Is there a way to share a FrameMaker book that neither causes conflicts in the source file (or locking), nor is unable to be viewed as a copy elsewhere?
We saved a copy of the book, and sent it over to another person, but they cannot view any of the .fm files within the book. Below is the message we get when we try to play around the copied file.
We are concerned to let the other party have access to our source file because it locks the other person working on the document out. It's not clear how what we are trying to do is possible, which does not seem a likely occurrence because there should be a functionality to save a local copy that is editable without changing anything in the source file.
What did you copy and give to the other person? Just the .book file?
I received just a book file, yes.
I'm pretty sure you also need to copy all the component .fm files and images that are used in them too.
Would that create conflicts or locking out others in the source files?
Are you using some sort of source control? If you are, then you'd want to check out a local copy, make a copy of all the files involved (outside of FM) locally, and then send the copy to the other person (who's NOT connected to your source control, correct?)
This is right. We have separate teams, one that deals with tech writing, and then engineers. Engineers are trying to streamline editing process because right now they are editing messy word conversions and sending back to tech writer to incorporate.
There are also built-in and for purchase scripts out there for creating archive copies of FM docs.
I've heard of these scripts, but how difficult would it be for someone not technically inclined to run? Thank you for the responses.
You don't mention what version of FM you're using, but most people would create review PDFs out of their FM content, send that out for review & use the feature inside FM to "suck" those changes back into the FM files. There a few "catches" involved (like, you can't change the FM source until you get the reviewers' comments back if you want to pull them in) but some form of this is used - some people just manually go through the comments/changes on the PDF to decide what they want to change in the FM doc.
I believe this is a feature we have in our version (FrameMaker 2019).
Also, is there no way to have multiple users editing a single FM doc at once? I thought structured documents allowed for this?
A book file is a simple list that links to the FrameMaker documents—sharing just the book file with someone else will result it the message you showed us at the beginning. If you want someone to be able to work on the book, you will want to share the project folder that contains the book file, the chapters and the linked graphics.
As for multiple people editing a single file—consider this workflow. If two people edit the same file at the same time, the one who saves last wins (because they overwrite the earlier saved edits). FrameMaker documents generate lock files (with an .lck extenstion) when opened to prohibit this specific scenario. When a second person tries to open a file that is already open, they can will be offered a read-only view so that they can see the file, but not edit it.
Even using a source control program, it won't be able to handle multiple authors trying to work on the same topic because FM files are binaries, not text, and source control systems aren't very good at merging changed binaries back together. Thus, you get a "check-out" system - author A checks out topic XYZ, and author B works on something else (because they got a message that XYZ is locked & in use by author A). When XYZ is checked back in, author B gets a notification that they can check it out now. Working in structured FM just usually means that your content is busted up into many smaller components, that your publishing system assembles together to create the output.
One last question. Will the entire book be locked, or could one work on an individual chapter while another person works a different chapter?
Thank you for all the replies.
The book would only be locked if someone checked out the .book file. Normally, you'd just be checking out .fm files.