Archive for April, 2012

“Getting Real: Electronic Documents for the Field” / eSeminar with a twist Apr 17 @10 AM

Thought leader Joe Gollner, who has extensive experience with taxonomies, DITA, S1000D and all aspects of content management tackles a topic with a new twists in this week’s eSeminar. In “Getting Real: Electronic Documents for the Field” Joe will share several case studies in which up-to-the-minute structured data needs to be accessed in harsh physical environments where iPads and iPhones wash out.

Most of us take for granted that in a few years the majority of our content will be consumed via tablets like iPads or smartphones like iPhones. But we assume that all of us are “on the grid,” not in some remote, desert or arctic region where eReader devices must operate in bright sunlight and go for hours without a battery recharge.

Gollner, who has an impressive military career before he entered the jungles of structured data has several projects that require devices to work in environments like the one described above.

Our eSeminar takes place Tues April 17th at 10 AM Pacific, and you click here to register. Like all of our eSeminars, this one will be recorded and will eventually be accessible from this website.

We hope you can join us for what promises to be a fascinating exploration and discussion.

Part 3 Reasons to upgrade from FM 7.x to FM 10: Track changes and Import PDF comments

Versions of FrameMaker after FrameMaker 7.2 introduced two potent features that could be reason alone to upgrade to FrameMaker 10: (a) track changes and (b) ability to import PDF review comments and annotations “in place” in the source FrameMaker document. Both of the features streamline the edit and review process substantially. Sample documents used for screen captures in this blog prove that FrameMaker 10’s PDF Review cycle (importation of comments) can actually reduce time for that process by 75% compared to FrameMaker 7.2!

Track changes in FrameMaker

The simple tool bar shown below gives you the ability to “turn on” track changes. Icons in the left section of the toolbar enable you to toggle between a preview of the “final” version (after insertions and deletions) or the “original” version.

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Part 2 Reasons to upgrade from FM 7.x to FM 10: Workspaces and a Friendlier UI

One of the most compelling reasons to upgrade to FrameMaker 10 is the redesigned User Interface (UI) which allows “named” workspaces that “remember” placement of menus, etc. Most significantly, nearly any document or menu may be docked, allowed to float, or “dragged” out of the workspace (document window.)

More room to breathe

Once you have upgraded to FrameMaker 10 and become used to the freedom of placing frequently used menus and catalogs on a second monitor, it is quite difficult to “go back” to using FrameMaker 7.2 from 2005, which confined all activity to the “document window.” Floating menus, books or documents in FrameMaker 10 may also be collapsed to a horizontal bar, revealing more document content; this is a real plus when working on a smaller screen, like a laptop or netbook.

The two labeled screen captures below show a stark contrast between the document window of FrameMaker 7.2 and a customized workspace in FrameMaker 10. (Note: click on all graphics for a larger, full display.)

A typical FrameMaker 7.2 document window for unstructured content

A typical FrameMaker 7.2 document window for unstructured content

FrameMaker 10 workspace for the same content shown above. The document and menu to the left are floating outside of the FrameMaker workspace. The black background is the windows desktop.

FrameMaker 10 workspace for the same content shown above. The document and menu to the left are floating outside of the FrameMaker workspace. The black background is the windows desktop.

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Part 1 of blog series on reasons to upgrade from FrameMaker 7.x to FrameMaker 10

A sizeable group of FrameMaker users are still using FrameMaker 7.x (7.0, 7.1 or 7.2). These versions were released in 2002, 2003 and 2005 respectively. Obviously the product has changed substantially in 7 to 10 years. It is a testament to how far ahead of its time version 7 was for those still using it. There are numerous reasons why some users may have postponed upgrading. This is the first in a series of blogs that will touch on some of the more compelling reasons to upgrade from older versions of FrameMaker to version 10, which has been available since 2011.

The following sections touch on just a few of the advantages we will be covering more in depth with this series of blogs.

(1)           Easier user interface

The current release of FrameMaker has a completely redesigned user interface that is more inline with other Adobe products. Although it takes a day or two for some long-time veterans to adjust to the new UI, it is much easier for new, non-FrameMaker users to grasp. This is an important consideration if your company merges with a division that has been using Microsoft Word, or some other product that has a more “familiar” user interface to the general public. Long-term FrameMaker users will find many time-saving improvements in the new UI as well.

My observation has been that with new users, training time and ramp up time on mastering workspaces is substantially shorter than with the old user interface. Watch for a blog that will focus on many aspects of this one benefit.

(2)           Improved catalogs and style management

Beyond the user interface, one major convenience is improved paragraph, character and table catalogs that have improved housekeeping tools. The screen capture below has a red circle that highlights the pre-FrameMaker 9 method of viewing available table styles in a “catalog.” Only a temporary pull-down menu within the Table Designer could reveal the styles to choose from. FrameMaker 10 has a dedicated Table catalog and a number of housekeeping tools for identifying styles in use. More information to come in future blogs.

Table Catalog circled in FrameMaker 7.2

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