Hi Joel: I have an incomplete answer, but I'd like to get the ball rolling. I'm still using FrameMaker 7.2, so that's one of my knowledge limitations. I'm counting on others to fill in the gaps.
(a) I wouldn't recommend using conditional text because you'd have seven variations and possibly recombinations of those seven (e.g., something applies to three of the seven, etc.). I know that FM 8 deals with multiple conditions much better than FM 7x, but still, seven variants could make your head hurt just as badly as XML. (b) I use structured FM and I like it a lot, but it'll take a month or two to learn, set up your own definition, and convert the manuals. I'm not sure if you have the time to invest. One advantage to moving to structured is that there is an awesome structured tool called InsetPlus from West Street Consulting that will help you manage and use shared text. Furthermore, you won't run into the problems I've heard about with cross-references and indexing in unstructured text insets. (c) I just read Jerilynne's answer, and it's true that you can do a lot with the list she sent you. If you don't go to structured FM, I would recommend text insets, or splitting up the files so that the common sections can be shared through the book files. In both structured and unstructured, I use variables to take care of the little differences. And Jerilynne is also right that depending on the details, conditional text may also be appropriate...my answer in (a) was based on one master document and trying to generate seven variations on it. Good luck! Fei Min -----Original Message----- From: framers-boun...@lists.frameusers.com [mailto:framers-bounces at lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Joel Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 8:36 AM To: framers at lists.frameusers.com Subject: re-use 101 I am using Frame 8. I have a set of seven manuals that are close to 100 pages each. Many sections of these manuals are identical, some sections differ in detail in minor ways, and fewer sections differ in more substantial ways. Currently they are all Frame books with each chapter being its own file within the book. There is no re-use of anything at the moment. This is becoming increasingly burdensome to maintain, as a change to something that appears in all seven manuals requires me to make that change manually in all seven files. I would like to get to re-use, or single-sourcing, but I'm puzzled as to how to get there. Would the best strategy be: (a) To use conditional text and generate several versions; (b) To try and convert everything to XML and sew things together based on individual XML files; (c) Something else? I have zero XML knowledge, and whenever I read about it, my head hurts. I am willing to learn, but the benefit needs to be commensurate with the pain involved in learning. I'm looking for the simplest solution that allows for some common source material using my existing Frame configuration. Ideas are appreciated. Joel _______________________________________________ You are currently subscribed to Framers as feimin.lorente at onsemi.com. Send list messages to framers at lists.frameusers.com. To unsubscribe send a blank email to framers-unsubscribe at lists.frameusers.com or visit http://lists.frameusers.com/mailman/options/framers/feimin.lorente%40ons emi.com Send administrative questions to listadmin at frameusers.com. Visit http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info.