This chapter provides a starting point for those who are familiar with XML but not as familiar with FrameMaker. It also covers FrameMaker's structured document publishing capabilities. (From the book XML and Framemaker, by Kay Ethier, published by Apress, ISBN: 159059276X.)
Introduction to Adobe FrameMaker - Looking at Round Trip XML Benefits (Page 8 of 8 )
In this section, several of the XML round-trip benefits are examined. Other parts of this book deal with structured document publishing benefits (consistency, validation, and guided writing among others). There may be—and should be—some overlap with the structured document publishing benefits.
One benefit of round-trip publishing with FrameMaker is that you can access all of FrameMaker’s capabilities for multichannel publishing (publishing to many formats). Multichannel publishing is not easily accomplished with XML alone, or with any other single tool. FrameMaker’s ability to format documents for press, output high-quality PDF, and output to HTML and online help, will allow you to do more with your XML.
You may also single source those components into documents with completely different appearances by using multiple templates. XML being what it is, there is no formatting to get in the way of adjusting the content to look the way that you want it to look. You can set up multiple XML Applications, each using a different FrameMaker template.
Content Sharing and Reuse with XML
XML allows you to reference XML fragments together to form complete documents. This means you can reuse XML in multiple documents by referencing them. The concept is similar to FrameMaker’s text inset feature.
Not only can you pull together content from multiple XML documents, you can also share your XML throughout your enterprise. The XML created by FrameMaker—like XML created in Notepad—has no formatting. You are producing data that is not in a proprietary format, but is basically ASCII text. You can easily use your FrameMakerexported XML with other tools. Those within your organization using FrameMaker can certainly use your XML. Those who are using other XML-ready tools may use it also! You are not limiting access to your data—you are opening up access to it.
NOTE Tools such as TEXTML® by IXIASOFT ( www.ixiasoft.com) allow you to store XML and other files with metadata about each file. You can then search, retrieve, and reuse from the data in the XML server. This tool is mentioned specifically because it was designed for XML, yet has a software bridge to work with FrameMaker 7.x.
Store metadata along with your content to make your data more flexible and reusable. Instead of just storing your content (text, images, and so forth), you include data about your content— metadata—by using elements and attributes. Attributes provide information about each element’s content.
In creating a catalog, for example, you might type your catalog data within a structure that describes the data (item, price, and so forth) and has attributes with additional data (category, weight, requirements, and so forth).
You may even set up database connectivity—including database connectivity for content management—if you have a database that can handle XML.
By definition and name, XML is extensible. This means you can add elements and attributes as needed. This is advantageous if you wish to get a system in place and working before expanding it to suit other needs. For example, a system may be designed and rolled out for one department, and then extended to add components desired by other departments to create the complete system.
FrameMaker provides you with what you need to create documents of all sizes. It is designed to handle complex documents with consistent, repeating formatting and layouts.
FrameMaker is template based, with formats for everything from text to tables to page layouts.
FrameMaker is useful for creating XML. Its strength is in being able to combine content from multiple sources and do single sourcing—producing good-looking documents in multiple formats.
This chapter is from XML and FrameMaker, by Kay Ethier (Apress, 2004, ISBN: 159059276X). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.
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