Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video What is FrameMaker?, part of FrameMaker 2015 Essential Training.
- [Voiceover] Before we get into exploring the powerful features and functions of FrameMaker, it's important that we understand exactly what FrameMaker is, and what it's used for. So, in this movie, we're going to discuss who uses FrameMaker, and what they use it for, including the differences between structured and standard applications. Exactly what is FrameMaker? Well, in a nutshell, Adobe FrameMaker is a complete authoring and publishing solution for technical communicators. It's part of the Adobe Technical Communication Suite, and FrameMaker is an excellent tool for ensuring the efficient and consistent creation of technical documents, and that's because it's template based, and it's an authoring and publishing solution for structured, unstructured, and XML DITA content, but what do we mean by structured and unstructured content, and what's the difference? Well, if you ever used a word processor like Microsoft Word to create letters, memos, newsletters, and so on, then you've created unstructured documents.
All that means is that you are the one responsible for maintaining the structure of the document, like how it was laid out, and formatted, and published, there were no rules and standards imposed on you during the creation of that content. Structured documents, on the other hand, are different. They have a hierarchical order and meaningful relationships. A structured document will include metadata, meaning information about the file itself, and that determines how it's organized, how it looks, and how it's published. This is separate from the content itself, which means the content can easily be reused in other structured applications with different metadata.
So, here's a basic example. Let's just say you're creating a sales catalog of merchandise, and this catalog will be available in print, as well as online, and you also want people to be able to access it on their mobile devices. Instead of having to create separate documents, or copies of the exact same content, you can reuse the same content, but just filter it through different structured tags to create the look and feel for the different formats. This is a typical scenario for FrameMaker, where the content can be created once, and then presented using three different methods. The most common format for structured content is XML, it stands for Extensible Markup Language.
XML ensures that content is assembled properly, and formatting tags are applied to the style content based on the designer specifications. XML is important, because it defines relationships between content. It provides a hierarchy to content, enforces a specific order, and XML makes your content portable and accessible because it's a standard that can be read by many different hardware and software platforms. Also, XML allows your content to published to many different channels, since the XML tags can be automatically transformed into formatting tags. Now, we could easily dedicate an entire course to structured content in XML, and in fact, we have several XML courses available if you're interested in learning about the language, but the important point here is that we can use FrameMaker to author structured content using XML.
So, who exactly uses this powerful software? Mainly, technical communicators will use FrameMaker to write, edit, and publish content for print or online use. Also, word processor users will often switch over to FrameMaker when they need to generate more complex and lengthy technical documentation, because FrameMaker offers a more structured, yet flexible authoring environment, and you'll also find commercial and specialty publishers making use of FrameMaker's template driven publishing model to create books, industrial catalogs, directories, and other lengthy and complex content.
All right, so now that you have a basic understanding of what FrameMaker is, and what I can do, let's move on to actually using it.
- What is FrameMaker?
- Working with pods, workspaces, guides, and templates
- Creating a custom document
- Designing and defining paragraph formats
- Formatting text
- Changing the page layout
- Creating master pages
- Styling with color and character formats
- Adding graphics
- Editing documents
- Working with tables
- Using cross-references and footnotes
- Generating books
- Working with indexes
- Using conditional text
- Adding hyperlinks
- Publishing to PDF and other document formats