There are so many ways to meet your goals using FrameMaker... You asked for
unstructured Frame and reuse so here's a take:

When using unstructured Frame I've solved this problem using text insets and
a simple spreadsheet for tracking "where used" information. I have a client
that wanted to enhance their reuse strategy but were not ready to move their
group to structure and XML. They had been using the copy/paste method for
years and were unable to maintain books after release. 

So, I analyzed the usage across 3 product models and 15 books (content was:
exactly the same, similar, different or not used). Based on the analysis, I
created reusable topics (text insets) and imported them by reference into
the specific section containers and then created serial number books. (Note,
I handle graphics in the same way and often a text inset may reused with a
model specific graphic. So, there's a bit of rewrite/reflow up front for
optimal reuse.) 

Reuse analysis across 15 English books was very high: 70% for text (insets)
and 55% for graphics. 

The books are large (10 sections, about 700 pages) and the client now
happily builds at least 3 books (serial number specific) a week using this
scheme. They also translate each complete book into at least one other
language...sometimes two. So, tracking, managing and publishing those
translations is a lot easier now too)

The books are saved to PDF right now. The conversion table and EDD are
complete so the next step is structure and then XML delivered to knowledge
base on the web. 

Real trick to this is the analysis, a bullet-proof template (section/inset)
with no overrides and maintaining the "where used" information. The rest is
the simplest of FrameMaker features. 

Let me know if I've been clear enough with this! And when you're ready for a
content management solution, I'll gladly make some recommendations:)

Mollye Barrett, ClearPath, LLC
content management solutions
414-331-1378 (cell)

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:framers-bounces at] On Behalf Of Joel
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 7:36 AM
To: framers at
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 _______________________________________________

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