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Re: building xml based database publishing ?


We are currently migrating towards XML. A few pointers:

 - Which features of XML do you need? 
   XML may be fashionable, but not worth the changeover from
   FM. In our case we are splitting up 8000 procedures into
   80.000 sections, and then weed out all 'double' sections.
   An XML repository (database in peoplespeak) combines these
   sections into about 2000 XML procedures that are valid for
   all configurations, whereby the XML switches on or off
   certain sections depending on the configuration you are
   working on. This looks like a perfect setup for authors,
   but our management approved it only because it saved on
   translation costs (we calculated we have 60% redundant FM
   sections, so translation is 60% cheaper with XML for us).

 - Which editor and database?
   SGML and XML systems can be expensive because of the many
   dependencies you want to enforce, turning each system into
   a custom-built application. We chose Oracle iFS and Arbortext
   Epic editor, along with some custom programming for UI and
   links into databases for System and SW configuration and
   parts and tools. One snag we already found is that although
   we selected Epic as the editor because it also runs on Solaris,
   the Epic connector to Oracle iFS is not available under UNIX. 
   Another one is that FM7 will arrive too late for us, but you
   may wait a little longer to preserve your investment in FM

 - DTD or schema?
   DTDs are SGML related, but also work in XML while the
   standardizing bodies finalize XML's schemas. The advantage
   of schemas is more control over the format of the data. We
   had to choose for DTD, but already prepared it to easily
   migrate to Schema once supported by the editor we chose. 

 - If you go for web-only output, buy Illustrator 901 or 10,
   and turn all your graphics into SVG, the XML format for
   scalable vector graphics. Adobe also has the SVGviewer plugin
   for free to look at SVG files, but again not for UNIX or Linux.
   It is to be expected that SVG viewing capability will be picked
   up by the browsers, just like they adopted the PNG format.

There is also a wealth of XML related info on Internet.


Cas Tuyn

> I have a number of manuals done in Framemaker. They are maintained
> and updated regularly in several languages. I'd like to turn the
> whole thing into xml based database publishing - but where to start ?
> Can anyone help me out with some advice.
> At present there is no database - I only have the manuals which are
> very stringently made in terms of formatting.

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