Re: Arbortext Alternatives - MIL-STD 40051 XML Tech Manuals

Subject: Re: Arbortext Alternatives - MIL-STD 40051 XML Tech Manuals
From: Paul Nagai <naglists -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:36:32 -0700

Thanks, Liz. I was pretty sure that was the case.

With respect to the maintenance fees (and I assume you know this Robert,
given your experience with Arbortext licensing, but it might not be obvious
to folks less familiar with it): It is absolutely possible to purchase and
use Arbortext products *without* paying maintenance. If you choose not to
pay maintenance, however, you do not have access to technical support and
free upgrades.


On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 9:46 AM, Liz Fraley <caltonia -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> You can still get Print Composer. You just need a reseller that knows about
> it. Not all of them do.
>
> If you're buying/using Arbortext, make sure you connect with an Arbortext
> "Qualified" (not just "authorized") partner.
> There's a list at Squidoo: http://www.squidoo.com/arbortext
>
>
> On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 11:14 AM, Mark Giffin <mgiffin -at- earthlink -dot- net>
> wrote:
>
> > A few quick comments.
> >
> > - You could adjust the Author view of Oxygen to display your XML in a
> more
> > friendly way so you could avoid some raw tags editing. It uses CSS and is
> > not terribly difficult to do.
> > - How did you accomplish the PDF through Antenna House? Did you write
> your
> > own XSL-FO? If so, maybe you can adjust it to match your client's output
> > better.
> > - If you are already using Arbortext Publishing Engine (or did I
> > misunderstand), why doesn't your PDF match what your client is
> generating?
> > - It sounds like you are already making the best of the situation. What
> > would an ideal setup look like for you?
> >
> > Mark Giffin
> >
> >
> >
> > On 10/25/2011 8:40 AM, Robert Williams wrote:
> >
> >> Been awhile, hi all. Not inexperienced (SGML& XML military tech manual
> >> background), doing the usual Abortext shuffle for US Army LOGSA MIL-STD
> >> 40051-2 Chg 3 XML tech manuals (TMs) that mostly result in hardcopy for
> >> the
> >> military end user. They (the gov't) don't provide a screen fosi, and
> >> without one, Arbortext is an ugly enough environment to work in - that
> >> there
> >> really isn't that much difference between Arbortext and a commercial XML
> >> editor (save some goodies like toolbar and menu functionality that makes
> >> table creation/edits and figure views a little easier.)
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Questions are mostly curiosity to see what other non-Arbortext methods
> >> other
> >> tech writers are using to do military TMs (besides Frame - not paying
> for
> >> templates when GFE/GFI DTDs and stylesheets are mandated). Our
> >> deliverables
> >> are all source files (XML and graphics) along with PDFs generated with
> >> GFE/GFI stylesheets. Arbortext at this point (with its attendant
> >> proprietary and no longer software upgrade supported Print Composer), is
> >> almost purely used for PDF generation (and not an inexpensive solution,
> >> pricing it 'per workstation.')
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> The delivery requirements are somewhat migratory - as the DoD customer
> now
> >> realizes that there are differences in what you get for PDF even within
> >> Arbortext selections. So the PDF delivery requirement is a little
> >> nebulous,
> >> as they now have to PDF the TMs themselves on their workstations (using
> >> our
> >> delivered XML and graphics), to see them the way they will ultimately
> >> 'see'
> >> them.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> We're a small shop, so the massively expensive Arbortext server based
> >> publishing and printing 'engine' is not a realistic option (last time I
> >> checked, you've got to be past the 10 seat range to make it more cost
> >> effective than standalone Arbortext instantiations, no?)
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> That being said, we've got Oxygen working as a reasonable cost XML
> editor
> >> (same DTD error checking functionality as Arbortext, it would seem.)
> Now,
> >> we've also got AntennaHouse working to generate PDFs.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Yes, there are some differences between what we see in the PDFs from
> >> Arbortext vice AntennaHouse. But since we're mainly using it to check
> >> formatting and make sure that nothing in the customer provided DTDs or
> >> stylesheets comes out horribly ugly on PDF output.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Thoughts? Curious to see what is working for others. We're looking hard
> >> to
> >> get off the PTC 'software maintenance' extortion 'hamster wheel' of +$40
> >> per
> >> month, per workstation (rather like a utility bill, isn't it?). With 6-8
> >> tech writers, the monthly/annual cost of using PTC's not inexpensive
> >> products is not trivial.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> What are you other small shops that are doing military TMs using?
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Regards (and thanks for any/all replies),
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Bob Williams
> >>
> >> (in a tiny little tech writing shop in a tiny little town in the tiniest
> >> state in the US)
> >>
> >> Bristol, RI, US
> >>
> >> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >>
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> >>
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> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
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--
Paul Nagai
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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References:
Re: Arbortext Alternatives - MIL-STD 40051 XML Tech Manuals: From: Liz Fraley

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