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The main "stumbling blocks" (or risks) when you learn FrameMaker and DITA
by yourself are:
- It may take quite along time (weeks or months) to become proficient at
- You may figure out how to use specific FrameMaker features, but maybe
you don't use the best approach to structure and format your content. Some
people who learn FrameMaker by themselves try to use FrameMaker in the same
way as they use Word, which is often not a good idea. I have seen people
draw disconnected text frames on a page and then fill up these text frames
with graphics and English text. If they want to have this content
translated, they'd have to pay an arm and a leg for DTP work because of
Quite often, there are many different ways to do things in FrameMaker, and
you don't (can't) always know which way is the best, unless an expert
explains the various options. For example, there are at least three
different ways to insert a "chapter table of contents" in your files, or
three different ways to put a symbol before a note. Each method has its
advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you wish to do with your
content, for example publish as PDF only, or structure it in DITA and then
publish it in many different output formats (HTML, EPUB, WebHelp...).
So, my advice is: get training. If you don't know FrameMaker or DITA yet,
you could take the following classes:
1. Unstructured FrameMaker basics ("unstructured" meaning non-XML).
2. Structured FrameMaker basics (and learn a little bit of XML too).
3. DITA-structured authoring.
4. Publishing DITA content with FrameMaker (and the Technical
Sure, investing in training may cost a bit of money, but it will save you a
lot of time and effort and you're content will be well-structured right
from the start.
There are a lot of Adobe-Certified Instructors out there, and many of them
also teach DITA classes. You can find them with the Adobe Partner Finder: