Wish you all a happy new year 2014! Hope you had a relaxing holiday break and are feeling fully recharged to get back into action in the new year!
Today, I have some exciting news for you! It is my pleasure to announce the availability of the new versions of Adobe’s Technical Communication products. On the FrameMaker side, we launched FrameMaker 12, FrameMaker Publishing Server 12 and a brand new, exciting product in FrameMaker XML Author 12! Yes, you read it right! There is going to be a new product focused exclusively on XML authoring. Read on for more details.
Caption: Adobe offices today, on the day of the release
But firstly, let me give you some background to the release. This release comes at a time when the Technical Communication profession is undergoing many changes. In my keynote talk at the recently concluded Lavacon 2013 conference (slides and video of my presentation), I talked about some of the shifts, which are changing the way Technical Communicators go about doing their job. On the one hand, Technical Communicators are looking for more efficiency in their content creation processes, by changing the way content is produced and asking themselves what content they should focus on. On the other hand, today’s era of multiple devices is changing the way content is distributed by content professionals and consumed by end consumers. Lastly, content professionals are finding new ways of engaging the end users and leveraging end user content. So, things are indeed looking very different from how they were some years ago.
As you will see below, this release is focused on empowering users of our products to meet these challenges head on and really “do more with less”. So, what capabilities have we added in this release? Well, there’s a lot going on! On the publishing front, FM has been transformed into a Multi device publishing solution, with the ability to publish to multiple output formats natively. Further, multi device publishing now can be offered as a web service with the new FM Publishing Server 12. On the XML/DITA front, there is a new product in FM XML Author and MathML is now supported. FM UI has been enhanced to offer a choice of colored and large icons; and there is enhanced PDF review and single sourcing capabilities. Moreover, now you can generate QR codes; search based on regular expressions; work faster with the new Smart catalogs and much more.
Interested?? Let’s find out more what this release has in store for all of us.
Note: Click on the links for individual features below to watch a video or learn more about the particular feature
Authoring: Faster and richer authoring
- New and enhanced User Interface (UI) options
- New icon choices: FM12 gives a choice of icons to users. Now, choose from grey or colored icons, and regular or large sized icons. The choice is yours!
- New pods to ease your work: There is a brand new pod in the “Currently opened files” pod, which lets you easily manage multiple files, see full file paths, and save and close files more easily. Also, conditional text pod has been enhanced (more on that below)
- Improved usability: Now, drag and drop files into more areas to open them, improved search and consistency in pods, and easily close and/or minimize multiple pods
- Enriched authoring, with new capabilities
- QR codes: Now, you can insert and manage QR codes in your documents natively in FM, and bridge the gap between print and online worlds.
- Regular Expression Support: Search using regular expressions, which lets you perform complex searches to locate and replace specific information. PERL, GREP and EGREP flavors are supported
- Single sourcing, now more effectively
- New conditional text pod: This pod has been enhanced to become more intuitive and makes it easy to apply/remove multiple conditions more easily
- Create more complex expressions: Now, you can use nested parentheses in a user-friendly UI, which guides you in creating complex expressions based on conditional tags to filter your content
- Features that make you more productive
- Smart Catalog: A new and better way to work with catalogs such as para, char, and element catalogs. Use the familiar shortcuts to bring up the catalog, type in the search box to search for the entry, and apply them easily
- Restore session and open recent files: Now you can easily restore the exact work environment you were in when you last exited FM and open all recent files in 1 click
Collaboration: New methods of collaboration with SMEs and peers
- New connector to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM): FM12 has a new native connector to AEM (previously known as Adobe CQ), just like the earlier native connectors with EMC Documentum ™ and Microsoft SharePoint ™
- PDF reviews became even more powerful: PDF reviews were great, but there was a major constraint that you could not change the underlying source while the review was ongoing in the PDF. We have removed that constraint with this release!
- Mobile based collaboration: Now, SMEs can review content on their mobile device using the free Adobe reader app, and you as the author, can seamlessly import their comments into your source .FM as well as .XML content
- Seamlessly work with Dropbox™: FM12 has an out-of-the-box integration with Dropbox now. This lets you easily store content on Dropbox to access-on-the-go, and to get reviews done SMEs. Dependencies are managed and you can easily share your entire books, DITAMaps on Dropbox now with a single click
Publishing: Multi device publishing, now requires only FrameMaker
- Publish to 5 additional formats with FrameMaker: Now, you will be able to publish to Responsive HTML5, EPUB, Kindle, webhelp and CHM formats, all from within FrameMaker. No need to purchase and learn any additional products.
