Adobe FrameMaker (2017 release) comes with many new features: Support for High-Resolution Monitors up to 4k, a better User Interface, Command Search, Better Image Handling, Enhanced Conditional Tags, Enhanced DITA Authoring, Improved DITA Cross-References and Keyspace Management, new DITA Authoring Templates, Omni-Channel Publishing, brand new brand new Responsive HTML5 Layouts, Predictive Autocomplete Help Search, and much more …

2017 Release of FrameMaker

Today we are proud to release the next major release of Adobe FrameMaker: 2017 release is here and to be specific, it’s the 14th major release in the 30-year history of FrameMaker.

Can’t wait to try it out yourself? Just jump to the FrameMaker (2017 release) Trial Download page, update/install it and experience the best FrameMaker release ever.

So, drumrolls please, we’re introducing Adobe FrameMaker 2017 release today!


Read on to understand why we did what we did …

Basics first. The 2017 Release of FrameMaker is our finest attempt to simplify a lot of things our users daily work with. This release is a fine blend of productivity boosters, performance enhancements and cutting edge innovation. We’ve strived hard to ensure that not just our users, but their end users are also delighted with the new features and enhancements. Let’s deep dive now …

Crisp, sharp, faster: The new User Interface

A lot of interfaces are redesigned. Seriously! With time, we have added more and more functionality into the product to make it more powerful but sometimes more power came at the cost of compromised usability. At times, finding relevant commands became tough or using them required more clicks. So it was about time for us to get back to drawing board and redo some of the workflows while retaining or enhancing existing functionality.

With this release of FrameMaker, we have reimagined Authoring, keeping “Simplify” as the core guidance. Use it to believe it. Starting with a pragmatic Welcome screen, to a reorganized menu set, to optimized designers and catalogs, to re-defined workspaces, efficient workflows and more, the list goes long.

Support for High-Resolution Monitors

If you use one of those swanky high resolution monitors with FHD (Full HD) or UHD (Ultra HD) resolutions, using 2017 Release of FrameMaker will bring a smile on your face. The brand new interface scales beautifully on all High Resolution displays and it adapts to your display settings automatically.


Menu Optimizations

However special our “Special” menu has been by virtue of the commands it holds, we decided to bid adieu to that. Not just this, we have logically regrouped many commands to menus where they better belong. Additionally, an “Insert” menu is introduced that’s one stop for multiple insertions while writing. We’ve added a bunch of commands to Menus which were earlier accessible through keyboard shortcuts only.

A lot of validation and thought has gone into this effort and if you’re still finding it hard to locate a command, we’ve introduced a “Command Search” functionality. And there’s even more for our geek friends out there: All keyboard shortcuts are now listed against every command in Menu. Having done this, the popular pdf posted online still remains useful.


Command Search

F7 is the new Genie on demand. Hit F7 and search for any command and hit enter. Easy, fast and convenient. Don’t believe us? Try once and you’ll find yourself addicted to it.


Redesigned Designers and Catalogs

Changes to the interface of Character, Paragraph and Table designers might look subtle in the face but they go a long way in making you more productive. Styling icons have now been replaced with labeled buttons so that you don’t have to struggle in finding the command you’re looking for. Redundant commands that added to the clutter are now removed.

Creating new styles is much easier now as the “Update Style” button toggles to “Create New” while you’re defining a new style. Changes of similar nature have gone into Catalogs where UI is now more intuitive, deletion is simpler and overall they’re just more easy to work with.


Image Insertion Improved

A picture is worth a thousand words. That explains why we have images as part of our content. With FrameMaker (2017 Release), inserting images is a pure delight. You may use the new menu option “Insert Image” to directly browse and add. Alternatively, you can simply drag and drop images and they will fall in place. Even bigger images will adhere to the page width and you won’t need to resize them to a smaller one. You may go to the Object properties to make changes to the inserted image at any later point.

There’s another feature that you all wished for: Now aspect ratio of images can be retained by virtue of a new setting in Object Properties dialog.


