All about Output from DITA Maps

Monday, April 20 2009 @ 4:41 PM, By Tarun Garg

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Adobe FrameMaker 9 supports generation of following output from a DITA Map:

  • PDF
  • Print
  • FrameMaker Book with FM components
  • FrameMaker Book with XML components
  • Composite Document

Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2 supports generation of following output (in addition to above) from a DITA Map:

  • AIR
  • HTML
  • Flash Help
  • Microsoft HTML Help (or CHM)


Adobe FrameMaker 9 enhances the output generation for DITA Maps with additional support for the following DITA constructs:

  1. Attribute ‘print’: While generating output form a DITA Map, ‘print’ attribute value shall be used to determine whether the topic shall be included in the output. If no value is specified, it is assumed to be ‘yes’. User has the option to enable/disable this feature using the ‘UsePrint’ option in ditafm.ini file. Set ‘UsePrint = 1’ to enable this feature.
  2. Relationship Table Support: Relationship tables, if present in the DITA Map, shall be used to generate related links in the output. User has the option to enable/disable this feature using the ‘UseReltable’ option in ditafm.ini file. Set ‘UseReltable = 1’ to enable this feature.
  3. DITAVal Filtering Support: The DITA Map content shall get filtered, based on the provided DITAVal file, to generate the output. The filtering gets applied to the DITA Map, as well as to all the referenced Topics within. User has the option of specifying the DITAVal file at the time of generating output.

Using Adobe FrameMaker 9, one can save a DITA Map in various formats depending on one’s requirements. It could be intermediary output, like – FrameMaker Book/Document; or it can be final output, like – Print/PDF.



DITAMapOutputUsingFM.JPG


A DITA Map can be saved to one of the following formats, to carry out the required post-processing before producing the final output:

  1. FrameMaker Book with FM components: A FrameMaker book is created based on the DITA Map. Each Topic gets converted to a separate FrameMaker document. Each Map (contained by the DITA Map), gets converted to a separate FrameMaker Composite document. The generated book contains these converted FrameMaker documents in the same hierarchical structure as the DITA Map.

  2. FrameMaker Book with XML components: A FrameMaker book is created based on the DITA Map. Each Topic/Map in the DITA Map, gets added to the FrameMaker Book in the XML format itself. The generated book contains these XML documents in the same hierarchical structure as the DITA Map.
  3. Composite Document: A Composite FrameMaker document is created based on the DITA Map. The content from all the referenced Topics/Maps is collated to create a single FrameMaker document for output.

Also, a direct output can be generate from a DITA Map, in the form of PDF/Print output. While doing this, the content from all the referenced Topics/Maps is collated to create a single output document (similar to the Composite Document).


Following table summarizes the availability of output related DITA features , while producing different outputs for a DITA Map:

DITAFeatures.JPG

*For this output, the topicrefs where ‘print’ attribute is set to ‘no’, do not get dropped from the output book. Rather, corresponding component’s ‘Exclude’ flag gets set in the output FrameMaker Book.

Following are the steps for producing an output from a DITA Map:

  1. Open DITA Map in FrameMaker’s RM View.
  2. Use menu command:
    • ‘File-> Save Ditamap As’, for all outputs except print.
    • ‘File->Print Ditamap’, for print output.
    • ‘File->Save As PDF’, for PDF output.
  3. Select appropriate type from ‘Save as Type’ drop-down in the ‘Save Document’ dialog. Refer to the table below, for ‘Save as Type’ option to be used for different outputs.

Following table lists the ‘Save as Type’ option to be used for different outputs:

Output ‘Save As Type’ Option
FM Book (FM Components) Book 9.0 with fm components (*.book)
FM Book (XML Components) Book 9.0 (*.book)
Composite Document Composite Document 9.0 (*.fm)
Print Output -N/A-
PDF PDF (*.pdf)


Following is a demo to ‘Generate FrameMaker Book (with FM Components) from a DITA Map’ :

view in a separate window




Following is a demo to ‘Generate PDF output from a DITA Map’ :

view in a separate window





Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2 boosts this capability through better integration of FrameMaker and Robohelp. It enables generation of more output formats from a DITA Map, such as – AIR, HTML, Flash Help and CHM. This can be done as follows:

  1. Using FrameMaker 9, generate a FrameMaker Book (with FM/XML components) or a FrameMaker Composite Document, from a DITA Map. (Note: Using each of these different outputs, shall have a different impact in terms of the post-processing effort & the final output that will get generated.)
  2. Import the generated output into RoboHelp 8, using RoboHelp’s menu command ‘File->Import->FrameMaker Document’.
  3. Do the required post-processing and/or the settings. Generate the desired output (AIR/HTML/FlashHelp/CHM) using RoboHelp 8.

DITAMapOutputUsingTCS.JPG





Following is a demo to ‘Generate HTML output from a DITA Map’ :

view in a separate window





Please let me know your comments and suggestions.


Thanks and Regards,

Tarun Garg


FrameMaker Engineering

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