Migrating from Unstructured to Structured FrameMaker


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Presented at DocTrain East 2007 Conference by Sarah O'Keefe, Scriptorium -- This session is intended for current unstructured FrameMaker users who are considering a move to structured authoring and structured FrameMaker. Participants will learn how to assess problems in their current authoring environment, analyze whether XML and structure can help or not, plan for a structured authoring implementation, build conversion rules tables to migrate content from unstructured to structured FrameMaker, and more.

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Migrating from Unstructured to Structured FrameMaker

  1. 1. Migrating from Unstructured Agenda to Structured FrameMaker Reviewing structure implementation The FrameMaker structured application Sarah O'Keefe Conversion rules tables Scriptorium Publishing Eternal mysteries www.scriptorium.com Resources 2 About those blank slides... Why structure? No, I didn't forget to fill them in. Must move to Linux/can't use FM any more I'm looking for audience participation on repurpose content for web/print these slides. DITA? unified schema reduce reliance on proprietary tools (get rid of ePublisher Pro) it might increase efficiency? future-proof my content company-driven...buzz 3 4 Reviewing structure Why structure? implementation automated content generation Twelve-step process no more reinventing the wheel Work in FrameMaker begins in step five streamline data exchange/localization RH>>languages/XML easier distributed team enforce template easier content sharing 5 6
  2. 2. Implementation effort DITA? (a twelve-step process) 1. Identify implementation 7. Set up output paths. standard goals. 8. Develop documentation. 2. Define roles. content reuse? 9. Deliver training. 3. Establish timelines. 10.Convert legacy documents. topic-based organization 4. Perform structure analysis. 11.Create change predefined architecture (no content 5. Create structure definition management process. modeling?) files. 12.Provide transition support What if your content doesn't match? 6. Set up legacy conversion and validate process. implementation. role-based content/conditionalization 7 8 What makes FrameMaker a good choice for structure? <topic customer=quot;a,cquot; platform=quot;winquot; structure view output=quot;onlinequot;> print preview/visual editor ... already have it </topic> lower learning curve? really nice PDF/easy to create and format authoring/publishing in one package going to be around for a while 9 10 What makes FrameMaker a What are FrameMaker's good choice for structure? disadvantages? other people don't have it print oriented author mindset configuration configuration is difficult ...conversion of legacy content is horrid no specialization support for DITA predefined DTD requirement? 11 12
  3. 3. Creating an element definition EDD syntax document (EDD) Pattern language programming Element specification syntax same as in EDD is a structured FrameMaker file DTDs Learning structured authoring while ? (question mark) – zero or one creating an EDD is quite challenging * (asterisk) – zero or many + (plus) – one or many , (comma) – sequence of elements | (pipe) -- Or ( ) (parentheses) – for grouping 13 14 EDD creation process Element types in the EDD Elements and attributes first Containers Then add formatting Text range (character tag equivalent) Cross-references Markers Variables Graphics Table components 15 16 What is the best formatting Formatting choices in your EDD approach? Reference paragraph/character tags Downstream, ePublisher Pro requires Format change lists paragraph/character tags. Embedded formatting Using an existing formatting template will save development time. Format change lists allow inheritance. Embedded formatting and format change lists are harder for authors to modify. 17 18
  4. 4. What is the best formatting Structured application approach for you? A set of configuration files Not a “software application” “An application of structure” to a particular problem 19 20 FrameMaker structured Basic structured application application components Element definition Read/write rules document (EDD) Extensible Formatting Stylesheet template Language (XSL) Document type transformation files definition (DTD) or FrameMaker schema file Developer's Kit structapps.fm file (FDK) code 21 22 Real-life structured application Read/write rules vs. XSL vs. FDK Difference is not always clear. Read/write rules FrameMaker-specific items, such as table XSL widths or graphic attributes FDK XSL Rearranging, reordering, filtering content FDK Things that are impossible with 23 read/write rules or XSL 24
