Quark Automation Services - 8.5.1 Operating Instructions

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A Guide to Automation Services 8.5.1

CONTENTS

Contents

Introduction.......................................................................................

4

Where we're coming from......................................................................................

4

Conventions in this book........................................................................................

4

Understanding Automation Services.................................................

6

What is Automation Services?................................................................................

6

Process overview....................................................................................................

7

Understanding workflows.......................................................................................

8

Understanding transformations..............................................................................

9

Construct vs. Modify.....................................................................................................

11

Understanding automation profiles......................................................................

12

Starting and stopping Automation Services...................................

14

Setting log on credentials...............................................................

15

The Automation Services user interface.........................................

16

Automation pane..................................................................................................

16

Add Profile screen.........................................................................................................

17

Trigger screen...............................................................................................................

18

Workflow Variables screen............................................................................................

22

Summary screen............................................................................................................

22

File name macros..........................................................................................................

23

Transformation pane.............................................................................................

24

Edit Transformation screen...........................................................................................

25

Transformation Name and Variables dialog box...........................................................

27

Working with transformations........................................................

28

Creating and deploying a transformation.............................................................

28

Mapping content to boxes and components........................................................

32

Mapping text content....................................................................................................

32

Mapping picture content...............................................................................................

33

Working with QPS metadata................................................................................

34

Adding metadata to a transformation...........................................................................

34

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CONTENTS

Assigning metadata to components.............................................................................

36

Assigning metadata to pictures.....................................................................................

36

QPS metadata validation...............................................................................................

37

Understanding attachment handling.............................................................................

40

Exporting transformations....................................................................................

40

Working with automation profiles..................................................

41

Creating an automation profile.............................................................................

41

Manually executing an automation profile............................................................

48

Enabling and disabling automation profiles..........................................................

49

Sample transformations..................................................................

50

XML to XHTML (sample transformation)..............................................................

50

XML to QuarkCopyDesk (sample transformation)................................................

51

Article metadata (sample transformation).....................................................................

54

XML to QuarkCopyDesk with Template (sample transformation)........................

55

Transformation best practices.........................................................

58

System administration.....................................................................

60

Setting access privileges.......................................................................................

60

Configuring QuarkXPress Server..........................................................................

61

Deploying profiles, transformations, and workflows............................................

61

Changing the Drupal image directory...................................................................

61

Using HTTPS.........................................................................................................

62

Miscellaneous........................................................................................................

62

Legal notices...................................................................................

64

A GUIDE TO AUTOMATION SERVICES 8.5.1 | iii

INTRODUCTION

Introduction

This Guide explains the functionality of Automation Services for Quark Publishing System®

(QPS®).

Where we're coming from

This book assumes you are familiar with your computer and know how to:

Launch an application

Open, save, and close files

Use menus, dialog boxes, and palettes

Use the mouse, keyboard commands, and modifier keys

If you need help performing any of these tasks, consult the documentation resources (user or reference guides) provided with your computer.

Conventions in this book

Formatting conventions in this guide highlight information to help you quickly find what

you need.

Bold type style: The names of all dialog boxes, fields, and other controls are set in bold type. For example: "Click Storage in the Administration pane."

References: In descriptions of features, parenthetical references guide you in accessing those features. For example: "The System Storage controls (Administration pane) let you designate asset storage."

Arrows: You will often see arrows (>), which map the path to a feature. For example: "Choose Administration > User Profiles to add a user."

Icons: Although many tools and buttons are referenced by name, which you can see by displaying ToolTips, in some cases icons are shown for easy identification.

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Cross-platform issues: Some labels, buttons, key combinations, and other aspects of QPS client applications differ between Mac OS® and Windows® because of user interface conventions or other factors. In such cases, both the Mac OS and Windows versions are presented, separated by a slash, with the Mac OS version presented first. For example, if the Mac OS version of a button is labeled Select, and the Windows version is labeled

Browse, you are directed to "Click Select/Browse." More complex cross-platform differences are mentioned in notes or parenthetical statements.

