Hi Dominick,

I second Richard's question about your underlying assumptions (why is 
XML a goal in and of itself?). That said, if you're committed to 
structured authoring and want a reasonably inexpensive solution, I'd 
strongly recommend that you take a look at DocFrame from Scriptorium 
(Sarah O'Keefe's company). It's as close to an off-the-shelf structured 
solution as you're likely going to find.

It sounds like you're going through the same decision-making process I 
went through a couple months ago. We narrowed our choices down to 
Arbortext, home-brew structured Frame, DocFrame, and (just for kicks) 
unstructured Frame. What surprised us is that our requirements lined up 
better with unstructured Frame, so that's what we ended up going with, 
but DocFrame was an extremely close second. Definitely worth a careful 

In terms of transitions from unstructured Frame to structured solution 
X, my understanding is that it entirely depends on the "implied 
structure" that exists in your current, unstructured files. If you've 
tagged your content consistently, using a template that defines formats 
based on their content rather than intended appearance, mapping the 
unstructured content to a structured solution (such as DocBook or 
DocFrame) should be reasonably straightforward. But if your content 
includes a lot of "cowboy formatting" and non-semantic application of 
formats, you may have to clean up the source content before any kind of 
transition can take place. Depending on the longevity of the existing 
content, it may be more cost-effective to create all your new content 
in structured solution X and phase out use of unstructured Frame as the 
need for the existing content wanes.

Good luck!

Andrew Becraft
Senior Technical Writer
Singlestep Technologies

P: 206.838.7982
E: andrewb at singlestep.com

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