Comparing DITA Support in XMetaL and FrameMaker
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Comparing DITA Support in XMetaL and FrameMaker






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Comparing DITA Support in XMetaL and FrameMaker Comparing DITA Support in XMetaL and FrameMaker Presentation Transcript

  • Comparing DITA support in XMetaL and FrameMaker
      • Simon Bate
      • Scriptorium Publishing
  • Agenda
    • Authoring
    • Conditional processing
    • Generating output
    • Cross-references and conrefs
    • Map files
    • Specialization
    • Consider your needs
  • About the presenter
    • Based in Research Triangle, North Carolina
    • Senior Technical Consultant at Scriptorium
    • 30+ years experience in Technical Publications
    • Long-time FrameMaker user
    • Instructor for Scriptorium classes:
      • XMetaL DITA
      • XSL in Publications
  • A note about Scriptorium
    • Affiliated with Adobe as Adobe Authorized Training Center
    • Affiliated with JustSystems as a Certified Services Partner
    • Nonetheless, I think you'll find this presentation quite candid about each tool's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Questions
    • Please ask questions.
    • I may defer some questions to the end of the presentation.
  • FrameMaker highlights
    • High-quality print/PDF output
    • Formatting control is built in
    • Ability to "tweak" formatting, such as page breaks
    • WYSIWYG for print/PDF
  • XMetaL highlights
    • Ability to edit XML directly
    • Integration with DITA Open Toolkit
    • Not WYSIWYG for print
    • Specialization support
    • DITA 1.1 support
  • XMetaL Authoring highlights
    • Code ("plain text") view
    • Structure view (block only)‏
    • Format-neutral WYSIOO presentation
    • No invalid content allowed
    • Elements grouped by type (Insert menu)‏
  • FrameMaker authoring highlights
    • WYSIWYG for print/PDF
    • Structure view is complete
    • Document window/structure view combination
    • Invalid content allowed
  • Conditional processing in FrameMaker
    • Traditional FrameMaker conditions
      • In 8.0, allows expressions
      • FM information is saved in XML output
      • But the information is not DITA
    • Use attributes
      • Special > Filter by attributes
  • ditaval files
    • FrameMaker:
      • only when using DITA Open Toolkit
    • XMetaL:
      • hidden by conditional GUI
      • Use Export to create ditaval file
  • Generating output in XMetaL
    • Open Toolkit
    • RenderX for PDF via Open Toolkit
    • HTML-based help
  • Generating output in FrameMaker
    • PDF
    • Open Toolkit (install plug-in)‏
    • FrameMaker book from DITA map
    • HTML-based help
  • Cross-references in FrameMaker
    • FrameMaker <fm-xref> element
      • Only reference a selected set of elements
      • Creates active links in PDF files
    • DITA <xref> elements
      • Can reference any element in any topic
      • Can contain alternate text (not just the title)‏
      • Does not create active links in PDF files
  • Cross-references in XMetaL
    • Insert > Link
      • Cross-reference
      • File reference
      • Web link
    • Can change text in <xref> element
    • Converted correctly in Open Toolkit
  • conrefs in XMetaL
  • conrefs in FrameMaker
  • Map files in FrameMaker
  • Map files in XMetaL
  • Specialization
    • XMetaL
      • Many hooks for specialization
    • FrameMaker
      • Nothing built-in
      • Could modify EDD
  • Which has better DITA support?
    • For print/PDF output: FrameMaker
    • For DITA authoring: XMetaL
    • For print WYSIWYG: FrameMaker
    • For output-neutral formatting: XMetaL
    • No clear winner.
  • How important is print publishing?
    • It's much easier to produce high-end print/PDF from FrameMaker.
    • Print/PDF publishing through Open Toolkit is not satisfactory.
    • WYSIWYG presentation in FrameMaker is a plus for print-centric workflows.
    • WYSIOO presentation in XMetaL is a plus for authoring without focusing on print.
  • How much control should authors have?
    • Because FrameMaker combines authoring and publishing, authors have more control
      • Can create and publish with invalid content
    • XMetaL enables DITA authoring; separates out publishing
      • Does not allow invalid content in normal authoring.
      • Think workflow and sharing topics
  • Do you need cross-browser, cross-platform help?
    • HTMLHelp (CHM)‏
      • Not cross-platform
      • XMetaL and FrameMaker (3 rd -party or OT)‏
    • XHTML-based Help
      • FrameMaker and 3 rd -party converters
    • Eclipse Help
      • XMetaL and FrameMaker (via OT)‏
      • Requires Eclipse infrastructure
  • Transition issues
    • Current unstructured FrameMaker users will find structured FrameMaker easier than XMetaL (mostly).
    • Developer types may prefer XMetaL.
    • FrameMaker includes conversion utility. (Of course, you could convert in FrameMaker and then use the converted content in another XML tool.)‏
  • Do you need to specialize?
    • You will have to implement FrameMaker support yourself.
    • XMetaL supports use of specialized DTDs.
  • Graphics
    • Many more formats supported in FrameMaker.
    • In XMetaL, PDF output with EPS images requires Acrobat Distiller.
    • Callouts a problem in either:
      • Layers in graphic file?
      • FrameMaker callouts are flattened on export to XML.
  • Attributes
    • Attributes Inspector (XMetaL) is easier to use than Attributes Editor (FrameMaker).
    • But...attributes show up in FrameMaker structure view and not in XMetaL structure view.
  • Summary
    • Your priorities will dictate which tool is a better fit for your organization.
    • Each application has significant strengths and weaknesses.
    • Authoring paradigms are significantly different.
  • Resources
    • DITA @ OASIS
      • tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=dita
    • White papers
      • Available on CD at our booth
    • Please leave a business card or your email address if you want the handouts.
  • Contact information
    • Simon Bate
    • Scriptorium Publishing Services
    • [email_address]
    • 919 481-2701 x106
  • Questions