Notes provide helpful information about particular features and general techniques for using the software.

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UNDERSTANDING AUTOMATION SERVICES

Understanding Automation Services

The topics below provide a high-level introduction to Automation Services.

What is Automation Services?

In a nutshell, Automation Services is a QPS service that automatically runs pre-defined workflows on a regular schedule or in response to QPS events, file system events, or Web services requests. The purpose of Automation Services is to allow System Integrators to create versatile automated solutions for customers without scripting.

Like scripting, Automation Services lets you automate highly complex tasks. Unlike scripting, however, Automation Services lets you do so with a simple visual interface. Instead of having to pass a problem off to a developer so that he or she can write the necessary scripts, a System Integrator can implement and maintain solutions which automate common user scenarios himself or herself.

Automation Services is versatile enough to automate most publishing tasks, but there are some things you can do with scripting that you cannot do with Automation Services. For such procedures, you can use the Automation Services "Execute QPS Script" workflow.

Here are some of the key concepts for Automation Services.

Workflows: A workflow defines a sequence of actions that Automation Services can perform, such as creating a QuarkXPress project based on an XML input using a template. Workflows are generic in that they do not specify which files to work with, where to put the output, or when to execute. Automation Services ships with a set of workflows that address some of the most frequently requested automation use cases that QPS customers implement. For unique situations, System Integrators can create workflows in Visual Studio using the Automation Services SDK.

Transformations: A transformation is a set of instructions for converting data from one format to another. For example, a transformation might define how content in a QuarkXPress® layout should be converted to HTML for fowarding to Drupal. Transformations support XML, Excel spreadsheets, databases, QuarkXPress projects, and QuarkCopyDesk® articles as valid formats. You create a transformation in QPS Connect Client, and then Automation Services compiles the transformation into executable code for use by the Automation Services server component and deploys it to the server.

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In transformations, QuarkXPress and QuarkCopyDesk files are represented by XML mapping components. The QuarkXPress Server Modifier XML schema allows QuarkXPress projects and QuarkCopyDesk articles to be represented in an XML format. Automation Services for QPS uses QuarkXPress Server to convert between XML page representations and native QuarkXPress and QuarkCopyDesk file formats.

Workflow variables: Variables define how a workflow will execute. For example, the variables required to execute a particular workflow might include instructions on when to execute, an input file, a transformation to execute, a location to search for image files used in the transformation, an output file name, and instructions for where to store the final file.

Trigger: A trigger is an event that causes an automation profile to execute. Automation profiles can be executed manually, via Web services, on a regular schedule, in response to a QPS event (such as a status change) occurring for a file that meets a specific set of search criteria, or in response to a file system event (such as a file being added).

Automation profiles: An automation profile is where it all comes together. An automation profile says, "Execute this workflow using this transformation and these variables."

Automation Services has two components:

The server component is a Web application executes automation profiles in response to triggers. It also provides an execution environment for the transformations used in those automation profiles. The server component can run on a separate computer from QPS Server, so that it does not meaningfully impact the performance of QPS.

The client component is a plug-in for QPS Connect Client that adds two panes to the main window: The Transformation pane, which lets you create and test transformations, and the Automation pane, which lets you create and deploy automation profiles.

Automation Services is available for Windows only.

Process overview

The process of using Automation Services is, in general:

1 Define in detail the process you want to automate.

2Consult the Automation Services Workflow Reference to determine if there is an existing workflow that you can use. (If no such workflow exists, Quark or a System Integrator can use the Automation Services SDK to create one.)

3For steps in the workflow where content needs to be converted into another format or combined with other content, create and deploy transformations in QPS Connect Client.

4 Pull everything together by creating an automation profile in QPS Connect Client.

5 Test and deploy the automation profile.

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UNDERSTANDING AUTOMATION SERVICES

The following topics explain these steps and concepts in detail.

