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Re: XML and Frame, what can it do?

Ron Nelson wrote:

> OK, here's what I've been tasked with.  Our company currently produces
> training manuals in FrameMaker. These are destined for print and online
> distribution.  Currently we distribute both directions using PDF, however,
> there are some potential drawbacks to distributing a large PDF manual over
> the web.  Now we'd like to move toward XML for our online manuals.  My
> questions are:
>     1. Is anyone using Frame 5.5.6s XML export and how is it?

It's okay, but I find it annoying that things like table cell bordering seem to get
shunted out to the CSS file, where I can't put it to use. If you want to get an
unstructured document into XML, it does a good job of it - exactly how useful that
XML is depends on your data.

>     2.  Can DTDs and EDDs be created for XML as with SGML?

Sort of - if you give an SGML parser the right SGML declaration, it will import XML
believing that it's SGML. I'm using this for a project at the moment and have been
happy with it so far. I'd be very surprised if very comprehensive XML support
didn't arrive in the next version or two.

>     3.  If so, can elements be searched easily

Far more easily than SGML. In SGML you were restricted to OmniMark and a couple of
other applications capable of really making sense out of the data - with XML you
could use the DOM (for one) to expose the tree.

>     4.  is there any way for an XML document to be translated back to Frame
> for repurposing or further editing?

Yes, as long as you provide the right configuration. You don't actually want to
convert from SGML to XML, you want them to be ubiquitous. This is very possible in
many cases, though without knowing exactly what you're doing, I couldn't say for

> I'm fairly new to the arena of markup languages so any help - even "forget
> about it, it can't be done" - is appreciated.

Don't accept that as an answer - it is not true in many/most cases. You do need to
be using FrameMaker+SGML though, not just FrameMaker.


Marcus Carr                      email:  mrc@allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
       - Einstein

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