- Customizable multi device outputs: You can customize how your content looks in different outputs. Let your output match the source. Or use settings files to completely redefine the publishing to use a new look and feel.
- Sharable output settings: After settings have been created, save and share them with other users to publish and ensure a consistent look and feel across multiple output types.
- DITA OT based publishing, out-of-the-box: Publish DITA content to multiple output formats without having to install the DITA Open Toolkit, which is now included with FM12
- Web based publishing: FrameMaker Publishing Server 12 (FMPS) has been enhanced to provide publishing services over the web. Multiple users can access FMPS remotely, schedule publishing, view the status of their publishing tasks, and create and share templates and presets with other users. Of course, FMPS continues to be a comprehensive automated, multi device publishing solution.
XML Authoring: A new, simplified product targeted for XML authoring, at a much more affordable price
- FrameMaker XML Author: As part of this release, we are bringing you a brand-new XML authoring solution! FM XML Author is a fully standards-compliant XML editor. You can quickly create XML content based on a standard such as DITA or any custom structure, with the easy-to-use and familiar FM interface.
- FM XML Author is a subset of FM and includes only those features that are needed for XML Authoring, collaboration and review. It takes away features that are not needed by XML authors e.g. the ability to work with unstructured files or to create paragraph styles.
- FM XML Author is much more affordably priced at 40% of the price of FM and the product is simplified with a reduced, but the relevant feature set. Also, it will work seamlessly with the FM product, since the content created with FM XML Author will be fully standards-compliant XML and can be consumed by FM for various tasks such as multi-device publishing.
XML/DITA Authoring: A more powerful and more usable experience
- MathML Support: FM12 now offers MathML support through the seamless integration with MathFlow® Editor from Design Science. MathML standard facilitates the dynamic use and re-use of mathematical and scientific content within documentation. A 30-day trial for both MathFlow Style and Structure editors is included with your purchase of FM12.
- Easily work with elements using a new toolbar: The DITA-configured Quick Element Toolbar lets you immediately start inserting elements, or wrapping content into valid XML elements without knowing tag names. Further, this toolbar is extendible and you can also build your own toolbar to use with any custom XML structure.
- Easily Preview and update DITA Maps: Instantly expand DITA maps to preview all content inside topicref elements, and make updates and modifications directly within the DITA map.
- Enhanced whitespace handling: XML whitespace handling has been updated to be compliant with XML standards, making for a completely standards-compliant XML editing environment. Now, you can easily indent your code in elements like <codeblock> in DITA and bring content created in other XML editors into FM, and let the whitespace handling do its job on how the content should be presented in the WYSIWYG and Author views.
Lastly, FM12 now ships with 4 new, contemporary samples; 3 of which are unstructured and 1 DITA sample. You can access these samples through the “File > New > Explore Standard Templates” option and/or go to the home folder of FM12 on your machine.
Furthermore, we are providing both perpetual and subscription licensing options on all our products. We do realize that the licensing needs of our customers vary and hence, we are offering both the options for you. There is also special upgrade pricing available as well as limited time promotional price for some customers. Please refer to the product homepages for exact pricing information (links below).
Product Reviews and quotes
We are already starting to get some accolades 🙂 Here is what people have said about the new FM 12 release
- Some select quotes from the leading industry experts can be found : FM12 and FMXA12
- Consolidated list of all product reviews till date can be found. This page will be continuously updated, as and when there are more reviews published
Interested? Here is how you can learn more
I will be hosting a webinar on Jan 28, 2014 from 8 -10 AM US PST, where I will walk you through the new capabilities in FM line of products. You can register for this free webinar here Also, in the coming weeks and months, we will be posting more details on these new capabilities through a series of blog posts. So, watch this space for more…
There are plenty of additional resources where you can find more information about the new release.
- Reviewer guides, with details on the new features and videos showing how to use them, are available: FM12, FM XML Author 12 and FMPS12
- Feature difference between FM and FM XML Author (look for the FAQ: What is the difference between Adobe FrameMaker 12 and Adobe FrameMaker XML Author 12?)
- Detailed FM version comparison chart
- User guides and other help content for all products can be accessed from the help page
- Product homepage URLs: FM12, FMXA12, and FMPS12
- Watch new feature videos on our channels on Adobe TV and YouTube
- Tech Comm Product-opedia page, which lists various other useful resources as well
Hope you are as excited about the new release as we all are. Look forward to hearing your reactions and feedback (feel free to provide your comments below). As always, we are listening 🙂
Until the next post then..
Kapil Verma Sr. Product Manager, Adobe Technical Communication Products