Understanding workflows

A workflow is a predefined sequence of actions for creating output. You can also think of a workflow as a framework on which you can build an automated task. For example, here is a list of various publishing tasks you might want to automate, with the workflows you would use to automate them. (Note that not all of these workflows are included with Automation Services.)

Publishing task

Workflow(s)

App Studio issues for iPad

Publish to App Studio

Magazines, journals, newspapers, educational books

XML to QuarkCopyDesk to QPS

Datasheets

XML to QuarkXPress to QPS

High-design technical documentation such as consumer

XML, database, Excel to QuarkXPress to QPS

product manuals, books, reports, and retail “magalogs”

 

Technical documentation

XML to PDF via QuarkXPress

 

XML to QuarkXPress with XSLT

Archival of print content for database repurposing

QuarkCopyDesk to XML to database

"Print first" Web publishing

QuarkCopyDesk to HTML to Drupal

 

XML to WebFeed

"Content first" Web publishing

XML to HTML to Drupal

 

XML to WebFeed

Personalized retail mailers and flyers

XML Import to QuarkXPress to PDF

A workflow defines source and output types, but does not define how content should be combined and/or converted from one format to another. For example, the "XML to QuarkXPress" workflow can insert XML content into a QuarkXPress template and produce a QuarkXPress project as its output. However, it does not specify where the XML file and the QuarkXPress template come from, how the XML content should be mapped to the QuarkXPress template, or where the finished project should be put.

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Workflow Variables screen for a workflow

The workflows provided with Automation Services include:

Publish to App Studio

XML to QuarkCopyDesk

XML to QuarkCopyDesk From Template

XML to QuarkXPress

XML to QuarkXPress using XSLT

XML to XHTML (which includes the ability to transform QuarkXPress and QuarkCopyDesk content to HTML)

XML to WebFeed

XML to XML (which includes the ability to transform XML into QuarkXPress and QuarkCopyDesk content)

Export from QuarkXPress Project (which lets you export layouts in PDF and SWF format)

Execute QPS Script

For more information about the workflows provided by Quark, see the Automation Services Workflow Reference.

Understanding transformations

A transformation is the portion of an automated task that indicates exactly how content

should be combined and/or converted to another format.

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An example transformation

You can use transformations to:

Convert XML content and data into Quark’s Modifier XML format for publishing as QuarkXPress projects and QuarkCopyDesk articles.

Insert data from various data sources into documents. Valid data formats include XML files, QuarkXPress projects and templates, QuarkCopyDesk articles and templates, and XHTML files.

Convert QuarkXPress projects and QuarkCopyDesk articles to digital publishing formats, including HTML and RSS.

Valid data sources include files from the file system, QPS assets, the results of a QPS search, and files in the QuarkXPress Server document pool.

When you create a transformation, you can specify that some data sources are fixed and others are variable. Fixed variables are always used, but you can change variable inputs when you use the transformation in an automation profile.

The core of each transformation is its map. The map, shown in the center of the window above, lets you control which parts of the input or inputs go to which parts of the output or outputs. It also allows you to insert logic that alters the content during the transformation.

For example, assume that the inputs to a transformation profile are:

An XML file containing brochure content. A new version of this content is created every month and checked into QPS as a new file. The schema for the file is internal to your organization.

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A spreadsheet containing customer records. This file is available over the network via a shared volume. This content of this file changes constantly, but the file name and location do not change.

A QuarkXPress template. This file is in the document pool for a QuarkXPress Server instance. This file never changes.

To use these files, you could create a transformation that:

Accepts an XML file that uses the internal schema. Because this file is the file that triggers the automation profile, it is referred to as the trigger input. Because you will be using different files at different times, you would designate this as a variable input.

Maps the element types in the XML file to specific parts of the QuarkXPress template. For example, <title> elements in the XML might be mapped to headline boxes in the template, and <body> elements might be mapped to body text boxes. Because the template never changes, you could designate it as a fixed input.

