Dominick A. DeFlorio wrote: > We must move to structure to meet our future XML goal, but are > unfamiliar with both the transition and method to do so. We are also > unfamiliar with the possibilities and cost involved. We are merely > looking at all of the possibilities and the long term value for our > dollar.
Here's how I'd do it: a) Design the structure - if you aren't experienced, don't do it yourself and don't buy the line that you can do it with DITA or DocBook. Get a professional to do proper analysis and design, including documentation about how to use the DTD or schema. This is a critical step - don't scrimp here. b) Save all of your data out of FrameMaker as XML - don't use FrameMaker as a migration tool because if your structure evolves based on infrequent cases, you'll end up spending too much time trying to re-baseline your dataset. c) Use XSLT to convert from XML to your target structure - if you find that you need to make changes, make them and re-run the whole dataset, so you can be certain that all documents are consistently handled. Get help with this if you're not experienced, otherwise you'll get in a mess. Be prepared to also make changes to the data manually - the alternative is to loosen the structure in the DTD or schema, but that's a last resort. Make the data consistent, and be ruthless about it. While you're at it, learn not to be scared to work with native XML - angle brackets don't bite. d) Build the FrameMaker application - concentrate your own efforts on the part of the process that you're most familiar with and learn the parts that will give you the most benefit. e) Train your users - give them as little information about XML as you can get away with. All they need to know is that there's a mechanism in the background that ensures that the documents are structured consistently with the rest of the dataset. Items a) and c) will cost you money, but it's well spent. Do it properly from the start and you'll only do it once - try to do it on the cheap and you can spend the money next time around. I've seen it more times than I could count in the 15 years that I've been involved with SGML and XML conversions. Plenty of very bright people have tried to migrate to structure on the cheap - so many smart faces, so much egg. -- Regards, Marcus Carr email: mcarr at allette.com.au ___________________________________________________________________ Allette Systems (Australia) www: http://www.allette.com.au ___________________________________________________________________ "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Einstein