Yes, that's what I thought -- we should be using variables and not
cross references, especially because the cross references turn into
hyperlinks when pdf'ed.  I had forgotten about that.

Thank you for the explanation about how the cross references markers
work.  That helped me a lot.

Deirdre

On 6/17/08, Fred Ridder <docudoc at hotmail.com> wrote:
> A confused and frustrated Deirdre Reagan wrote (in part):
>
> > 1. If we are crossreferencing back to paragraph tags, and we change
> > the source paragraph tag, do we have to keep the fat black T? That
> > seems awfully picky, since we just want to double click the line of
> > text and type in our new text. To keep the T, we would have to click
> > and backspace. Plus that T doesn't preceed the original cross
> > reference. It appears only to indicate that this line of text has
> > already been cross referenced. So it's absence shouldn't affect FM's
> > ability to update cross references, right?
>
> The key concept is that *all* cross-references are references to
> cross-reference markers, which show on screen as the same kind of
> T-shaped symbol as any other marker type (e.g., index entry marker,
> hypertext marker, conditional text marker). When you create an x-ref,
> you typically use the list of paragraphs display in the x-ref dialog, but
> you are *not* referencing a specific paragraph, you are referencing
> the paragraph where a specific x-ref marker is located. You are *not*
> referencing a paragraph tag (since that is not a unique entity except
> in the context of the Paragraph Catalog). You are *not* referencing
> a variable, or a line, or a paragraph. You are referencing the marker
> and retrieving information about where it is located (e.g., the text,
> the autonumbering, the page number).
>
> If there is no x-ref marker in the target paragraph you identify when
> you create an x-ref, FrameMaker automatically creates one for you.
> Embedded in the marker is a semi-unique ID number plus a snippet
> of the text from the paragraph which may be useful to you if you
> later display the list of markers rather than the list of paragraphs of
> a particular type (but if you change the text of the paragraph, the
> text in the marker does not update to match, so it really isn't as
> useful as you would think).
>
> What confuses a lot of FrameMaker users is the Paragraphs display
> in the x-ref dialog. They think that because they picked a paragraph
> to target with an x-ref, they have done something fundamentally
> different than if they had picked an item from the Markers list. The
> Paragraphs list is just a convenient way for writers to identify the
> place they want to refer to based on its tagging and content and
> to automatically create an x-ref marker if one is needed. Once
> they've identifed the location and there is an x-ref marker there,
> the x-ref works just like every other x-ref--it points to an x-ref
> marker with a particular ID in a particfular file. In other words, the
> Paragraphs display is only an alternative UI into the exact same
> mechanism.
>
> The ID number embedded in the x-ref marker (the T) at the target
> end of a cross-reference is the key to the whole x-ref mechanism.
> At the referencing location (where the text will appear), FrameMaker
> embeds some code that identifies the marker ID, the filename and
> relative path of the file that contains the marker, and information
> on what information to extract from the target paragraph and how
> to display it. Whenever you open the file that contains the x-ref,
> FrameMaker silently opens the file that is identified in the x-ref, looks
> for the marker by ID, and updates the result in the referring document.
> If it can't find the file, or if it can't open the file, or if it can't find
> the
> marker with the specified ID when it searches the file, you get the
> dreaded "unresolvced cross-reference" message. When you delete
> the x-ref marker on your title page, you make every reference that
> points to it becoime unresolved.
>
> > 2. What was the original writer doing, making this line of text a
> > paragraph tag and not a variable, like every other line of text on the
> > page? Is there a good reason for this? (Probably a rhetorical
> > question, but I thought I'd throw it out there, in case there is
> > something everyone but me knows.)
>
> You don't "make a line of text a paragraph tag". A paragraph tag is
> a *property* or attribute that is applied to each and every paragraph
> in a document to identify the formatting that will be applied to the
> paragraph when it is rendered.
>
> I guess what you're asking is why the writer entered this text string
> as regular text instead of as a variable. But if you're consistently
> using the cross-reference mechanism to pull title page information
> into all of the component files I think the real question is why you
> are using variables at all, since it is simply an unnecessary step.
> If everything is entered and handled as a variable, then once you
> import the variable definitions from the title page into all the component
> files you can reference the variables locally and never have to use
> a cross-reference. You can accomplish the appearance of the same
> result either way, but it seems to me that using the two mechanisms
> interchangeably in the same book has no benefit and only causes
> confusion among users and potential maintenance issues.
>
> > 3. Shouldn't I get rid of all these cross references and change them
> > all to variables? That way I can update the variable once and it
> > changes everywhere and there are no fat black Ts to worry about and no
> > broken cross references for me to get super frustrated over. Or would
> > I have to change the variable in each individual chapter?
>
> In line with my preceding mini-rant, my advice would be to get rid of
> the cross-references and use variables instead. Updating will become
> a two-step process--first update the variables in the title page file,
> then import the variable difinitions into all the component files--but
> you'll avoid unresolved cross-reference issues, and you won't create
> dozens (or hundreds) of useless hyperlinks that will only take the
> reader to the title page if followed. What you will have to do to make
> the transition, though, is edit each chapter to change the inter-file
> x-refs (pointing to the title page file) into to local user variable
> references.
>
> -FR
>
>
>
>

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