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Importing Graphics as Text Insets

I've never heard anyone on either Framers list discuss the advantages of
importing text insets for graphics and equations.

This is my panegyric to that approach.

In my previous posts on the advantages of using an FM+SGML graphic
conversion utility to produce graphics and equations for both structured and
unstructured FM documents, I also extolled the virtues of importing graphics
and equations by reference as as text insets.

It must be emphasized, however, that anyone using FrameMaker or FM+SGML can
implement this approach on any project, with or without a graphic conversion

In particular, the creation of one or more FrameMaker master text inset
files containing most of the graphics and equations for a project has many
noteworthy advantages. Here are some of them:

1. Each graphic or equation in a master text inset file is an integral,
completely packaged, ready-to-deliver entity. That is:
	a. The graphic or equation is pre-sized for final
	b. The anchored frame containing the graphic or equation is
	   adjusted to have the proper  size, and either the
           anchoring properties or the empty anchoring paragraph is
           set to obtain the desired positioning ot the anchored 
	c. The text inset can even include the figure title, with a
	   cross-reference marker inserted so it can be cross-
	   cross-referenced in any document where it is used. When
	   a text inset is imported into a document, by reference, 
	   specifying  that  the text inset should be reformatted
           using current document's catalogs, the correct
	   number will be assigned to it.
	d. Each graphic or equation is placed in a uniquely named 
           text flow. The text flow name, for example, could be the
           same as the figure or equation title, or it could be an
           art file number or board number that is embedded in
           the graphic or equation.
Consequently, authors only need to know the descriptive text flow name of a
graphic or equation in order to select it for import as a text inset. No
longer must the author know the actual filename of the graphic, and its
directory location, in order to import it, and they're always assured that
they are importing the most current version. Nor do authors have to be
concerned with properly sizing, positioning, and titling the graphic or
equation. That's all done for them in the master text inset file.

2. Write access to the master text inset files can be controlled, preventing
unauthorized changes. When authorized changes are made, a configuration
management audit trail for all graphics and equations can be created for use
in  subsequent verification and validation activities. If each graphic or
equation has a unique art file number or board number embedded in it, these
numbers can be referenced in the audit trail. All graphics and equations,
including those created in native FrameMaker format with the drawing and
equation tools, are edited/updated in a single place--the master text inset
files that  contain them.

3. Problems with imported graphics turning into gray boxes are mostly
eliminated, because all external graphics in the master text inset files are
imported by reference. If gray boxes do appear, the problem only has to be
fixed in one place.

4. All imported by reference graphics in the master text inset files can use
absolute pathnames. When a text inset is imported by reference from a master
text inset file into a document, absolute pathnames are also used.
Consequently, moving documents to a different directory on the same platform
does not break the existing text inset links in the document. Also, the only
directory strutures that must be replicated if documents are moved to a
different platform are those for the imported-by-reference graphics and the
master text inset files. Documents on the new platform can reside anywhere
without breaking the text inset links.

5. If there are quality or resolution problems with graphics, either for
on-line viewing or printing, those problems can be recoginized well in
advance of final production, simply by outputting the master text inset
files to the final delivery format (e.g., printed copy, HTML, or PDF).

6. The complete library of graphics and equations in master text inset files
can be periodically distributed to authors as PDF files, so that they are
fully aware of what graphics and equations are available for use. If the
unique text flow name assigned to each graphic corresponds to the figure or
equation title, or to a unique embedded art file number or board number, it
is easy for the author to select the graphic or equation (s)he wants to
import as a text inset.

7. By putting all master text inset files into a book, and then using
FrameMaker to generate a list of imported graphics, a complete list of all
imported graphics used in a project can be generated. Similarly, in the book
file containing the actual document files, a generated list of imported text
insets can be produced. These lists can then be correlated to verify that
each graphic and equation in the book is being used properly.

Importing graphics and equations as text insets can eliminate all the
objections frequently raised about importing graphics by reference (see item
4 above). The use of master text inset files can greatly improve
verification, validation, and configuration control activities (see items 2
and 7 above). Also problems with graphic quality and resolution in the final
delivery format can be identified well in advance of final production (see
items 3 and 5 above). By pre-packaging all graphics and equations, and by
distributing to authors in PDF form the graphics and equations available in
the master text inset files, significant gains in authoring productivity can
be realized (see items 1 and 6 above). In particular, unnecessary
duplication of existing graphics can be eliminated, and reuse of available
graphics and equations in the master text inset files is maximized.
     | Nullius in Verba |
Dan Emory, Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971 E-Mail: danemory@primenet.com
10044 Adams Ave. #208, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

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