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Adobe Framemaker is a robust tool for book and document authoring. It has support for both structured and unstructured approaches. It supports two primary formats, FM and MIF


[edit] Overview

Framemaker has a flexible authoring environment that allows you to work in a familiar style-tagging word processing mode or in a fully structured environment optimized for editing and producing valid XML and SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language). Manage your content entirely in XML, use XSLT during editing, and conform to industry standards such as DITA and DocBook. Easily convert existing documents to structured content through conversion tables. And import content from many other formats, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, QuarkXPress, and Adobe PageMaker® software.

Framemaker can be used to create, edit, and publish technical content with powerful features for automatic numbering, cross-references, tables of contents, indexes, books, and more. Automate formatting via templates and integrate tables, graphics, and images. It is fully WYSIWYG within a document.

Framemaker is designed to handle books. It features a book file that can collect multiple documents and manage them as a set. It supports TOC, Indexing and other features associated with complex books. It has conditional output mode that allows a single book to support customization in how the output is produced. Unicode is supported starting in version 8.

[edit] Included Tools

Framemaker includes some basic functionality from which includes the ability to support HTML, LIT, and eReader formats.

A copy of PDF distiller is included with Framemaker to permit the generation of quality PDF documents including tagging, crop marks, and other publishing features.

Framemaker includes a save option that creates a MIF (maker intermediate format) file. This is an ascii mark up file that permits easy access to the file data. It is a full representation of the document including keywords for all the formatting. MIF can be used as a save format for files and as an exchange mechanism between various versions of Framemaker. It can also serve as a source file to tools to directly manipulate the file data either to modify it or to convert it to another format.

Framemaker 9 or 10 includes RoboHelp which can be used to create ePub files. See script to generate epub content. You can also generate an XHTML file from Framemaker that can be used by Calibre to create an ePub or MOBI file.

Framemaker 11 supports The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) 1.2 specification defines both a) a set of document types for authoring and organizing topic-oriented information; and b) a set of mechanisms for combining, extending, and constraining document types.

FrameMaker 12, without having to purchase any other product, can publish to popular output formats like ePub 3, KF8, MOBI, WebHelp, CHM, and HTML5 with a single click.

[edit] Files

There are several files that can exist in a Framemaker document.

FM - the primary file extension is .fm. This is the binary format used to store the actual document itself. There are also some automatically generated files with the fm extension. Once generated these can be edited but will be overridden in future updates. This files include TOC and IX. The special names are appended to the end of the book name just before the extension.

BOOK - The file extension book is used to hold a book which is a collection of Frame document files, TOC, and IX files. This file is used to produce the total book from a multitude of files. The final Book is usually a PDF or printed copy.

MIF - This is the primary exchange format (Maker Intermediate Format). It an ASCII markup document and contains tagged data that fully represents the FM file. Users can free move between the FM format and the MIF format without losing information. MIF permits exchanging between various versions of Framemaker where the binary database format may change. It can also be used in source control systems to manage changes. Various programs can easily parse the documented MIF format to convert from frame to other systems or to modify the document itself.

As changes are made to documents Framemaker will keep a backup using dual extensions such as for a file called filename. Book files are also treated this way.

[edit] Tips and helpful tools

Java tool to convert MIF to XML This can be the first step in producing an ePUB document or interfacing to other XML tools. (likely Word 2003 XML format)

A DocBook converter converts XML produced above back to MIF

[edit] For more information

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