Before anyone relies on the automatic "backup" files that FrameMaker create, 
you need to be aware that these are *NOT* true backups. 

A true backup would result if Frame saved a second copy of the file that you 
just saved, and that is *not* what happens. Instead, all Frame does is rename 
the *last previous* version of the file that you saved with a second extension 
(i.e., <filename>.fm.backup) rather than letting the OS mark it as an unused 
disk space available for reallocation. The "backup" file is always one save 
behind the current state of the file.

And because Frame actually won't let you save a file that it thinks hasn't been 
changed in some way, it is effectively guaranteed that the .fm.backup file 
cannot be an identical copy of the latest saved file. 

This feature was clearly a quick and dirty implementation that was added to 
FrameMaker in its distant history (it's been this way for at least 20 
years--back to FM4.0, at least) and has been with us ever since. I suppose it's 
better than losing a file completely, but not by much. If the feature made a 
real backup, I'd probably leave it enabled as a "just in case", but as it it it 
is the first thing I turn off in every FrameMaker installation I use.

-Fred Ridder

Subject: RE: Best practices for converting FM to Robohelp
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2014 13:13:04 +0000

Yes, I could do that too, but then I’d have to run it in reverse if FM ran into 
trouble and it needed one of those “extra” files to recover/restore from – FM
 needs the smarts to be able to know where they’re located and retrieve from 
that location when needed, which it’s currently lacking. Break out the wish 
list ;>)

From: Keith Soltys []

Sent: September-05-14 8:48 AM

To: Jeff Coatsworth

Subject: RE: Best practices for converting FM to Robohelp

I run a batch file at least at the end of every day to move my backup files 
into their own directory.  I could probably automate this with ExtendScript, if
 I had the time to figure it out. But a batch file is simple, and it works (as 
long as I remember to run it).


On Behalf Of Jeff Coatsworth

Sent: Friday, September 05, 2014 8:37 AM


Subject: RE: Best practices for converting FM to Robohelp

They probably weren’t corrupted at all – you just had selected the backup 
instead of the “live” copy when you opened up the next
 file (and then your workflow just perpetuated the mistake). One longstanding 
FM grumble is the program’s desire to always maintain all its files (.book, 
.fm, .backup, .lck, .auto, etc.) in one location – you can never designate 
another place to keep those
 “extra” file types out of the way.
On Behalf Of Apurva Bahadur

Sent: September-05-14 5:50 AM


Subject: Re: Best practices for converting FM to Robohelp

Fellow Framers,

Problem solved after some investigation, although I cannot understand the 
entire process.


While editing, I created the various FM files by renaming and saving the 
complete file as the next file, deleting the existing stuff and editing new 
content on the page. 

Somewhere in the process, one FM file got corrupted and ended with the 
extension '.backup' instead of '.fm.'

Due to 'save as' process, all the subsequent files had the '.backup' extension.

Even on corruption, these .backup extension files were visible in the FM book. 
I could open, edit and create perfect pdf outputs of the FM book.

However, Robohelp refused to recognize the files with .backup extension and 
made a CHM containing only the files with proper .fm extension.

This resulted in an incomplete CHM, and a growing sense of helpless panic...


I opened the corrupted files from within FM book and saved them by a different 
name. I checked in the Windows explored that the copy of the files were saved 
with the proper .fm extension.

I added the renamed files to the book and deleted the corrupted files from the 
book.That was all to it.

I couldn't have solved this problem from within Framemaker itself as the book 
showed the corrupted files as normal FM files - I would open edit and save them 
without any indication of an error. So, when black
 magic starts to happen, please check the extensions of files in Windows 

Any idea why FM book could open a file with .backup extension?  Probably 
.backup are valid FM files, as these display a smaller version of the 
Framemaker icon in the Windows explorer. 





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