FrameMaker, a “great” XML editor and publishing solution!

Is FrameMaker a “real” XML editor and publishing solution?

As many of you know, prior to coming to work for Adobe as Technical Communication Suite, FrameMaker and RoboHelp Product Evangelist, I was Managing Partner of International Training and Consulting Company Integrated Technologies, Inc. for two decades.

I jumped on the structured authoring bandwagon early on. We had a very strong customer base made up of marquee names like Solomon Smith Barney, Bellcore, Moodies Investor Services, Lucent and so on. Our clients usually lead the way. Bellcore, now called Telcordia introduced me to the SGML standard format. They requested that our Company teach them FrameMaker Builder and later FrameMaker + SGML.

I saw the benefits of structured / SGML authoring right away. Guided authoring, separating formatting from content and DTD structure validation. We helped large enterprises convert their legacy content to SGML and later XML. At that time I was application independent as an organization, but I found myself constantly supporting Structured FrameMaker implementations. Sure there were occasions when I was asked to support other XML editors, but the client paid more and the users usually required much more hand holding and training.

Let’s get to the subject of, “Is FrameMaker a real XML editor and publishing solution?”

I see the following as absolute must haves for an XML editor:

1. Create and edit XML files. The ability to create a new XML file, open an existing XML file, modify it and save it.

2. The XML file should be validated against a DTD or schema on open and save. You should be able to validate the content being created against the structure definition to guarantee that your content will be validate upon save.

3. A “real” XML editor should support major standards and custom structures as defined by the user.

4. XML standards should be supported without any configuration out of the box. Generic Templates should be provided without extra cost.

5. View the element structure both inside the document window and a structured tree view window separating content from structure.

6. The ability to automatically run a XSLT style sheet on open and save, if you choose to.

The above are must haves! If you care about Return on Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), then the following are also important:

1. The author should be able to become productive with minimal training as they are using a familiar interface even when doing XML authoring

2. All WYSIWYG XML authoring applications require some customization, if it is going to reflect the Corporation look and feel, even if we are talking about authoring XML using an existing standard. This customization should be easily learned or cheaply outsourced to a consultant.

3. You should be able to leverage the XML Author Templates for use in publishing paper and PDF. No additional configuration and cost. Furthermore, you should be able to publish to multiple formats and devices

4. Integration with major Content Management Systems at no additional cost.

5. Easy to do reviews with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) with minimal to no extra cost

The list can go on and on. So, how does FrameMaker fare on these criteria? FrameMaker meets and exceeds all of the above mentioned areas and more.

So can you create XML content with FrameMaker? Yes and it’s easier with FrameMaker than any other editor.

Can you publish XML content with FrameMaker? Yes, we support print and PDF XML publishing with a couple of clicks of a button. We can also publish XML to EPUB (tablets and smart phones), HTMLHelp, AdobeAIR, CHM files, EclipseHelp, JavaHelp and more with the Technical Communication Suites 3.5, which includes FrameMaker 10 and RoboHelp 9.

Can any other XML editor author the same content FrameMaker created? Of course, as long as they support the standard or custom structure being used.

Can you easily collaborate with authors and SMEs on XML content creation? Yes, we integrate with most of the leading content management systems out there. We also provide a low cost and easy-to-use review workflow in the PDF based review.

and publish an XML documents and topics with FrameMaker 10.

Also, if you are interested in trying a fully functioning copy of FrameMaker 10 for 30 days or try it in a web browser, you will want to go here.

Also, if you want to calculate the Return on Investment of moving to an XML workflow, you will want to try our new XML ROI Calculator at