Frame -> HTML

Subject: Frame -> HTML
From: Mark Dempsey <mxd2 -at- osi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L, a list for all technical communication issues" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 08:08:21 -0700


We've used Frame -> pdf for single-source docs for some time now and
have had favorable comments from customers about the practice. Except
for re-flowing the text to fit a browser, Acrobat can produce all the
links, bells and whistles HTML can, IMHO (although I'm told my opinion
is limited).

We're also experimenting with HTML (produced by Quadralay's Webworks,
*not* Frame alone). See: for an
example of cross-platform/cross-browser HTML produced from Frame by
webworks. Most of the control you seek for HTML conversion is not
available from Frame. You must use Webworks.

The basic problems with HTML are that, as good as Webworks output is
(and it's pretty good), there's at least another edit cycle to check the
output to see it's not garbled somehow. Also, you must mark certain
things as "print only" with conditional text (e.g. the "Conventions in
this manual" section that explains font use, or graphics you do not want
to see in the HTML output). Webworks will exclude the conditional text
settings you configure. Maintaining this difference between print and
online is not part of the pdf output, but must be part of the HTML doc

Many experienced folks say you must maintain two versions: online and
print. I don't disagree--the maintenance of a single version with the
conditional text is that much work. For example, if you have a
cross-reference to a conditional text passage, you must write so that
cross-reference can be omitted (and make the cross-reference itself
conditional). This is a task that can expand exponentially...

The downside of pdfs is that they can't be "What's this" or
context-sensitive help. IMHO (again) context-sensitivy is almost always
useless, (besides being a maintenance nightmare) and if needed, bespeaks
a need to redesign whatever it's explaining more than it provides useful
information. Try getting context-sensitive help the next time you use a
spreadsheet. If you want to know about formulas, it'll tell you about


John Cornellier wrote:
> I'd like to hear from anyone who is using Frame to single source
> & printed output.
> 1) How good is the HTML output? Can I specify style mapping,
e.g. Heading
> One = H1, etc.?
> 2) Can I control the HTML file structure? E.g. could I specify
that I want
> every chapter in its own directory and called index.htm?
> 3) Are there any glitches and gotchas with the hyperlink
conversion --
> either to PDF or HTML?
> 4) Can I use conditional text to control the output to PDF/
> 5) If I have already created an index in Frame, can that be
converted to a
> PDF index? Or do I have to use Catalog once the PDFs are made?
> 6) With the HTML output, can I specify that inline graphics in
the PDF /
> printed version become alinks (so that they are not obligatory
> 7) Is there any provision for generating a navigation system in
the HTML
> pages, e.g. so that each page has at the top
> Home > Engineering Guide > This Chapter
> With "Engineering Guide" being a link to an autogenerated TofC
> 8) Can I control the CSSs from within Frame, or do I edit them
> 9) Anything else I didn't think of?

-- mailto:Mark -dot- Dempsey -at- osi -dot- com
-- Mark Dempsey
-- Technical Publications
-- Objective Systems Integrators
-- 110 Woodmere, Folsom, CA 95630
-- 916.353.2400 x 4777

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