In just five years CHILI Publisher has become firmly established as one of the leading technology solutions for web-to-print. But strangely, it is not so well-known in the printing industry as other products in this space, and not even widely perceived as a web-to-print solution for printers. Perhaps it is because CHILI Publish describes it as a “document editing solution that’s making digital publishing easier, more efficient and more intuitive”.
“What’s that got to do with web-to-print?”, you may ask. I hope this Spotlight on CHILI Publish answers that question and will inspire you to visit their booth at drupa.
Who is CHILI Publish?
CHILI Publish is a Belgian company, founded by three entrepreneurs with a background in web development, database publishing, web-to-print and “a passion for graphics and technology”. Their original goal was “to build a powerful and flexible document editing solution that could fit seamlessly into any publishing workflow”. And that is exactly what they have achieved with CHILI Publisher.
The strengths of CHILI Publisher, in comparison with many other web-to-print solutions, are its raw graphical power, output versatility and adaptability to a variety of business tasks and market sectors. But unlike others it does not try to be an end-to-end solution. As they remark themselves, “Focusing on excellence means focusing!”.
And so CHILI Publish focuses on providing an engine that delivers exceptional graphical performance whilst enabling it to be integrated into a wide range of third-party workflows and business applications through a comprehensive API. There are even competitive web-to-print products such as XMPie’s uStore which have an integration with CHILI Publisher to enable XMPie users to “take advantage of its unique capabilities”.
So what is so special about CHILI Publisher? What makes it hot?
What does CHILI Publisher do?
The CHILI Editor application runs in any web browser. In the background there is a server engine that generates image previews and builds variable data jobs and a dashboard to organise your projects and assets. The most common web-to-print application is to create templates of graphical products that can be customised online by a remote user or customer. CHILI Publisher excels at this.
CHILI Publisher is unusual in that the Editor which is used to design templates and specify the static and variable elements is also deployed as the interface for your end-users to make edits. The Editor interface itself is completely configurable to that you can control not only what they can modify in a template, you can also control the range of editing tools you give them.
In a typical consumer online print service or a corporate brand management solution the CHILI Editor is deployed in a frame on a web page. This gives an unrivalled degree of flexibility in the way the CHILI Publisher is used – from total control in the hands of a professional user to complete lock-down for consumer products.
You can import static designs for templates from Adobe InDesign into CHILI Publisher and perform almost any advanced typography and complex layouts in CHILI Publisher that you could do in InDesign. To mention just a few of those:
- Paragraph and character styles
- Text along any path
- Text wrapping around any shapes
- Baseline grid alignment
- Adjustments to character kerning, tracking, leading and spacing
- Enhanced automatic copy-fitting with variable font sizes
- Layers, with visibility controls for alternative data-driven layouts
- Bookmarks and annotations
- Transparency and blends
- Variable content across multipage documents
There are also features which are especially useful in packaging, label and finance applications. The CHILI 3D Viewer allows you to collapse and expand folds and rotate layouts through 360° to view designs from any angle. This enables designers and clients to see real-world views on how a package or label will look on the shelf.
A “Dynamic Asset Provider” enables documents to be updated with images from external URL sources so that numbers, charts and diagrams in remote data sources or Excel files can be changed in real time. This can be used for on-demand production of personalised or confidential financial documents such as pension statements and company reports.
Integrations with Other Solutions
CHILI Publisher does not include any of the e-commerce functionality that other web-to-print solutions usually have. But it is designed to be easily integrated into third-party products to enable them to benefit from its best-of-breed online document editing capabilities. As well as the extension to XMPie uStore already mentioned there are several other notable integrations with CHILI Publisher.
- Esko. Designers can create templates in Adobe Illustrator® and upload them them to WebCenter, Esko’s web-based platform for managing packaging specifications, approvals and project life cycles. Brand owners can then open, view and edit them online using WebCenter’s embedded CHILI Editor with content like localised information, nutrition facts, compliance data.
- Enfocus. Switch is a versatile and powerful tool to build workflows, automate tasks and join processes together. A configurator for CHILI Publisher enables it to be automated and linked to other processes in complex workflows.
- EFI DirectSmile. CHILI Publisher users can connect directly to a DirectSmile Image Server to add DirectSmile personalized images to projects created with CHILI Publisher.
- Pageflex. The Pageflex to CHILI Publisher Connector enables users of Pageflex Storefront sites to edit templates, see 3D views and animated folds with the CHILI Editor.
Check out CHILI Publish’s other integration partners including Dalim, Tharstern, Xeikon, Xinet and more.
CHILI Publish at drupa
CHILI Publish will have booth F40 in Hall 7a at drupa. They promise something “really fresh and exciting” at drupa which they will announce soon (watch this space!). And they are inviting everyone to come and meet them, see a demo and join them for “Happy Hour” drinks at the end of each day.
Well worth a detour, in my opinion.