Optimized Workspaces

Meditation helps in improving concentration that eventually helps you to be more productive at work. While we can’t make you meditate more, we are contributing by cleaning up the workspaces so that you’re able to focus on authoring. All PODs that used to open at the bottom are now optimized to be opened in the right side. This keeps the document in prime focus and doesn’t lead to clutter. A good example is conditional tagging of content. Now the optimized POD opens in the right, shows optimal information and enables authors to view more content in default view.

And many more:

  • Improved Find/Change interface:

    • The list of search items is now alphabetically sorted and better structured for more easy access to what you want to find.

    • And the coolest new feature: FrameMaker now remembers what you were searching for! Even when you close FrameMaker and restart it the next morning, all your search items will still be there.

  • Modern “Save” interface while saving multiple files on exit.

  • Improved spell checker! We have updated the spell checker to the latest engines for better performance and more reliable results.

  • The console window is gone! Well, not exactly gone: It’s a nice, dockable pod and directly integrated into the user interface. Now you will never again miss an important information and have all console messages right at your fingertips.

  • It’s just a small, but super useful enhancement: All View settings like borders, rulers, grid lines etc. finally work globally. Set them once and have them like that in all your open windows. Gone are the times, where you had to set rulers to show or hide for each document!

I’ve got to move to the next section now as the list of improvements is just too long. Why don’t you experience it yourself and feel the difference.

Structured Authoring jut got better

DITA Authoring with the latest release of FrameMaker gets a boost as well in the form of usability enhancements and new features. I’ll start with my favorite and hope you’ll like it too.

Dynamic Content Filters with DITA

This unique feature was introduced with 2015 Release of FrameMaker and leverage conditional build tags to offer a personalized content consumption experience to end users. Very often, everyone doesn’t need to see everything and it’s a daunting task for the end users to get to relevant content faster. Filtering comes to rescue in this case and users love it. Now you can use DITA attributes and enable content filtering for your end users in Responsive HTML5 output generated with 2017 Release of FrameMaker. Excited to know more? Watch it here.


Enhanced Status bar

While authoring, you get to see a breadcrumbs-like navigation in the status bar at the bottom left. This subtle change actually eliminates the need to switch back and forth between document and structure view. While navigating a structured document, you hop through various elements like paragraph, table, list etc. Status bar shows your cursor position and enables you to insert a new element at the right location which otherwise would require a visit to the Structure view.

Improved Cross Reference and Keyspace management interface

The Cross Reference POD got a makeover that enables Search on element type, ID or text. Redundant key reference dialog is now removed and the experience is now more intuitive. Working with keys is a lot easier now. If you have a DITAmap open, it gets loaded in the Keyspace manager by default. The interface is now resizable and search is enabled. See these improvements in action in this video:


Enhanced Authoring Templates

We love to get you started with DITA Authoring in FrameMaker with best in class out of box templates for DITA 1.2 and 1.3. These templates got a major overhaul in terms on look and feel, usability, consistence and functionality. Getting in and out of lists, tables and paragraphs is pretty seamless. You get great looking pdfs leveraging these new templates from your DITA content out of the box. Watch this video to get a quick overview of the improvements.

Can’t wait more to move on to the next section which highlights all the features that will help you to become more customer centric and delight your end users. Let’s talk about the Publishing enhancements now.

Omni-Channel Publishing – Just a click away

Multi-channel publishing was introduced in FrameMaker 12 and there’s been no looking back since then. It’s our endeavor to provide best in class publishing experience to our users. This release is a major stride in that direction. Let’s see how.

Fresh and cool: The brand new HTML5 Layouts “Indigo” and “Ocean”

Evolution is the key here. We started with tri-pane layouts which were inspired by chm or WebHelp. They looked the same and had similar usage but with added benefits of being responsive that would enable rendering of content seamlessly on mobile devices.

With this release, we are coming up with two new frameless layouts with best in class browsing and navigation experience. They are called “Indigo” and “Ocean”.

“Search” is given prime importance in these layouts as we feel content consumption will be driven through Search.