  5. 5. FDK examples Good news/bad news Automatic assignment of IDs and ID You can do almost anything with FDK validation across a book. development. Mapping of FrameMaker equation If your project requires FDK work, expect information to MathML the cost to skyrocket. Extraction of callouts from FrameMaker anchored frame Mapping of ID-based cross-references to file-based linking (DITA) 25 26 Other bits...not technically part FrameScript of application Conversion rules table for unstructured to Inexpensive structured content conversion Will pay for itself on first project FrameScript scripts for automation of No need to learn scripting; pay someone to tedious tasks write the scripts Document conversion ePublisher Pro/MIF2GO XSL transformation 27 28 Should you choose ePublisher Conversion rules table Pro or XSL transformation? need XSL person/need ePP person Map unstructured components onto stability of ePP elements licensing of ePP Finally, a reward for virtuous tagging need pretty cross-platform, cross-browser Don't expect 100 percent automation help XSL is faster ePP is easier to configure/basics 29 30
  6. 6. What about DITA? Should you use DITA? Darwin Information Typing Architecture 30% maybe, ?? Standard structure for modular no content modeling (only not) documentation separate format vs. content (all XML) FrameMaker has support for DITA built OOB authoring tool support into version 8 widely known hype Easy enough even for technical writers (!) What about DocBook? 31 32 The $64,000 question: How much DITA? will migration to structure cost? software support Analyze content topics are nice Research, choosing, configuring, buying context-sensitive help? (Tony Self) software/tools multiple outputs Write the business case difficult to implement? (easier than the Get buy-in alternatives??) (Re-)Training, learning new tools vendor-independent? Conversion Contractors/consultants 33 34 Cost Cost Shift from not-topic-based to topic-based Turnover in staff Technical support for configuration Change resistance Additional tools Complexity Productivity LOSS Upper management support/executive CMS? sponsorship/quot;eliminatingquot; change resistance Training Personality issues/disruption/change Software change management management M-O-N-E-Y 35 36
  7. 7. Cost Cost contributors Ongoing training Number of authors Transition plan Document complexity Exit strategy (quot;what if?quot;) Number of documents to be converted Software support (vendor commitment) Degree of customization of structure required Number of deliverable types Number of supported languages Amount of training required 37 38 How much time will migration Cost contributors to structure require? Complexity Not less than six months. Velocity 39 40 What are the factors that affect Size factors implementation size? Geography In-house expertise and availability Resources? Who are the stakeholders? 41 42
  8. 8. Recommendations And random thoughts DITA: Analyze how well DITA fits your Avoid FDK programming if possible to content, then make a decision minimize costs. FrameMaker for publishing: If you need Understand FrameMaker's object model attractive print/PDF, FrameMaker is the and work within that model to simplify way to go. development. FrameMaker for authoring: If your existing If possible, start from FrameMaker content is in unstructured FrameMaker, structure rather than from a DTD. structured FrameMaker offers a gentler path into XML-based authoring. Also consider a mixed workflow. 43 44 Print challenges ePublisher Pro FrameMaker provides excellent print and Use it if you need a format such as PDF support. WebWorks Help Most other structured workflows do not. If you have existing ePublisher Pro The trade-off is that FrameMaker has templates, continue using them for the time distinct preferences for your content being. structure. To combine Word/FrameMaker/DITA content, consider it. Otherwise, switch to vanilla XSL transformation. 45 46 XSL transformation XSL-FO for single sourcing For generation of other markup (HTML) Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting from XML content Objects Open standard Would replace FrameMaker for print Parsers are free and open source production If you can write scripts, you can write XSL FrameMaker is much easier to use and produces nicer output Learning curve is significant Appropriate for batch processing, on-the- fly generation of PDF, and other specialized uses 47 48
  9. 9. Will you switch from Localization FrameMaker to XSL-FO? for batch processing... Ship XML, not structured FrameMaker, to for languages not supported in your localization vendor. FrameMaker Build localized templates/structured for Linux environments... applications/XSL transformation. PDF is just a check-off Unicode now supported in v8. No support for right-to-left languages (Hebrew, Arabic). 49 50 Learning curve Final and most important issue It's steep. Change resistance Consider multiple training stages. Critical factor in determining success or Divide and conquer failure of the entire effort One person learns EDDs One person learns XSL Consultants can help. 51 52 Resources Resources FrameMaker Developer Connection FrameScript, www.framescript.com Structured Application Developer's Guide Rick Quatro, www.frameexpert.com, for Migration white paper custom FrameScript development www.adobe.com/devnet/framemaker/ XSLT Programmer's Reference, Michael Kay Scriptorium web site (scriptorium.com) FrameMaker Developer's Kit, available White papers from adobe.com Structured FrameMaker training Publishing Fundamentals: FrameMaker 7 (yes, we're working an update) 53 54
  10. 10. Contact information Q&A Sarah O'Keefe Scriptorium Publishing www.scriptorium.com okeefe@scriptorium.com +1 919 481-2701 x102 55 56