Adobe InDesign CS - No Backward Compatibility
I made a nasty little discovery today. InDesign CS (or 3.0, whichever you prefer) is not backward compatible with InDesign 2.
Our in-house design group recently upgraded to Adobe’s new Creative Suite. Because we are strictly an InDesign house (we don’t even own a copy of QuarkXpress), one of the driving reasons behind the upgrade was the new features in InDesign CS like contextual palettes and improved color management.
Well, after several traumatic installs with missing DLLs galore, the CS programs are up and running, interestingly enough, concurrently with the older versions of PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign.
However, I made a nasty little discovery today. InDesign CS (or 3.0, whichever you prefer) is not backward compatible with InDesign 2. In the help files of IDCS, there’s a tiny blurb that says:
You can export InDesign CS documents in InDesign Interchange format (.INX) for compatibility with InDesign 2.0. To open these documents in version 2.0, you’ll need to obtain and install the Scripting plug-in and the XML Reader plug-in. You can obtain these plug-ins from the Adobe Web site.
Well, the export function out of IDCS works just fine. True enough, it produces an Interchange file that opens up just fine in IDCS (with some minor glitches in text rendering) but is completely unrecognized in ID2.
So off to adobe.com to find the required plug-ins. Well, lo and behold, they’re not there. Not only are they not anywhere in the main download page, they are not in the Windows or Macintosh download pages of InDesign. Conducting a search on the Adobe site produces nothing relevant; their Search function is about as useful as a Windows help file. So it’s off to Google. Again, nothing. A bunch of pages on Adobe Reader, endless PDF’s on Adobe’s XML marketing jargon and a few third party pages that mention PhotoShop 7’s scripting plug-in. And when I go back to Adobe to triple-check, I go to the page “Help With Downloading” and click on “Unable to Find the File I Want to Download.” Whoops, there’s a 404 error.
This lack of supporting legacy formats is standard across the CS line, but not nearly as severe in Illustrator and Photoshop. An Adobe knowledgebase document sheds some light on the reasoning behind not supporting older formats, citing a new type rendering engine that is simply too different from the previous model.
However, for a company to claim some level of reverse compatibility and then not provide a means to attain it is inexcusable. The situation poses a serious problem with users who happily shelled out the loot for the new functionality of CS. For a company that is so obviously gunning for Quark’s throat, they would have been wise to release a fully functioning product rather than locking users into a format their colleagues, printers and service bureaus may not have.
If anyone has any knowledge about this issue, please let me know. In this case, I want to stand corrected.