Maps columns in the spreadsheet to other parts of the QuarkXPress template, so that each output file can be personalized for a particular customer. For example, the "Name" column might be mapped to a box on the cover of the brochure, or the "Name" and "Address" columns might be mapped to an address box.

If you specify a fixed input, and that input changes between the creation of the transformation and the time when you execute it, Automation Services uses the updated version of that input.

To create this transformation, you would need:

The schema for the XML file that will be used.

An optional example of the XML file that will be used. (Note that this file is used only for creating the map — this is a variable input, so even if you use an XML file here, that file will not be used when the workflow is executed.)

Access to the spreadsheet file to be used.

A copy of the template to be used.

While working on a transformation, you can test the output in two ways: With a preview of the transformed XML, and with a preview of the final product. Once a transformation is complete, you deploy it to the server, where it can be used in automation profiles. For more information, see "Working with transformations."

To create a transformation's map, you use an embedded instance of Altova MapForce that runs inside of QPS Connect Client.

Construct vs. Modify

A transformation that creates a QuarkXPress project or QuarkCopyDesk article can do so in two ways:

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Using the Construct method. This method creates the project or article from scratch, using the default Job Jackets file for the publication and section where it will be checked in. This approach is best for situations where you don't know how many boxes or components will need to be created. For an example of a Construct transformation, see "XML to QuarkCopyDesk (sample transformation)."

Using the Modify method. This method creates the project or article using a template. This approach is best for situations where the number of boxes or components does not change. This approach also lets you do the bulk of the layout tasks in QuarkXPress, and use Automation Services only to fill in variable content. For an example of a Modify transformation, see "XML to QuarkCopyDesk with Template (sample transformation)."

Understanding automation profiles

An automation profile lets you specify when a particular workflow should be executed and control which inputs it uses. You can specify that an automation profile should execute:

On a regular schedule.

When a particular QPS event occurs (for example, when an asset in QPS is routed to PDF Output).

When a particular file system event occurs in a watched folder (for example, when a file is added).

Only when you manually execute it.

Only when triggered by a Web services call.

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Trigger screen for an automation profile set to execute on a schedule

An automation profile also lets you configure workflow variables. For example, if you are using the "XML to QuarkXPress Template" workflow, the workflow variables might include:

Trigger Input: For event-driven automation profiles, the trigger input is the asset that triggers the automation profile's execution. The trigger input consists of an event plus a trigger asset filter. When one of the events you specify occurs for an asset that matches the trigger asset filter, the automation profile executes.

Transformation: The transformation that should be used.

Template Name: The file name for the specific template to be used (if the workflow requires a template).

Image Search Folders: Folders where Automation Services can look for picture files used in a transformation.

Save Location: The place where the completed file should be put. This could be a folder in the file system or a location in QPS.

Note that the above variables are provided only as examples. The specific workflow variables that you must supply differ from workflow to workflow. For more information, see "Working with automation profiles."

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STARTING AND STOPPING AUTOMATION SERVICES

Starting and stopping Automation Services

The server component of Automation Services runs as a Web application inside an application pool in Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). To stop or start the server component, open the IIS management console, right-click on the application pool for Automation Services, and choose Start, Stop, or Recycle from the context menu.

IIS management console with Automation Services application pool displayed. The Advanced Settings dialog box displays when you right-click the QPS Automation Services icon and choose Advanced Settings.

To start the server, you must also do one of the following things:

Launch QPS Connect Client and log in.

Go to the following URL in a Web browser, using the IP address and port number of the Automation Services server computer: http://[IP address]:[port]/Quark Automation Services/ProfileManagementService.svc. If this page displays correctly, the server is up and running.

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SETTING LOG ON CREDENTIALS

Setting log on credentials

In order to interact with QPS, QuarkXPress Server, and Drupal, Automation Services must have appropriate log-on credentials for each. To set up user accounts for Automation Services:

1In the QPS Connect Client Automation pane, choose Edit > Automation Server Preferences. The Automation Services Preferences dialog box displays.

