I want to get your opinion on the strategy I intend to adopt unless someone tells me about a better way!
I recently imported ~150 .html files into FrameMaker, and tidied them all up, so that they could become the basis of future single-sourced PDFs and HTML5 help systems. I find it hard to scroll through 150 .fm files in the .bk file to find the individual topic I need, and I can't think of a reason to keep the .fm files separate.
Therefore, I am going consolidate the .fm files in large chapter files and, ultimately, create a traditional FrameMaker book file that will produce a traditional PDF. Then:
1. I'll generate PDFs in the usual way.
2. In order to create HTML5 Help, I will use the Settings option to split each .fm into topics at the H1 and H2 levels, and suppress my Chapter Title sections completely (since they contain book-metaphor connective material).
Would any of you use a different strategy? If so, what are its selling points? Would you keep the ~150 separate .fm files for any reason?
In my most recent position, I found the most effective structure was just five files (plus the .book file):
front (cover, unique Master Pages)
body (all chapters)
back (cover, unique Master Pages)
Having lots of chapter files slowed down both authoring and maintenance. FM was originally designed to be responsive in working with large monolithic files on slow RAM-constrained computers. It still is. I wouldn't use a multitude of chapter files unless there was a compelling reason (and those can arise).
How long was your single body file? If it was very long, how did you find your way around it?
I like having separate files just for the ease of going straight to one major topic or another, without having to use the search function. However, I see lots of advantages in the way you're doing it. No more numbering troubles, for example, or individual files with incorrect header or footer information ...
re: How long was your single body file?
In general, less than 200 pages (letter size 2-column), due to print shop binding limitations, although one that I recall was well over 300 pages.