How to convert unstructured fm files to dita files

Explorer ,
Jun 07, 2021 Jun 07, 2021

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Hi! Apologies if this has been asked before. I searched but couldn't find a similar post, or the structured framemaker forum that I used to visit, so....

 

I'm looking into what it would take to convert existing unstructured fm documentation into DITA files. I know how to use DITA, as my previous company used it for most of their documents, so I'm comfortable creating templates and new documents, working with the EDD, etc.,

 

What are the broad steps for converting existing documentation into DITA files, and where should I look for detailed information? 

 

Our files do use styles consistently, and it is clear to me which sections should become task/concept/reference files, but currently many of these are contained within the same .fm file.

There is too much content to convert it all manually - I work on 1 product (out of 7 or so) and it has 1000pages of documentation.

 

Thanks!

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Advisor ,
Jun 08, 2021 Jun 08, 2021

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Kat,

    I would expect there are two steps in the conversion:

 

  1. Deducing an element structure from the tags in the unstructured documents
  2. Dividing the resulting files into separate topics

 

Depending on the nature of the styles/formats in the original unstructured files, a conversion table can get you well started with the first step. Some manual/automatic clean-up is typical. If you are not familiar with conversion tables, they are described in the Structured Application Developer's Reference (Adobe FrameMaker Structure Application Developer Reference), Chapter 4.

 

Once you have a structured version of the documents, you can save them as XML and use XSLT both to make systematic changes and to divide them into individual topics and build topic maps.

  --Lynne

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 08, 2021 Jun 08, 2021

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I agree with Lynne: structure, cleanup, and validate first, then split. I find it easier to do the cleanup work on bigger files rather than a bunch of split files.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 08, 2021 Jun 08, 2021

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Lynne and Rick are both fantastic resources to help with this!

Additionally, I used Scott Prentice and his FM2DITA plugin for the largest DITA conversion I was involved in.

You can choose to configure the tool yourself, or have Scott do it for you. See Scott's site for info

https://leximation.com/tools/info/fm2dita.php

-Matt

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 08, 2021 Jun 08, 2021

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Thank you Matt. While mentioning tools, you should look at FrameSLT by West Street Consulting. This allows you to do some serious structured cleanup right within FrameMaker. One of my all-time favorite FrameMaker tools.

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Explorer ,
Jun 18, 2021 Jun 18, 2021

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply, and sorry it took me so long to come back to this. I didn't see the reply notifications come through.

This is really helpful 🙂

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