Success Stories

ASTM Leverages K4 to Automate Website Workflow


The client

ASTM International, founded as the American Society for Testing and Materials, develops technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services such as metals, fuels and electronics. Based in West Conshohocken, Pa., ASTM publishes a monthly magazine, Standardization News, and a product catalog with periodic supplements, plus other materials such as brochures, pamphlets and CD art.

The challenge

Like many publishers using the vjoon K4 Cross-Media Publishing Platform, ASTM wanted to leverage the system to manage content not just for its various print products but also for its website. Before MEI created a custom solution to automate this process, ASTM editors had to manually extract text from finished layouts and paste it into a content management system, then go back into the content and format all the hyperlinks — referencing people, standards and internal and external resources — again, all by hand.

The solution

With a little help from MEI’s custom development team, these once-arduous routines were converted to automated steps in the vjoon K4 workflow. To resolve the cut-and-paste issue, MEI built a JavaScript utility that automatically maps ASTM’s InDesign/InCopy style tags to HTML tags when articles reach a certain point in production. This remapped content is then sent out of the database via the K4 XML Exporter add-on tool. Next, custom XSLT files process that XML output, generating web-ready files that can be ingested by ASTM’s CMS and easily laid out using HTML templates.

A unique — and especially crucial — part of MEI’s solution was the development of a tool to streamline the formatting of the massive amount of hyperlinks interspersed through ASTM’s content. MEI actually created several JavaScripts that recognize certain text strings and format the link type appropriate to the text string. The tools also make it easier for authors and editors to manually define and format hyperlink text within the InDesign interface. Thanks to MEI’s custom utilities, all hyperlinks are properly tagged so they can be exported and translated along with the rest of the XML content.