Re: [xml-doc] FrameMaker and XML
- It might be good to separate what you author originally from what you want
to save and retrieve.
If you can create XML from your authoring tool and if the XML is
modularized so that you can identify the topics you want to store
individually, you can use XSLT to break up the content when you store it.
If you must retrieve the material as both individual modules and as the
original document you authored, you can leave behind a master document
with entity references or Xincludes to identify what modules it included
before breakup and storage. Retrieving the entire document is then
supported by opening the master document in a tool that allows you to
follow and get the modules from where you stored them.
We would use Arbortext's Epic for this because it is both capable of
native XML authoring and of supporting the additional processing needed to
create and retrieve content in a variety of ways. The one thing you
probably want to avoid is any tool that uses a proprietary internal format
and creates the XML on the output side. This injects a level of ambiguity
into the process that is likely to confound you as you go.
X.Systems, Inc. ...content solutions for the Internet Age
Jim Light <Jim.Light@...>
02/08/2005 11:40 AM
Please respond to
[xml-doc] FrameMaker and XML
What I want is a tool that enables me to:
- Author thousands of structured, inter-related topics, in a series of
large source files
- create cross references among all the topics and source files
- Save each topic as an individual file in a database
- Search the database for topics using a number of different criteria
- Display a topic in a web browser
- Click on links to related topics
We already use FrameMaker, and structured FrameMaker helps us enforce a
degree of consistency among the authors. We need to put individual topics
a database, so generating XML would seem like a promising way to help with
identification, storage, retrieval, and display.
FrameMaker can certainly save my file as XML but I need to retrieve
individual topics. Retrieving the whole file and showing a bookmarked
location is not appropriate for this situation. I need to break the XML up
into separate topics and add anchor tags for cross references among them.
FrameMaker cannot do that.
WebWorks Publisher can transform my FrameMaker file into an XML file with
CSS file for formatting or it can generate individual XHTML (and CSS)
with cross-references, but no XML. But it cannot do both. The need for
individual topics and cross references is critical.
Basically we had to abandon XML as a way to identify stuff because of the
restrictions it imposes. (Writing a program to do what we need is not an
option for us.) So now we generate separate topics in XHTML using WebWorks
and use other methods besides XML to identify and store the topics. We
gave up on identifying any internal elements.
We have looked at XMLSpy, and XSL Maker. Neither can handle what we need.
If XML ever becomes a means for helping us do what we need to do then I'll
use it, but I'll have to wait for a tool that we can pass out to all the
technical writers. I suppose if enough people ever need to do what I have
described, and XML is a way to do it, then a tool will emerge.
Suggestions are welcome.
3553 N. First St.
San Jose, Ca 95134
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- Hi Jim
> - Author thousands of structured, inter-related topics, in aseries of
> large source filescriteria
> - create cross references among all the topics and source files
> - Save each topic as an individual file in a database
> - Search the database for topics using a number of different
> - Display a topic in a web browserwe had a similar task.
> - Click on links to related topics
Large documents originally from Word and now as large XML files are
present (conversion from Word to XML via Schema MarkupKit
1. Transformation to DITA via XSLT
2. Split the DITA file in DITA Topics
3. Save the DITA Topics in a data base (MySQL)
DITA as a topic-oriented architectur is a suitable basis for this
concept. We realized the validation, the splitting and executing of
the XSLT scripts as a small TCL-programm with GUI.
Related links are correctly transformed, the individual DITA Topics
are stored in XML-files. The file names correspond to the topic-ids.
The topic-ids are assigned automatically as ascending numbers.
Incrementation and offset are configurable.
The splitting programm generates a topic-list which represent the
structure of the source file. Other scripts creates image-lists and
reports for debugging.
We can edit or create (in the near future directly from the data base)
such own topic-lists (DITA map files). On this basis we export the
topics from the database and produce a large DITA output file
Now it's time for XSLTs to generate pdf (via FOP), as well as XHTML
and HTML Help.
Our problem now: XML-editing on topic level, for example when small
changes are necessary. We realized a small text-editor in the GUI oft
the splitting programm, but this is only a quick and dirty solution.
We prefer open source tools. Editors like XMETAL or Adept are no real
Editing in the XML code is not a large problem for specialists, but
very difficult and stressfull for "normal people".
Technical documentation, www.infodok.de
Ringstrasse 69, 73666 Baltmannsweiler
- Melanie is right but she left out one thing. . .
be sure to have a lot of extra cash laying around to fly in vendor
consultants to discuss your "solution" with you before signing your
company up for a costly support contract and expert design and
Both systems she mentioned, regardless of the vendor, are far from
"anyone step up," trivial, turnkey undertakings for most.
Also, be prepared for your company's "sticker shock" reaction at these
"free" XML tools. I don't care to count how often that is given as a
"reason" for turning to XML.
> FrameMaker can certainly save my file as XML but I need to retrieveup
> individual topics. Retrieving the whole file and showing a bookmarked
> location is not appropriate for this situation. I need to break the XML
> into separate topics and add anchor tags for cross references amongthem.
> FrameMaker cannot do that.Sounds like you might want an XML database. (Yes, despite my rant
about how things have piled up around a simple standard, some people
need some of these things or they wouldn't get created. It's just a
matter of figuring out what pieces you need & which to ignore.)
Anyway. Storing your topics in a database like Apache Xindice might
give you what you want -- the ability to keep related topics in a
single file for editing purposes & retrieve just one of them when
Larry Kollar, Senior Technical Writer, ARRIS
"Content creators are the engine that drives
value in the information life cycle."
-- Barry Schaeffer, on XML-Doc