Automation Server Preferences dialog box

If this menu item is not available, it means no server has been detected. Verify that the server component of Automation Services is running.

2 Enter user names and passwords for QPS, QuarkXPress Server, and Drupal, then click OK.

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THE AUTOMATION SERVICES USER INTERFACE

The Automation Services user interface

The topics below provide a reference for the Automation Services user interface in QPS

Connect Client.

Automation pane

The Automation pane lets you create, configure, and execute automation profiles. (For more information, see "Working with automation profiles.")

Automation pane of QPS Connect Client window

The Automation navigation pane lets you choose which types of automation profile display on the right:

All

Running

Failed

Successful

Enabled

Disabled

The Automation Profiles pane includes the following columns:

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Enabled column: Indicates which processes are disabled (gray) and enabled (green). To enable or disable an automation profile, right-click its icon in this column and choose

Enable or Disable from the context menu.

Profile Name column: Lists each automation profile by name.

Description: Describes each automation profile.

Last Run Status column: Indicates the date and time when each automation profile was last run. A green checkmarks indicates that no errors occured. A yellow caution icon indicates an error. To view the error message, mouse over the yellow icon.

Execution column: Indicates when each automation profile will execute. The options are

Manual, Automatic, and Event (event-triggered).

You can sort each column by clicking its label, and reverse the sort direction by clicking the label again.

The buttons at the bottom of the pane are as follows:

+: Creates a new automation profile and displays the Add Profile screen. For more information, see "Add Profile screen."

-: Deletes the selected automation profile.

Refresh: Refreshes the information in the Last Run Status column.

Execute Profile: Runs the selected automation profile.

Most of the functionality described in this topic is also available by right-clicking an automation profile.

Add Profile screen

The Add Profile screen lets you specify a workflow and name for an automation profile.

Add Profile screen of Automation pane

This screen contains the following controls:

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Profile Name: Lets you specify a name for the automation profile.

Automation Steps area: Lets you move to different screens within the task of creating an automation profile.

Workflow drop-down menu: Lets you choose a workflow to use in the automation profile. For more information, see "Understanding transformations."

Description field: Lets you specify a description for the automation profile. The description is displayed in the main screen of the Automation pane.

Next button: Advances to the Add Scheduling screen.

Save button: Saves the current information without leaving the screen.

Cancel button: Discards all information and returns to the main screen of the Automation pane.

Trigger screen

The Trigger screen lets you schedule when an automation profile runs.

Add Scheduling screen of Automation pane

This screen contains the following controls:

Profile Name drop-down menu: Indicates the name of the automation profile.

Automation Steps area: Lets you move to different screens within the task of creating an automation profile.

Execution Type drop-down menu: Lets you specify whether the automation profile is scheduled, triggered by a QPS event, manually executed, or triggered by a file system event. The lower portion of the screen changes depending on this selection.

Back button: Returns to the Add Profile screen.

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Next button: Advances to the Add Scheduling screen.

Save button: Saves the current information without leaving the screen.

Cancel button: Discards all information and returns to the main screen of the Automation pane.

Scheduled tasks

When Scheduled is selected for Execution Type, the screen looks like this:

Scheduled area

This area contains the following controls:

Executes on controls: Lets you set a date and time for the execution of the automation profile.

Recurring controls: Lets you configure the automation profile to run periodically.

Ends by controls: Lets you specify an end date for recurring execution.

QPS event-triggered tasks

When QPS Event is selected for Execution Type, the screen looks like this:

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THE AUTOMATION SERVICES USER INTERFACE

QPS Event area

This area contains the following controls:

Trigger On drop-down menu: Lets you choose an event to trigger the automation profile. The Choose event button to the right displays the Choose Events dialog box, which lets you select multiple events.

Select Events dialog box

Asset Matches Search field: Lets you choose which search the trigger asset should match. The Manage Searches menu item displays the Manage Saved Searches dialog box, which lets you create or edit a saved search.

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