View Full Version : Any Darwin users out there?

07-02-2008, 08:18 PM
I would like to hear from users of Darwin and Storefront. Get the pros and cons of using it with Prinergy and HP presses.

Im particularly interested in creating "on demand" documents. Your opinion on the training, ease of use, at what point it is best to choose the Pro version over the desktop version and things like that.

From the lack of responses I have gotten on some of the other forums I get the feeling there aren't that many users, compared to Pageflex or Printable

Carrell Wiers

07-03-2008, 01:34 AM
I have been a user of Darwin for about 7 years. Most recently with our purchase of Insite Storefront and iVDP as the front end for template creation.

Think of it as InDesign on steriods.

It really comes down to the applications you want to do and the skillset you have to do those applications.

If all your source documents are in InDesign, or you have no problem working in InDesign, then Darwin is great.

If you like using a PC for VDP composition, then Darwin is great. The mac version and intel Macs just doesn't cut it, IMO.

Comparing it to PageFlex or Printable FusionPro just isn't fair. They do different things.

Darwin is for designers who want to do limited variable data and the only gateway to Kodak Insite Storefront / iVDP.

If you are a coder and like programming solutions, then Darwin isn't for you.

Darwin is what it is, got some nice "features" and is comparable to XMPie's solution, but it is in a completely different class then FusionPro or PageFlex or GMC PrintNet T.

Not sure what you mean my creating "on demand" documents. So can't really comment on that.

It does have flexible output formats, but lacks HPJLT or whatever that format is for the HP Indigo, but the PPML / GA should work for the HP.

Never been officially trained, but it isn't hard to use, remember it is aimed at designers, so it is pretty much seemless on the Indesign side, and the Darwin Pilot is pretty easy to understand.

Composition is really slow compared to other solutions (except XMPie) because of its dependence on InDesign to render the content. So memory and CPU horsepower as well as disk speed make a big difference.

Comparing the Darwin solution to something like FusionPro or Pageflex is apples to oranges.

I'm sure the Darwin guys might have a slightly different opinion then I do so hopefully they'll jump in.

07-03-2008, 02:24 AM
Thanks for the reply.

I was under the impression I would use Darwin to create (among other things) web template jobs that a customer could then fill in their own information. Like a business card template or letterhead. (thats what I meant by "print on demand")

Sounds like Darwin is more for true Variable data stuff like mail addressing and customization. We currently use Yours Truely Designer from HP for that type of work and are looking for something a little more there robust too.

If that is the case, then my next question is where and how do you create these type of template jobs for Storefront?

Carrell Wiers

07-03-2008, 12:12 PM
I take offense to the placing of XMPie in the some category below these other products, particularly the horrible Fusion Pro. Maybe if you have only been exposed to the desktop version ....

We run our variable business on XMPie's server solution, and we compose A LOT of records every day. The programming is flexible and as powerful as you want it to be. It connects to more database formats that anyone else, has open APIs and offers seamless integration with whatever you want it to. The programming is easy to get started with, and can do preety much anything that you can think of without manipulating the original data. We have used it to create multi level marketing pieces that switch artwork based upon multiple demographics, complex financial statements that require data transformation within the programming, and complex marketing pieces that work with image libraries as large as 10,000+ images.

In any case, I really love the product, work with it daily, and hate to see it misrepresented. I find it much more powerful than Fusion Pro, as that's what we used to use, and hated for that matter. Anything more than basic stuff was an adventure in undocumented script writing. ugh. On top of it you had to work in a plugin environment in Acrobat - we all known how kludgy Acrobat's plgin environment is, look at how stable the Prinergy Trap Editor and Pitstop are.

07-03-2008, 12:19 PM
I was only comparing desktop versions, so please don't take offense.

Darwin is to XMpie Desktop as iVDP is to XMpie Server Solutions.

So, that probably clears up the original question.

iVDP through Storefront is what you are looking for which uses the free Darwin Designer to create the templates.

For this, Darwin is super simple and really easy to do (on a pc). If you are on a mac, then things get a bit complicated but it is doable.

The integration between Darwin and iVDP isn't perfect but is improving at light speed.

Pageflex has a web based authoring / editing tool which is pretty cool but not sure if its practical, unless your customers want to edit templates.

XMPie has a similar solution which has its ups and downs, it is a far more mature product but doesn't have basic concepts like due date when a customer orders something.

FusionPro Web / Server is a decent solution if you are a coder, like the previous poster said, you have to write a lot of code to get what you want.

So hopefully that answers your question. For web based customization, Storefront / iVDP with Darwin (free version) works just fine for the simple customization templates and is really easy to set up the basic templates.

Of course, this is just my opinion, everyone has them, few share them.