Eddie Van Arsdall’s Ten Tips for FrameMaker Docs

If you use Adobe FrameMaker and wondered ‘well how could I get these documents into another tech writing tool’, then read this week’s edition of  MadNewz from Madcap Software. Eddie VanArsdall has written a great tutorial that shows how to move content between these packages.

How to Move Documents From Framemaker to FlareEddie

Eddie makes the point that, ‘single-sourcing FrameMaker content is time-consuming and tedious. And buying licenses for separate conversion tools gets expensive. Now you can use one tool to author and single-source your content.’

These are the first five in the list.

  1. Set up a directory for your Flare projects.
  2. Start with a relatively small FrameMaker book.
  3. Clean up your source files.
  4. Indent your TOC sublevels.
  5. Map FrameMaker content to Flare topics.

You can read the other Ten Tips for Importing FrameMaker Docs into Madcap Flare here:

Start with a small pilot project

His suggests to start small and avoid importing all of your FrameMaker content at once. For example, choose one or two relatively small books (50 to 100 pages) or a long chapter file as pilot projects.

This can help you judge how much you can transfer in one go. Of course, the more complex the Frame documents, the small the files I’d bring over.

Test and test again!

Clean up source files

This will also speed things up. He adds that your FrameMaker files should be completely tagged and free of formatting overrides. ‘Flare will convert tags to equivalent CSS classes. If it finds a lot of overrides, it will create a class for each one. That’s a maintenance headache.’

Who Wrote This?

One of the nice things about Madcap is the way they bring real users into the mix.

Eddie is senior member of the Society for Technical Communication and a past president of the Washington, DC chapter. He runs VanArsdall InfoDesign™, a consulting and services company specializing in technical communication.

‘I analyze, organize, and deliver simplified technical information so that people can understand it.’

You can read his tech writer’s blog at http://www.vanarsdall-infodesign.com/

Missed Opportunities?

There are two things I like about this article. One is that it’s practical. I can run with his suggestions and try them today.

The second is the way Madcap engage with their customer base. They’ve been very good to me when I’ve had issues, which I can’t say some other Tech Doc vendors. You know who you are!

It’s a bit ironic that an industry with so many tech writers (who I assume love the process of writing) aren’t courted by IT vendors to write on their sites.

I think there’s a missed opportunity here. What do you think?

Download these templates to start

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan