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FrameMaker7 batching and XML work flows

FM7 Batching and XML Workflow Questions

With FM5.5.6 we use Unix fmbatch extensively to generate books from MIF documents stored in RCS repositories. This allows us to generated "current-state" books from whatever has been checked in. The ability to set cron jobs to automate these processes to run at scheduled times is an advantage of fmbatch that we have not found available on Windows. 

Batching question:
1) Is there a Win2000 based solution to such batching that has all functionality and reliability of Unix fmbatch? Being able to schedule tasks to automatically start up at a given time is critical. My Windows using compatriots have found both FrameScript and DZBatcher lacking. However, if your batching method relies on these tools and is working well, please let me know that and any special techniques you are using.

The benefits of the XML features of FM7 are something we are examining closely. More compact storage of XML rather than MIF is one benefit, along with the ability of other XML savvy tools to directly use the "current state" XML files directly from our repositories.

FM7 Unix fmbatch doesn't appear to have a command for opening XML files. This would seem to preclude the autogeneration of such files into books via fmbatch.

FM7<=>XML round-tripping questions:
1) What sort of processes are being used to automatically generate XML based documents in FM7?
2) What problems arise out of this approach and how are they avoided? [In other words, what impediments does the round-tripping of XML through FM7 impose either in the use of FM itself or other XML savvy tools? How do such "warts" as the Unicode=Markers trade-off in FM7 affect these concerns? What other warts do we need to know about?]
3) What Win2000 and/or Unix based tools are essential to your FM7<=>XML workflow?

I'd appreciate it if those of you who are automatically generating documents from XML would send me a description of the basics stating how your workflow is structured. I am especially interested in the automated construction of books.

Please send responses directly to me off list.

Additional info: We have a Win2000 Miramo 6.1 license, so approaches that use this software are welcome.

I will compile the responses (respecting any requests for confidentiality) and post a summary to the list.

Finally, I have just purchased Sarah O'Keefe and Sheila Loring's book, "FrameMaker 7: The Complete Reference." I'm hoping to find some information on these issues in the last 150 pages of this huge tome, but have not yet had the opportunity to look over those sections on structured documentation. I want to get this query out now in this lull between the holidays so that it has the best chance of eliciting some responses.

Thanks to all.

Craig Ede
Los Jugadores Bazutadores

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