I agree entirely with your observations, Fred! They are different and needed 
for different purposes.

I use cross-references for paragraph and other document information that I want 
to reference elsewhere in the document or book. Like table titles for example.

I use variables to hold commonly used text that I can insert in the document to 
ensure consistent usage. If the text changes, all the variable uses are 
automatically changed.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: framers-bounces at lists.frameusers.com [mailto:framers-bounces at 
> lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of
> Fred Ridder
> Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 12:54 PM
> To: Deirdre Reagan; Frame Users
> Subject: RE: cross reference vs variables
> Deirdre Reagan wrote:> Just to mix things up, the next question will appear 
> in the form of a
> statement.
> >
> > There is very little difference between cross-references and variables.
> >
> > Discuss.
> Disagree almost completely. IMO, about the only thing they have in
> common is that they are methods of inserting content into a
> FrameMaker document by reference.
> Cross-references are used to retrieve some combination of attributes
> (e.g. page location, paragraph autonumbering) and content of a
> specific target paragraph. You can build cross-reference formats that
> specify different attributes and include various bits of static text and
> punctuation, and you can globally redefine these formats to repurpose
> the same files for use in different deliverables (e.g. including the page
> number in printed or PDF outputs but omitting it in HTML deliverable).
> Cross-references always point to a specific paragraph, which makes
> them less useful ifd you are using some of the same component files
> in multiple books.
> User variables, on the other hand, retrieve a fixed text string of up
> to 255 characters. Period. No page number. No autonumbering. No
> ability to build different variations of the content. Just a text string.
> Eminently useful for things like product names or model numbers,
> and document titles and reference numbers. Variable definitions
> are stored locally in each file, but are easily updated across a book
> by importing them as format properties from one file (e.g., a template),
> which works well when you are sharing some chapters among multiple
> books.
> Cross-references are automatically refreshed every time you open
> a file. This is overkill for relatively static content like document titles
> and product names.
> Cross-references get turned into hyperlinks when you publish a
> document to PDF (and usually to HTML, as well). To me, this is
> worse than overkill if you use x-refs for book titles because I think
> it's a major annoyance to have each and every instance of the
> title be a live hyperlink that takes you to the title page of the book.
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