance.
  • Adobe does provide a Creative Cloud Packager to create MSI or PKG installers, making it easier to install CC for Teams on a multitude of computers. 
  • I cannot imagine moving to InDesign for CC until Adobe allows for rental of individual programs via the CC for Teams program. If we moved to InDesign and InCopy CC today, assuming that K4 would work with them, we would have a separate credit card charge for each copy of InCopy we rented, which would be around 40 charges on each AMEX bill. The accounting department would be after me with torches and pitchforks. Adobe assures me that they are working on this issue.

Talked with an Adobe Rep Today

I talked with an Adobe rep about Creative Cloud for Teams.

  1. Creative Cloud for Enterprise will require a 3 year contract for $100,000 or more. We are not large enough for this program. Adobe is promising details about CCfE later this month.
  2. To buy CC for Teams you get a 1 year contract with Adobe and get the number of licenses you want. If you add a new team play 3 months into your contract then you pay for a prorated contract, in this case for 6 months. The only way to remove licenses is to wait for you annual contract to come up for renewal and then set a smaller number of licenses. So when I hire that intern for two months I will need to buy more CC than I want.
  3. There is no integration between the CC for Teams license and renting individual apps. So if you are like us, where the ratio of CC users to InCopy users is 1 to 5, you will have to buy and administer each IC license separately, a billing and administrative nightmare. We have around 50 InCopy users. Plus the license will be associated with the employee, not the employer, so we would lose the license when the employee left us. A few of our InCopy users also have PhotoShop so I would bet them a full CC for Teams license, but they are in the minority. The Adobe sales rep is double checking this item and said he will get back to me.

My conclusion is that Adobe has not thought this through and I hope by the time we are ready for Creative Cloud this will be fixed.

The rep kept saying how much we could save by buying CC licenses by the end of the month. I replied we could save even more by putting off purchase of CC licenses by 6 or 7 months. Or more.

At least I don't need to do anything before January.


A Call from Adobe

An Adobe sales rep called me yesterday. He wanted to inform me about Adobe’s Creative Cloud initiative (re software rental strategy). I was not pleased.

He informed me about the differences between regular Creative Cloud (CC) and Team products. I thought the main difference was the amount of storage space you get in the cloud. I was wrong.

Creative Cloud Team provides consolidated billing and centralized administrative functions. If you get regular CC for each employee you will receive a bill or credit card charge for each license. And if the employee leaves your company they keep the license, not the company. So this, and additional cloud storage that we do not want, is what we get for an additional $20/month per person. This is a rare case where enterprise customers pay more per seat than individuals.

It is not clear to me if, with CC Team, employees will be able to use the same license on a work and home computer, as has been the case with Adobe’s past policies.

And no discount was mentioned based on our current support agreement with Adobe. So I guess that is a few thousand dollars wasted.

The rep did try to pressure me to get started with CC Team by taking advantage of the discounted pricing. I pointed out we would save a lot more money by delaying any action on CC for another 6 to 12 months. Plus we cannot use the new versions of InDesign or InCopy because they will not work with the current version of K4.

I am going to sit and wait and see if CC pricing is more reasonable than my calculations. But right now it looks like it is blowing a hole in my 2014 budget.

Adobe Creative Cloud for Teams

Saw the announcements and waiting to hear what this will really cost us. We paid Adobe $4,700 for software assurance plan in January, I guess that was money wasted. Adobe list prices for Creative Cloud will increase that cost to $20,000/year. But I am not going to panic until I hear from MEI what CC will actually cost us. I am concerned that it will be a  major increase and include features we don't want, such as cloud storage.

I think Creative Cloud will be a major win for some people. But I keep thinking of Verizon. I went for years on an old Verizon cell phone plan that was no longer offered. When I needed to replace a phone they told me that I would have to move to a more expensive plan, but look they said, you get more minutes. I don't use even half the minutes in my old plan, I told them I was moving to AT&T. They then offered me a special legacy plan that was the same price as my old plan.

So two lessons

  1. Prices go up and they justify it by giving you stuff that you might not want.
  2. If you complain you may be able to avoid the price hike.

A Switch Issues Problem

This weekend I attempted to switch issues for our main publication since we just sent the March issue to the printer. After entering into K4 Admin I clicked on Issues and then clicked on the Switch Issues button. An Operation in Progress box then popped up stating that Operation in Progress for "Switch Issues".

I was not able to do anything that would resolve the problem. I tried using different browsers to access K4 Admin. I tried stopping and restarting K4 Server, including rebooting the entire server.

After working with Patrick at MEI we noted that I had just deleted the default issue for the Tablet Channel. We thought this was causing the problem. Since we were not using the Tablet Channel I deleted it from the Workflows editor, an the problem went away.

Moral of the story: be sure that Previous, Current and Next issues are always set to a specific issue for every channel.

The Missing Revert Layout

One feature I miss about QPS classic is "revert layout." You could always make an earlier version of a layout the current one. We rarely needed this command, often because the current layout was corrupted, but it was handy to have. There was also a "revert article" command that was helpful to writers and editors.

In both cases in K4 you need to use View History from the query panel and open an earlier version as a read only document. Then cut and paste between the old version and the current one. Or move pages. In InCopy this isn't too bad but in InDesign you have to unlink and relink articles. Can get messy.