Dev unveils InDesign to HTML5 'bridge'

Existing solutions dismissed as expensive or inadequate

Ajar Productions has created a Kickstarter project for a tool that takes designs straight from InDesign to HTML5 "in an easy to use and easy to distribute format". The project page states that demand for HTML5 websites and mobile apps is increasing, but existing InDesign solutions are problematic – InDesign's own exporter extracts content but fares poorly with layout, while Adobe Digital Publishing Suite can be prohibitively expensive. By contrast, InDesign to HTML5 aims to be open, affordable, and generate more accurate output.

Partner and developer Justin Putney told .net that the impetus behind the project was "all kinds of requests from clients looking for rich interactive content that will work across devices", and the fact that there is currently "no straightforward solution for designers".

Ajar's project focuses on being designer-controlled (thereby respecting the designer's layout choices), cost-effective and easy to distribute, enabling the designer to publish "however and wherever they want to".

Code output is typically a thorny issue with such exporters, but Putney said his developer background should help there: "I care about clean code as much as I care about clean design. There will be plenty of built-in interactivity so that designer can work solo, but the code will be arranged so that a developer can easily make additions as well." Where necessary, the output will rely on well-established open-source JavaScript frameworks, to ensure cross-browser compatibility, and CSS will use "as little element-level styling as possible while maintaining fidelity with the original InDesign layout".

Although web pros might nonetheless turn their nose up at such a 'bridge', Putney pointed out that InDesign remains "universally used and loved by designers", and that by targeting it, it is possible to "leverage great design tools to support all designers who seek to produce interactive content". Many people are feeling left out as design becomes a more code-heavy occupation – and InDesign to HTML5 may just provide the help they need.

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