Hi Verner

Michael has already given you some excellent answers (as always).

You find my comments below >>>>>>>>

On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 10:04 AM, Andersen, Verner Engell VEA <
verner.andersen at radiometer.dk> wrote:

> Hi
> I currently use unstructured Framemaker for pdf output. I single-source
> my content - and via Webworks Publisher I output to context-sensitive
> help in Webworks help format.
> My 5 colleagues use Word and output to pdf for printing. We plan to go
> structured and are considering whether we should use Framemaker or
> XMetal.
> Do any of you know where I can find an unbiased comparison of the two
> tools?

>>>>>>>> If you google "FrameMaker" +"XMetaL" + "comparison", you will find
a couple of good comparisons done by Scriptorium, for example:

>>>>>>>> However, if you want to "go structured", I can also advise you to
"go DITA". And if you "go DITA", I would also include DITA-FMx in the
comparison. DITA-FMx is a FrameMaker plugin developed by Leximation and in
my experience the only viable option to author DITA-structured content in
FrameMaker 7.2, 8 or 9. You can find a comparison between FM8 DITA and
DITA-Fmx 1.0 here:
Leximation is currently also working on beta versions of DITA-FMx 1.1 with
an impressive list of new features:

> I have been told that the major disadvantage of using Framemaker is that
> you are required to save in binary format to keep the
> Framemaker-specific XML processing instructions (pls).

>>>>>>>>> Like Michael said, this is simply not true. The DITA topics we
author in FrameMaker are valid XML files, not structured binary .fm files.
We use multiple DITA-aware XML editors, including DITA-FMx, XMetaL, oXygen
and Syntext Serna and the files remain valid as they are edited in each of
these programs. This allows us to use the best features of each program, for
example work on graphics and tables in FM+DITA-FMx, but use the ditamap
editor or plain text view of XMetaL.

> If you store in
> xml-format you cannot retrieve and maintain conditional text.

>>>>>>>>> Like Michael said, you would use attributes to conditionalize text
segments. And with DITA-FMx, you can apply ditaval as conditions, which is
very handy if you generate a FM book from your ditamap and then save your FM
book as a PDF.

> Callouts
> on drawings (the graphics tool in Framemaker) will be rasterized

>>>>>>>>> Indeed, callouts need to be done differently in XML. But again,
DITA-FMx can help here because beta 2 of DITA-FMx 1.1 "supports "graphic
overlay objects: You can now add callouts and other graphic overlay objects
to images in FrameMaker and have them round-trip to DITA and back" (source:

> , and
> even paragraph styles can be discarded if you save a document as XML.

>>>>>>>>> As Michael said, "no room for paragraph (or character) styles in
XML", i.e. at least not in your "authoring templates". When you're authoring
XML content, it doesn't matter what font is being used, or how the indent
and spacing of your paragraphs look like. In other words, you move from
WYSIWYG authoring to WYSIOO (What You See is One Option), which takes a bit
of "getting used to" for many authors. See also:
You do use paragraph and character styles, however, in your "publishing
templates" (or stylesheets). There, you specify that a <title> element in a
<section> gets the paragraph tag "title1", for example, and you specify all
the properties of that paragraph tag (using the good old Paragraph Designer
in FM).

> What are the implications of sacrificing saving documents as XML?

>>>>>>>>>> Like Michael said, you need to have good reasons to "go
structured". You may have an authoring process in place where some people
author content in FrameMaker and others (SMEs) in Word and you publish this
content as PDF and WebWorks Help. This may work great (WebWorks ePublisher
accepts Word, FM and even ditamaps and topics as input format). If so, don't
change. We still have a lot of customers who are happily single-sourcing
with this setup.

>>>>>>>>>> I have been using unstructured FM for more than 15 years (gosh,
I'm feeling very old now!) and I still enjoy authoring the odd unstructured
FM doc every now and then. The added value of XML and DITA to me has been:
* More and better reuse options using DITA conrefs
* More publishing options using the DITA Open Toolkit, WebWorks ePublisher
and some other great new publishing tools
* Easier ways to deliver content to our customers. No more "FrameMaker vs.
Word" discussions (yay!)
* New, exciting ways to do collaborative content development

> Another advantage in favor of XMetal should be that it has
> vendor-supported integration with most content management systems (CMS).

>>>>>>>>>>> See also:

> Apparently XMetal seems to be the best choice.

>>>>>>>>>>> XMetaL is definitely a good DITA-aware XML editor, but so is
DITA-FMx and many others. As Michael said, you need to analyse and evaluate
your authoring and publishing processes first. You may want to do a content
strategy audit to get answers to questions like:
* How does our current authoring and publishing process look like?
* Who is authoring which content? What are their profiles and skills?
* Which aspects of the processes do we wish to improve (the "pains") and
which do we want to keep (the "pleasures")?
* Do you have any translations? If yes, how many languages? What is the
overall translation cost and what impact will a migration to XML have on the
translation process?
We (Scripto) can help you with this, if necessary.

Kind regards

Yves Barbion ? Managing Director ? Adobe-Certified FrameMaker Instructor
www.scripto.nu  ? skype: yves.barbion  ? T: +32 494 12 01 89

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