Sitecore PXM & Adobe InDesign Compatibility Gotcha

While visiting with a client recently, there was a slot on the agenda to discuss Sitecore Print Experience Manager (PXM) and how its potential as part of their Sitecore ecosystem. Early that morning while sitting in my hotel room, I thought wouldn’t it be great if I could fire up a quick demo, for the benefit of anyone who wasn’t familiar with the product and show them it in action using actual content from their Sitecore instance.

The customer is currently running Sitecore 8.1 update 3 (rev. 160519).  So I headed over to Developer Portal Downloads to locate a compatible version of Sitecore Print Experience Manager (PXM):

Sitecore PXM Version Sitecore Compatibility
Sitecore PXM 8.2 rev. 170509
(released May 16, 2017)
Sitecore 8.2 update 3
Sitecore PXM 8.0 update 2
(released Jan 12, 2017)
Sitecore 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2 (and also Sitecore 7.1 – 7.5)
Sitecore PXM 8.0 update 1
(released Dec 11, 2015)
Sitecore 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2 (and also Sitecore 7.1 – 7.5
Sitecore PXM 8.0
(released Feb 12, 2015)
Sitecore 7.1 – 7.5

I grabbed a copy Installation Guide for PXM 8.0 update 2, which is pretty meaty at 32 pages.  There are two flavors of PXM setup you can perform, the install guide talks you through both:

  1. Individual Workstation – enables you to connect to the Sitecore PXM repository and use content within your documents using Indesign or InCopy.
  2. Automated Document Service – use Sitecore content in automatically generated Indesign documents (requires Indesign Server).

For the purposes of the demo, I was only interested in setting up the individual workstation using InDesign.  I’m not a designer and don’t use InDesign so I’ll need a copy of that too. The 30-day trial will do nicely.

To setup Sitecore PXM you need to:

  1. Download and install the PXM Core Package. This includes:
    • Sitecore items related to publishing (templates, rules, field types, and so on)
    • Web service for InDesign Connector
    • Http handler for InDesign Connector
    • Publishing Engine Library
    • Configuration (base configuration file and web service)
  2. Configure PXM
  3. Download and Install the InDesign Connector.

Compatibility Gotcha

The only available version of the InDesign Connector for PXM 8.0 update 2 is CC 2015, but my trial version of Adobe InDesign is CC 2017. So I tried the CC 2015 connector but it didn’t work.

Now PXM 8.2 does provide a connector for CC 2017 as well as CC 2015 so I tried it,  unfortunately, that didn’t work either.  By this stage, I was pretty much out of time to get my demo up and running and wishing I had just gone for breakfast and enjoying some bacon instead.

Shortly after our meeting, I checked with Sitecore Support on the compatibility of PXM 8.2 InDesign Connector CC 2017 with Sitecore 8.1 (rev. 160519). It turns out the “InDesign Connector CC 2017 was created specifically for the PXM 8.2 release, and other PXM versions are not compatible with it.”

So what are my options?

I do have some options if I wanted to push ahead and complete the setting up of the demo:

a. Downgrade Adobe Indesign to CC 2015.  Is that even possible? According to Adobe support, InDesign 2015 CC is not available as a trial version. However, if you purchase an InDesign license you can download InDesign 2015 CC. I could get a License for a month while I play with PXM.

b. Upgrade my Sitecore dev instance Sitecore 8.2 Update 3.

c. Fire up a vanilla Sitecore 8.2 update 3 or later and install the latest version of PXM 8.2 with InDesign CC 2017 connector.  I could install the Launch Sitecore package to provide some rich content for the purposes of the demo.

Lesson Learned

As you can see, if you are thinking about using Sitecore PXM there are some compatibility restrictions based on the version of Sitecore and the Adobe CC Product version your designer/content authors can use.  You might also want to consider the features the various PXM versions offer too.

Oh! And plan ahead for demos.

Useful PXM Material

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