RE: Flare or Frame as an intermediary for migrating to DITA?

Subject: RE: Flare or Frame as an intermediary for migrating to DITA?
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: Scott Turner <quills -at- airmail -dot- net>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2014 02:58:12 +0000

Thanks, Scott.

Perhaps I should have titled the post "Flare and Frame as intermediaries for migrating to DITA?"

It wasn't really a Frame vs. Flare contest, although that's important to know too, and is legitimately part of the puzzle.

The larger question is, and even assuming Frame is the winner of that contest, how would Frame stack up against, for this purpose, the CCMS editors themselves, whether built-in or external? So for example we'd be talking about Arbortext Editor, Author-it's editor (don't know the name), SDL LiveContent's editor (if built-in), Vasont, Astoria, and the external ones like oXygen XML Editor (or Author) and XMetaL. Maybe also with other systems like easyDITA, Componize, etc.

So I'm really asking, is this "intermediary" solution (Frame in this case, as a "filter") more efficient than just training up your writers in the CCMS's editor and importing-and-converting everything that way?

I haven't been part of a migration yet so I don't know how these different options stack up.

Thanks for anyone's thoughts on this.

Steve

PS - The question may have more to do with, How is unstructured data migrated and converted to DITA? A few jobs ago we had Astoria and XMetaL. I don't remember how the data got into XMetaL (and Astoria) but I do remember editing structured content. We also had some projects in Structured Frame. So if you have an Unstructured Frame doc, for example, is it easier to structure it in Structured Frame first and then export the DITA topic for use in XMetaL and Astoria, or is it easier to simply put it in Astoria, open it from the CCMS in XMetaL, and start putting DITA structure on it? These are the things I don't know. And that's just one example using one set of tools. There's still a lot of research to do, obviously. I just thought someone might have gone down this road before and would have some insights. Thanks again.


On Saturday, October 11, 2014 7:30 PM, Scott Turner [mailto:quills -at- airmail -dot- net] wrote:

>From my stand point, Frame has more advantages, just from the fact that you can use XML and the provided DITA configuration in Frame.

Remember that conversion of Microsoft word can be automated to a high degree in FeameMaker, but it requires that the author of the Word files has religiously used paragraph and character tags in formatting. If they used line formatting you have a manual operation ahead of you.

In all, FrameMaker is easier to manipulate in my estimation, and has greater ease of use when authoring in XML.


> On Oct 11, 2014, at 17:13, Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> This is for futures.
>
> Short version of the question: If you're converting legacy content from unstructured to structured in XML/DITA, and let's say you have or will have a CCMS with either a built-in XML editor or a third-party one like oXygen or XMetaL... Would it make sense to use either Flare or Structured FrameMaker as your intermediary to convert unstructured content to XML/DITA and then export to your CCMS with editor?
>
> So you might have legacy content in any of these formats:
>
> * Plain text
> * MS Word
> * FrameMaker (unstructured)
> * InDesign
> * MadCap Flare
>
> For Flare, my understanding of how it works with DITA is this: It can import DITA topics and converts them into Flare-proprietary topics. Then you edit, and export back to DITA and Flare converts it back to a DITA-compliant topic. Now, you're not importing DITA in my example, just legacy content from one of the other formats. So using Flare as an intermediary, you'd import the legacy content into Flare, "prepare" it in a manner that approximates DITA structure (as much as you can within Flare), then export ("publish" or "build") to DITA.
>
> Or, using Structured FrameMaker in this example, you'd import the unstructured content into Frame+XML (let's call it), structure it to be DITA-compliant, and then simply save out.
>
> In either case, you would take the resulting DITA output and use it in your CCMS with that system's editor (either built-in, or the external like oXygen or XMetaL).
>
> Does this make sense versus doing the conversion right in the CCMS's editor?
>
> The reason I bring this up is that it seems more people are familiar with working in Frame and Flare than in oXygen, XMetaL, and the big CCMSs. So it might be feasible to use Frame or Flare as your "middleman."
>
> Flare does not seem as suited for this purpose but it might work, especially with Flare source content, of course.
>
> But the advantages of using Frame+XML for this seem to be, on the plus side, that it's an Adobe product so it would be a natural for converting Unstructured Frame files, InDesign files, and the like. I'm guessing Frame also handles Word and plain text files pretty easily (from memory).
>
> Also, existing Frame and Flare licenses are more plentiful.
>
> I know there are companies that specialize in data conversion, but if you go the in-house route, I'm wondering if anybody on the list has had experience with this kind of thing, and what you found.
>
> Thanks so much.
>
> Steve


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References:
Flare or Frame as an intermediary for migrating to DITA?: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: Flare or Frame as an intermediary for migrating to DITA?: From: Scott Turner

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