Re: FrameMaker+SGML

Subject: Re: FrameMaker+SGML
From: Chris Despopoulos <cud -at- arrakis -dot- es>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 16:56:55 +0100

I use Maker+SGML all the time... It is a super-set of
FrameMaker and I use plain Maker for many projects. I
occasionally have SGML-related work, so it's nice to have
the extra functionality. Maker+SGML (IMO) is no less stable
than plain Maker, you just pay extra for the extra

I sometimes use the structure features even though I'm not
going to SGML. You can think of it as the mother of all
outliners, or as a programmable outliner. Once you get the
structure figured out (via an EDD), you have the advantages
of outlining, but for any categories of information you
want. This can include automatic formatting depending on
the hierarchical context of elements, automatically
inserting sub-trees, validation or no validation (whichever
you want).

In short, I like it. Sometimes its overkill, but sometimes
I need it.

If you see XML or SGML in the future, the capturing your
document structure in Maker+SGML will not be lost work, even
if you drop the product for some future super-XML app. Keep
in mind that Maker+SGML, just like any other paginator you
will use with SGML/XML, will require customization. The
product includes the concept of an SGML application, which
is how you create a custom SGML environment. It also has an
API for those inevitable hard-to-handle situations. If you
are moving toward SGML/XML, you have a serious amount of
stuff to learn. Familiarity with Maker+SGML will certainly
not hurt.

As for languages, you get double-byte support, so for
example, if you have the correct fonts and platform, you can
read and write Japanese.

As for platforms, Maker just came out on Linux... Not sure
how comprehensive the support is, nor how stable. I believe
it's a Beta version, and free. So if you want, you should
be able to look at the Linux version right now... er, that
is, if they included Maker+SGML in the Linux release. I
can't say for sure. Other Unix platforms are supported -
see the Adobe site for real info on that. But the point is,
the document files are literally multi-platform... No

Finally, if you need or want special tools to streamline
your processes, Maker has an API, and there are plenty of
programmers available to whomp up tools for you. I have
made tools for myself and others that streamline TOC and
Index generation, expand on formatting capabilities
(drop-caps and icon/paragraph pairs, for example), and help
with template creation.

Cheers cud

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