After using unstructured Framemaker for 10+ years, I have a new need to learn to author in the structured environment. I'd love to find a decent 2- or 3-day training class where I can do some hands-on work and dig into structured authoring with DITA/S1000D. Any recommendations? I'm open to online, in-person training, or conferences that might be valuable.
This forum is sadly not very active and makes me wonder how many organizations are using Structured FrameMaker. I was using Flare at my last company and the people at Madcap put together a Slack group for Flare users. It was not a course, or class, but it was very active that any questions you had would usually get answered in a day.
True statement. And sadly, it does seem that it reflects a general lack of structured FM usage. For years and years, Adobe had this superior authoring environment available in the core product, but never promoted it. All you heard was community chatter like "We're a small company, can't implement it" or "wouldn't provide me any benefit" or "the learning curve is too high" and endless other fictitious negative statements. Then, when DITA declared itself the end to the flat-earth theory, Adobe jumped on that wagon and continues to drive the DITA mantra, even though DITA is but a single application of structured authoring theory that is only appropriate in a minority of environments. IMHO of course.
So we went from bad to worse... first everybody thought structured FM was too hard or too useless, now they think it equals DITA, a clever but wildly complex toolset that has limited practical value in the structured content arena. And so I just hang out wondering how long I will continue to have this incredible product available to me, when the owner is generally silent about its most powerful and useful features.
That rant ranted, good to see that new versions are still coming out. I really want to keep using this product for the foreseeable future. Thanks for tolerating this unsolicited commentary.
Thanks for replying. I had a feeling that it wasn't being used as widely as I had hoped when I went searching for training avenues and couldn't find too many. Bummer. And @Russ Ward you are so right in wondering how long it's going to be an option from Adobe. I've known about its existence for years, but like I said, never had a reason to use it until recently. @mattl84896954 We also considered using Flare - even bought licenses - but started thinking Structured Frame would be easier to learn because we've been using Unstrctured for so long. Maybe that's not the case. Either way... thanks for the insight.
I realize that you've gotten lots of commentary but no answer to your question I think there are several qualified trainers who could help you out, either on site or by web meeting. Perhaps if you give us a general idea of your location, somebody might have more info to go on.
I don't think Structured Frame would be any more difficult to learn and quite frankly I doubt that either should be difficult to learn at all. It's a big difference in content management theory, though, so I'd encourage you to choose carefully. Flare is heavily vested in the topic-based management approach, for which I have never found any practical use after lots of years of doing this stuff. So is DITA. So maybe that's what you are looking for... just pointing that out.
Good points. Our company is based in Denver, Colorado. So it'd be great to find a resource in this area. Of course, web is an option as well. (I'll keep searching too.)
Most of our work is in the aviation industry, and while we haven't used a topic-based approach to writing content previously, we do re-use a lot of material across our publications, mostly by copying/pasting sadly. For example, flight crews need some of the same information as maintenance personnel. And we'd love to be able to turn on/off content in the output as some of the aircraft we support have Radio ABC while others have Radio XYZ, for example. And some customers are starting to request we meet S1000D standards.
I feel like Flare would do great in this situation. But feel like Frame could do the job too. Hence my original post about training.
I've worked with both now and not sure which is better for single sourcing. So much of the process comes down to how you structure your information. If you don't envision all the use-case scenarios, you'll soon find you're duplicating work (and content) no matter what authoring tool you are using. Flare attempts to offer the best of both worlds - single-sourcing with the ability to control layout. FrameMaker (DITA) is single-sourcing in it's truest form. The content is as portable as it gets, but we're struggling with output - especially for print (PDF). Flare is has a much better user interface and has great toolbars for controlling snippets, variables, etc. I see the value in FrameMaker, but like you, not finding a huge "community" out there in which to share ideas.
You'll find that most structured Fm folks (including training and dev) have been working continuously in the product for many years. Also, most (including myself) work online rather than running local classes. I'm in California, and I don't know of any structured experts in CO.
Thanks for the info. Appreciate the insight. I think we're going to study up a bit more on DITA/S1000D to see what requirements we're going to need to meet and also attend the Dita World online conference next month. Then possibly look into more formal training. So thanks for pointing us to your resources.
Stefan and I will be hosting that event, so make sure to say "Hi" in the chat when you're in the conference sessions!
Flare doesn't support structure beyond XHTML, so DITA, S1000D, and really any structure model won't have a Flare option for editing.
Hi SP Digits,
I teach structured Fm, and have workbooks for sale for both authoring and EDD dev. See techcommtools.com for info.