I write blog posts and create an ever-expanding amount of marketing content for our company. I often have to find free stock images, and I am impressed with how good the public domain offerings are getting. Here are the sources that seem to rise to the top.

Things to watch out for

Before getting to the sites, I should note that copyright law is important to follow and there are certainly different forms of "free" license. Public Domain Sherpa and Creative Commons provide great information about license types. Generally speaking, I prefer "free to use, including modification, for commercial use, without attribution" but I consider attribution if that's all that's available. In any case, it’s important to know which license you are using. "CC0" is nice as it doesn't require attribution.

Enough watching out, here are the sites...

I recently participated in a presentation at Dscoop Phoenix with three companies that I've known for over a decade: Pageflex, XMPie, and Marcom Central. We had joined a "Composition Engine Panel Discussion" with web-to-print luminaries Jen Matt (of web2printexperts.com) and Chris Reisz-Hanson.

It was quite an honor to be on this panel, but an even greater honor has been the opportunity to work with these companies' rendition technologies since they first came on the scene. I have been involved in solutions involving all four technologies, and I've met the developers critical to the success of the underlying rendition codebases. These range from: FusionPro, the composition engine under Marcom, which dates from the 1980s; to PageFlex, the PDF rendition library from BitStream also originating in the 1980s; to InDesign, dating from the late 1990s. InDesign is the engine that we and XMPie use - it was created in part by our staff.

Adobe InDesign is the tool of choice for page layout, yet it is a relatively old piece of software, originating in the late 1990s. While InDesign has a concept of "links", its initial approach to graphic references was fundamentally that of desktop software prior to the age of the world wide web. Concepts of linked text in InDesign have evolved slowly over the past 15 years.

A link in InDesign is not, by default, a URL, as one might expect of today's programs. Instead, InDesign links are pointers to assets that are local (on the physical drive of the computer running InDesign) or available across the local network (via a network share). A simple plug-in (our Silicon Connector) can bring InDesign into the modern age, where true URLs enable cloud-based workflows, but we'll get to that later.

Historically, Silicon Publishing has delivered publishing solutions across a gamut of communications channels. In the first place, our Silicon Paginator product (first released in 2005 as the "XML Formatting Engine"), is a platform for flowing data through InDesign templates. As in traditional XML publishing, Paginator generates web, email, print and mobile app output from a single rendition-agnostic content source (or from diverse, orchestrated, content sources).

Multi-channel rendition, connectivity and interfacing are persistent themes in our practice, ever since the late 1990s when "multi-channel" became a buzzword to deer-in-the-headlights printers faced with the need to generalize into "communications" from the too-physical, too-easily-commoditized, craft of print.

I remember a channel called "CD-ROM" and now face channels such as "WebVR", "IoT", and "geolocated social" - the only constant is change.

Silicon Connector for Box 2.0 is finally available! When Silicon Connector for Box first came out in 2013, it was designed to let InDesign users access assets in the Box cloud directly. Since then, the Connector product has become so popular that we've added Connectors for 10 other DAMs/storage platforms. We have gotten continually better at extending Adobe Creative Cloud technologies, and we have now applied that experience to bring integration between Adobe CC and Box to an entirely new level.

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