FrameMaker 11 w/o XML: why upgrade? Graphics & Anchored Frames

If you have had a chance to view the recording of our launch webinar, “What’s new with FrameMaker 11“, you may have noticed a heavy emphasis on DITA and XML. This is the fastest growing segment of our users, but we recognize that many people (a) continue to used FrameMaker w/o XML in unstructured mode and (b) there are many people experiencing growing pains with tech doc in Word who are interested in using FrameMaker 11 w/o XML.

FrameMaker 11 still a great unstructured authoring solution

Over the last several releases, major improvements have been made that save a great deal of time in an unstructured environment. This blog focuses on several features that add new powers in regards to graphics and anchored frames. You can see brief videos on some of this functionality in our AdobeTV show, “New in FrameMaker 11: Rich Multimedia Capabilities.”

Here’s an overview of key new features in this area, and how you might use them in your workflow.

Object styles and Object style catalog

For years, FrameMaker has had powerful control over paragraph, character and table styles. A table “catalog” was added in the last release to make application of styles even easier. FrameMaker 10 also introduced strong “housekeeping” tools for styles, e.g. the ability to search for any paragraph, range of text or table that does not match the catalog definition.

This type of power and control has now been extended to graphics, vector objects and anchored frames through Object styles. This can be used in a variety of ways:

This feature is one of the most exciting because (a) it takes a couple of mouse clicks and (b) it produces such dramatic results. FrameMaker has supported rich media for some time now, including the ability to have interactive 3D graphics in PDF output. The problem was, there was no type of guidance of navigation controls. The user was left to their own devices to rotate a diagram and change views from solid to wireframe, etc. It was quite a challenge to identify a specific part.

FrameMaker 11 allows you to “name” imported 3D graphics, then generate a link table. This table will extract a hyperlinked part name for every piece of the graphic and instantly assemble a table. The table may display parts, “views” or different animations. See the diagram below:

More graphic formats

Reduced FrameMaker 11 file size for “placed” graphics

Reduce file size by eliminating unwanted graphic facets:Some people who create shorter documents in unstructured FrameMaker import “placed” graphics (e.g. import by copy vs. import by reference.) Previous releases of FrameMaker automatically created a display facet, which could bloat the file size. You can modify FrameMaker 11 to save smaller files with placed graphics by taking the following actions:

  1. Open maker.ini
  2. Modify based on the following example entry:

This example would stop generating facets for the types of graphics indicated. This feature can be a boon to people who have converted Word docs (with embedded graphics) into unstructured FrameMaker and decided to leave the graphics “placed” rather than replaced with externally referenced images.

How much time and money can you save with FrameMaker 11?

Each publisher has slightly different needs. However, with graphics alone, a team can potentially save hundreds of hours per years using FrameMaker 11 since so many manual steps have been removed from previously complex tasks. To get complete information on resources for FrameMaker 11, including a download for trial software, click here.