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Post # 4: FrameMaker – going beyond PDF!

Hello Framers,

Wish you a very happy new year 2012! Hope you are well and had a good holiday break!

Well, it is back to business and today, I am sharing with you the fourth post in the series that we are doing. If you recall from my previous blog posts, the aim of this series is to provide accurate and complete information on our product to our user community so that they can make an informed decision. One of the areas where more information is needed is that how does one publish from Framemaker to outputs other than PDF. Today’s publishing needs are varied and complex including the need to publish to multiple devices and formats. I hope that this blog post will provide you the information that you need in this area.

It is true that, with FrameMaker, one can generate high quality PDFs and now print ready CMYK color PDFs (see my recent blog post on this topic). However, it does not end there! It is possible to generate multiple outputs from the single FrameMaker source through the Technical Communication Suite OR FrameMaker Server. With these solutions, one can generate 9 different outputs from the same FrameMaker source. Yes, you heard me right, 9 different outputs!

Interested? Want to know more? Read on below to see how it works …

Publishing Workflow

Once you have your source in FrameMaker, you can quite easily publish to multiple formats. The FrameMaker source can be unstructured / structured FM / DITA / any XML content; it doesn’t matter. If you can open it in FrameMaker, it can be published to these multiple outputs. Now, with TCS or FrameMaker server, you can deliver your content to a wide range of devices, such as eBook readers, smartphones, and tablets.

First of all, a quick word on Technical Communication Suite. Adobe TCS is an integrated and complete, single-source authoring toolkit with multichannel, multidevice publishing capabilities. It has 5 products which are integrated with each other to meet the needs of technical writers.

These products are

After one installs TCS, the multi-channel publishing option (i.e. File > Publish) within the FrameMaker interface becomes active (see screenshots below).

 

 

pic2

 

With this option, one can easily generate 8 additional outputs other than PDF. These 8 outputs are as follows:

  • Microsoft HTML help /CHM
  • WebHelp
  • FlashHelp
  • JavaHelp
  • OracleHelp
  • EclipseHelp
  • AIR Help
  • Eclipse Help
  • EPUB (for publishing to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets)

To learn more about these output formats, read an excellent overview of the various output types by Colum McAndrew.

After you select the option you want, there are settings that you can configure to get the exact look and feel you desire.

  • RoboHelp Project Specify the RoboHelp Project file (XPJ) that you have created.
  • ISF File Specify the Import Settings File (ISF) that contains the required conversion settings.
  • Master Page Specify the RoboHelp master page (HTT) that will be used for the Help pages.

Note: Even though these settings are not mandatory, to get optimum output, you should specify the relevant settings.

So then, here are the complete workflow steps:

  1. Open the document to be published in FrameMaker
  2. Select File > Publish.
  3. In the Publish Settings dialog box, select the output format.
  4. Select the folder where the published output will be saved. By default, FrameMaker chooses the same location as the source file.
  5. Specify the RoboHelp settings that will be used for the conversion and click Publish

See it in action!

Watch the following videos which demonstrate these concepts in action (remember to turn on your computer speakers to listen to the audio)

  1. SingleSource: This video shows the single source publishing workflow
  2. Turnkey_With_Config: This video shows how to use the various configuration settings while publishing
  3. Here is another video which explains in much more detail how the publishing works with FrameMaker and TCS (you can start watching at the 6 minute mark)

Now, you might be wondering about how does the process work with FrameMaker Server? The answer is that the workflow is essentially the same with the main difference being that FrameMaker Server lets you do automated, batch publishing to these multiple formats and is suited to meet the high end publishing requirements of our customers. See the detailed blog post to learn more about how automated publishing works with FrameMaker server.

Lastly, I wanted to call out specifically that it is definitely possible to publish from FrameMaker to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. We support publishing to ePUB format which is an industry standard for viewing content on mobile devices. See the detailed blog post here (from a few weeks ago) to learn how to publish to mobile devices.

In conclusion …

So, as you can see, it is quite easy to create multiple outputs for multiple devices using TCS. I hope that with this post, I have cleared doubts about publishing FrameMaker content to multiple formats and devices. It is easy, it works and you should give it a try!

🙂

We will be back soon with the next blog post in the series. Until then, again, warm wishes for the new year!

 

Regards,
Kapil Verma

Sr. Product Manager – FrameMaker and FrameMaker Server


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Kapil Verma

Kapil Verma

Kapil Verma was the (Senior) Product Manager for FrameMaker from 2009 to 2011 and Senior Product Manager (Head of Product Management) for the Technical Communication Suite at Adobe until 2015.

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