And many more enhancements

Along with new formats and layouts, the mobile publishing feature has gotten a complete overhaul. Some of these features may not immediately catch your eye, but you’ll be glad that every single one of them is helping your content stand out from the crowd. Check the video below for a quick overview and read the sections below for the details


Give your customers the best in class Search Experience

This is a BIG one. Now your end users get “Search auto-complete” in Responsive HTML5 output generated using FrameMaker. This is a segment first offering which redefines the way people consume content. With earlier “Search” experience, searching a keyword would throw you in an ocean of results with little or no context. With the new modern “Search”, results are more contextual. The more users type, the better it gets. Spelling mistakes are taken care of automatically. This offering impacts end users in a big way. Ability to get relevant results faster and consistently can really work wonders.

Publish Section 508 comliant Help Systems

We’ve worked on Accessibility and ensured complicance with the US General Services Administration Section 508 Accessibility Program and will continue working on Accessibility on our existing layouts.

Let your customers bookmark their favorite help topics

In the new “Indigo” layout, your end-users can bookmark topics in your online help as thier personal favorites. When the visit your help later, they can access them easily using the new bookmarks tab.

Faster Indexes

We have changed the way your index ist provided in the published HTML online help. Your index entries are now stored in JSON instead of XML. This dramatically speeds up the index search and gives your end-users results even faster.

Dynamic Content Filters for Indexes

We have made the Index in your published online help depend on the existing Dynamic Content Filters as well. That is, when users show or hide content based on their needs, the index gets filtered as well.

DITA Context Sensitive Help Support

You can now use the <resourceid> element to provide information in context-sensitive help systems.

See the DITA 1.3 specification here for more information about the <resourceid> element.

Publish DITA to Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Experience Manager Mobile

The improved connector for Adobe Experience Manager gives you direct publishing from within FrameMaker via XML Documentation Add-on for Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe’s DITA CCMs. And that’s not all: We have also added support for Adobe Experience Manager Mobile. This empowers you to easily build and manage beautiful, engaging apps that tackle your business challenges, harness the power of the Adobe Marketing Cloud for full integration and insights and produce apps that change the way you do business – quickly and easily.

Improved CSS Handling

You can now manage styles from a single CSS file. In the publish settings, you can now decide to merge topic styles into a single CSS. This reduced the number of CSS files in your project dramatically and makes your online help system more easy to manage, and faster for your end users.

Improved Image Handling

Very often one and the same referenced image is used in a documentation again and again. Just think of caution, warning and info icons, company logo, etc. Now for multiple references of an image file only a single copy is included in the published output. This makes your online help system again lighter, faster and more organized.

Give your end users the possibility to search in graphics

Having graphics text-free is a good idea for many reasons (just think of localization). However, it’s not always possible and sometimes it just makes sense to have illustrations with text. And now the users of your online help system get a more comprehensive search experience with the ability to search text within SVG images displaying within the search results.

Basic HTML

This new output format is for those who want to control the look and feel of the end output completely. Basically, this comprises of all your content transformed into HTML without any layout or JavaScript. You may apply your own layout driven by your corporate guidelines. This output is very light-weight and is easy to share.

Optimized HTML5

This one is about inner beauty. Our HTML5 layouts look stunning and are optimized in the core. Umpteen improvements have gone under the hood to ensure that size is optimal, styling is controlled by a single css, inline styles are removed, folder structure is cleaned up and many more.

In addition to the FrameMaker 2017 release, we also simultaneously launched RoboHelp (2017 release) and FrameMaker Publishing Server (2017 release). Several of the features I have outlined on multi-device publishing are relevant for FrameMaker Publishing Server.

Additional Resources

If you are interested in learning more about the new release, here are some resources.

Abhishek Jain

Abhishek Jain is Product Manager at Adobe Systems, India, where he manages the Technical Communication line of products (FrameMaker, RoboHelp and Technical Communication Suite). He is responsible for product strategy and roadmap, partner ecosystem management, and customer relationship. Prior to Adobe, he worked as a Product Manager managing an Enterprise suite of products. You can also follow Abhishek on twitter: @Abhi_AdobeTC.

3 thoughts on “2017 Release of FrameMaker

  1. Yes, you can! The ongoing improvements in Responsive HTMl5 show that you have the future of documentation in focus! Nice!

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