SUMMARY: FM to BookManager

Subject: SUMMARY: FM to BookManager
From: Keith Arnett <keith_arnett -at- RESTON -dot- OMD -dot- STERLING -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 15:45:06 -0500


A couple of weeks back, I posted a request for comments/information
from anyone familiar with using IBM's BookMananger document
preparation and distribution format.

The reason: we currently develop our documentation in FrameMaker, and
distribute via print manuals, and PDF on CD-ROM. Much of our software
is used in the mainframe world, and the sales and customer service
departments reported some requests for viewing our documentation
directly on the mainframe as BookManager documents.

A visit to the BookManager web site (
reveals a flashy and seemingly "now" presentation of BookManager as
the solution to all your document distribution needs, positioned to
compete with PDF and support HTML.

Distributable viewers are inexpensive and available for all popular
platforms (including MVS and CICS), and the software to convert from
existing platforms (FrameMaker, MSWord, etc.) is reasonable in price.
Hmmmm....looks interesting....


I received a total of five responses, only two of which were from
current BookManager users. As I posted this request on both the
techwr-l list and the frameusers list, I took this as a sign that
BookManager is, shall we say, not widely used. All of the responses
were valuable, however, and I wish to thank everyone who took the time
to respond.

Paul Nagai of Visa International truly saved the day. Paul is an
experienced BookManager user, and I am deeply grateful to him for the
extensive insight and commentary he provided on this product.

BTW, Paul is interested in hearing from anyone out there concerning
BookManager products and strategies. He can be emailed at
pnagai -at- visa -dot- com -dot-


Aging mark-up language
BookManager is based on IBM's proprietary mark-up language,
BookMaster. With the pending release of XML, this aging mark-up
language will be a couple of generations old.

FrameMaker Book files
Many documents are constructed as FrameMaker books; BookManager will
process FrameMaker book files, but manual preparation of the book file
is required prior to conversion. Usually you must also delete: title
page, list of tables, list of figures, table of contents, and the
index from the FrameMaker book file.

Limited Graphics Conversion
Graphics that were developed within FrameMaker (that is, using the
FrameMaker drawing tools) are not converted by BookManager. These
graphics will have to be reconstructed as .GIF or .BMP files and
re-integrated into the document. This is also true for .EPS files,
for composite graphics composed of several separate graphics, and for
composite graphics combining graphics and TrueType fonts.

Existing FrameMaker Templates May Be Unsuited to BookManager
It is likely that existing FrameMaker templates will be unsuited to
BookMaster conversion. In this case, an entire new set of templates
must be developed for the conversion process.

HTML Conversion
A related application, IBM's BookServer, can be installed by the
customer to make BookManager files available to any with a Web
browser. This means that BookMaster files are converted yet again to
HTML for the Web browser, and due to the nature of HTML, discrepancies
in layout in the document will result. In the strictest sense, in
addition to being checked with a BookManager viewer, BookManager
documents should also be checked with a Web browser for quality and

However, to do so would require licensing and installation of
BookServer, which is a costly undertaking: the license fee for
BookServer for Windows NT is $4,995.

Reiterative layout process
The BUILD component of BookManager is primarily a conversion engine;
it does not allow for any post-conversion "tweaking" of the document,
e.g. adjusting spacing, placement, etc. This must be done in the
source document, or via rulesets that are defined for BookManager
BUILD. In other words, document optimization is an iterative process:
after running the conversion, the document has to be checked for
conversion problems, and then the source document or ruleset has to be
adjusted, and the conversion process run again.


We ultimately decided not to provide our documentation in BookManager
format. If anyone would like a copy of my feasibility study on
BookManager, please let me know.

Again, thanks to Paul Nagai for his invaluable assistance, and to the
others who responded.


Keith Arnett
Techical Writer
Sterling Software, Inc./Operations Management Division
Reston VA USA

Previous by Author: Re: Binding arb clause in new contract--unfair?!
Next by Author: Formative Evaluation - first draft: LOCATION
Previous by Thread: Re: samples again
Next by Thread: SLC JOB: On-line Technical Writer

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads