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Re: [dita-users] Basic DITA Tools question

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  • Alex Masycheff
    Hi, Let me start with answering your last question about the most seamless way to go from FrameMaker to XML to either PDF. We ve currently finished
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 2, 2009
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      Hi,

      Let me start with answering your last question about the most seamless way to go from FrameMaker to XML to either PDF. We've currently finished implementing several DITA-based solutions. All of them do not involve any CMS at this stage (though I believe, we'll move forward and implement a CMS after some initial CMS-less period) and are based on combination of the following tools:

      - FrameMaker (v.7.2 in one project and v.8 in two others). It costs something like $800.
      - DITA-FMx plugin from Leximation. It costs $185.

      This combination enables us to produce DITA topics, assemble them to DITA maps, and generate PDFs using the native FrameMaker functionality. This lets our clients define a look-and-feel (in fact, to define a FrameMaker template) without learning XSL.

      In addition to this initial configuration, we used additional tools depending on requrements to output formats.

      In one project, the client needed to produce a Web Help output in addition to PDF. Because they were using WebWorks before moving to DITA. We decided to stay with WebWorks and it worked just fine. Their workflow looks like this:

      1. They produce DITA topics in FrameMaker using the DITA-FMx plugin.

      2. Then they assemble a DITA map and generate a Frame book from this map.

      3. They add TOC, index, cover page, etc. and produce a PDF using the native Frame functionality.

      4. They use the same Frame-to-Web Help mapping as they used before. Because in the EDD and template we used the same formats as they used previously, they didn't have to make any changes to the WebWorks configuration.

      In another project, the client needed to produce CHM. We used DITA Open Toolkit for this so some customization of the DITA OT XSLs were required.

      Now, about choosing a CMS. I'm not sure I understand why you need it. If the only reason why you need it is assembling topics and generating an output - then why not to use the combination of tools I described above, especially if you are using FrameMaker.

      If you need a CMS for more effective management of your reusable topics, content variations, access rights, etc. - then it completely depends on your specific needs. The market is full of CMSs - SiberSafe, XDoc, DocZone, DITA Exchange, etc. All of them require different budget and efforts.

      In one more project, we used FrameMaker 8 with the Adobe DITA plugin (free, installed with FrameMaker) + the ABCM plugin (free) for filtering conditional content by attributes. It also worked just fine.

      You can contact me offline and I'll be happy to share with you my experience and give you more specific advises.

      Happy New Year!

      Alex


      --
      Alex Masycheff
      Senior XML Project Manager
      WritePoint Ltd.
      http://www.writepoint.com
      Mobile: 054 7 860 827

      --- On Thu, 1/1/09, blueskyze@... <blueskyze@...> wrote:
      From: blueskyze@... <blueskyze@...>
      Subject: [dita-users] Basic DITA Tools question
      To: dita-users@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Thursday, January 1, 2009, 4:09 AM

       
       Hi, I have been at three companies now and each has tried a different combination of DITA tools.  I was wondering if anyone could provide some wisdom and real-life advice for which works best in a mid-size company that is growing and badly in need of DITA because of its high reuse potential.  We are also facing the problem of having to use NROFF, created for man pages, and actually retyping the information into FrameMaker.  Essentially, we are typing the man pages twice.  DocBook perhaps? 
       
      At the first company, we chose a FrameMaker to Vasant solution and had an on-site tools guru hack his way through the XSLFO and XSLT for our output. 
       
      At the second company we used Arbortext Editor to Documentum, and hired a consultant for the output.  We also used Oxygen to tweak the XML. 
       
      At the third company we also used Arbortext Editor but chose Astoria for our CMS. 
       
      Now, our team is familiar with FrameMaker and a bit afraid of DITA.  We were hoping to start with FrameMaker 8.  The question now is which CMS to choose and which output tool to assemble the topics.  Mostly our issues are the tools since we have to convince management of the best way to go.  I am very aware of all the tasks required outside of choosing the tools.  My question is mostly about the most seamless way to go from FrameMaker to XML to either PDF or POD.
       
      Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks, and Happy New Year!

    • Yves Barbion
      Hi blueskyze I second Alex recommendations. If your team is familiar with FrameMaker, then DITA-FMx is definitely the way to go to author and publish DITA
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 5, 2009
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        Hi "blueskyze"

        I second Alex' recommendations. If your team is familiar with FrameMaker, then DITA-FMx is definitely the way to go to author and publish DITA content in a production environment. If you wish to get up and running with DITA authoring in FrameMaker quickly, we can offer you web-based DITA-FMx training. Check out Leximation's website for more information on DITA-FMx:

        http://www.leximation.com/dita-fmx/

        If you are looking for a smooth way to go from (unstructured) FM to DITA: use MIF2Go of Omni Systems (http://www.omsys.com). MIF2Go offers A LOT more possibilities than Frame's conversion tables. We've got a Captivate movie which shows you how this works.

        To publish your DITA XML content as PDF, I see two options:
        • Using the DITA Open Toolkit, but then you will need someone to develop (and update) your FO style sheets.
        • Using DITA-FMx: Generate Book from Map, and then save the FM book as PDF.

        Feel free to contact me off-list for more information about our DITA and FM classes or the Captivate movie.


        Cheers

        --
        Yves Barbion • Managing Director • Adobe-Certified FrameMaker Instructor
        www.scripto.nu  • skype: yves.barbion  • T: +32 494 12 01 89

      • blueskyze@comcast.net
        This recommendation seems unanimous. I so appreciate your input. One of my goals for 1H09 is to prepare a recommendation for DITA complete with costs and
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 5, 2009
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          This recommendation seems unanimous.  I so appreciate your input.  One of my goals for 1H09 is to prepare a recommendation for  DITA complete with costs and timelines.
           
          Thanks so much!
           
          -------------- Original message --------------
          From: "Yves Barbion" <yves.barbion@...>

          Hi "blueskyze"

          I second Alex' recommendations. If your team is familiar with FrameMaker, then DITA-FMx is definitely the way to go to author and publish DITA content in a production environment. If you wish to get up and running with DITA authoring in FrameMaker quickly, we can offer you web-based DITA-FMx training. Check out Leximation's website for more information on DITA-FMx:

          http://www.leximati on.com/dita- fmx/

          If you are looking for a smooth way to go from (unstructured) FM to DITA: use MIF2Go of Omni Systems (http://www.omsys. com). MIF2Go offers A LOT more possibilities than Frame's conversion tables. We've got a Captivate movie which shows you how this works.

          To publish your DITA XML content as PDF, I see two options:

          • Using the DITA Open Toolkit, but then you will need someone to develop (and update) your FO style sheets.
          • Using DITA-FMx: Generate Book from Map, and then save the FM book as PDF.

          Feel free to contact me off-list for more information about our DITA and FM classes or the Captivate movie.


          Cheers

          --
          Yves Barbion ��� Managing Director ��� Adobe-Certified FrameMaker Instructor
          www.scripto. nu  ��� skype: yves.barbion  ��� T: +32 494 12 01 89

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