Re: Thanks... and need info on a cross-platform graphic format

Subject: Re: Thanks... and need info on a cross-platform graphic format
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 07:10:56 -0500

Well, Hari, you've put your finger right on the bane of our collective
existence: graphics and compatibility.

At 11:00 AM 10/14/97 +0500, you wrote, in part:

>I'm facing another problem now. We have FrameMaker on various platforms
>such as Windows, Solaris and Mac, and the documents need to be
>viewed/edited on these platforms. While we do not have any problem with the
>text, diagrams are creating real problems. I am on Windows95, and create
>the diagrams in Visio Technical. To insert these into FrameMaker, we
>convert them into Windows Metafile (.wmf) or Windows Bitmap (.bmp). While
>these diagrams work fine with Windows version of FrameMaker, they appear as
>blank frames on Solaris.

If you're inserting metafiles, no wonder they're blanks. No headers in WMF,
and Solaris doesn't interpret them. BMPs may or may not work, depending on
circumstances, but BMPs are, unfortunately, device-dependent, primarily
dependent on Windows where they originated.
>Is there a graphic format supported on the differnt versions of FrameMaker?
>I tried Encapsulated Postscript (.eps), but it didn't work. I cannot create
>some of these diagrams using FrameMaker graphic tools as they are pretty

TIFF is a fairly common format used cross-platform. Unfortunately, it's
bitmapped, just with a better file structure than BMPs.

EPS is generally the best bet for compatibility, because it's not linked to
a device type and it's object-based, rather than bitmapped. It is, however,
hellishly complicated to write an interpreter for EPS and many packages
don't do it right, making EPS transport enormously tricky and prone to
blowing up. You'll also have to use a PostScript printer for output.

If you can get the right match of creation and reception tools, EPS can
work extremely well. When you say that your EPSs didn't work, you probably
need to expand on that. What happened? Why not? What did you create them in?
Visio ain't always the best way to go here, even though it's my choice for
technical diagrams, too. Make sure you've got the newest Visio, because the
filters can change with the version.

If your EPS just came in as a gray box, then you don't have the correct
header on the file. That's selectable in the output filter. Nobody's
software actually interprets EPS on the screen...instead, the EPS header is
displayed. The EPS itself is then printed to a PostScript printer. Use any
other kind of printer and only the header prints.

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
FrameMaker support ForeHelp support
FrameMaker Conversions
PDF Consulting and Production

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