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Meeting Details

checkicon Date: Thursday, October 18, 2007
checkicon Featuring:

Using DITA with FrameMaker

DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is a new XML format that seems to be getting lots of attention these days. It was specifically designed for topic-oriented authoring and supports efficient reuse of content. Aside from its sensible and easy to understand data model, a big reason for its high adoption rate is the availability of the DITA Open Toolkit (DITA-OT). The DITA-OT (free and open source) provides samples and documentation, as well as XSL transformations that generate numerous types of online output including, HTML, CHM, JavaHelp, PDF, and others. Adopting an existing and well thought out data model that comes with the tools for getting output, can save you months (if not years) of development time.

Because DITA is an XML format, it can be authored in any XML editor. However, due to DITA's special reuse constructs, it works best to use an editor that is specially designed for DITA authoring. There are a number of editors that support DITA authoring, the popular ones being XMetaL, Arbortext, and FrameMaker. An advantage that FrameMaker has is its built-in support for high quality PDF output. The only alternative to Frame's PDF output is through XSL-FO, which for reasonably complex output is very expensive to develop and maintain, and XSL-FO can't match the quality of Frame-generated PDF.

In order to author DITA content in FrameMaker, you'll need to be using versions 7.2 or 8.0 (with limited support in 7.1). DITA-FMx is a free plugin that is available for FrameMaker 7.2, and FrameMaker 8 ships with full DITA support included.

In this presentation you'll see the whole process of authoring and publishing DITA using FrameMaker, as well as the differences between Frame 7.2 and Frame 8.0. You'll see how to efficiently use DITA maps to generate different books that share common topics, in addition to using conrefs to reuse content within topics. You'll also see how quick and easy it is to generate various types of output using the Open Toolkit as well as building a traditional "Frame" book and generating a PDF through FrameMaker.

For more information about DITA, please visit the Introduction to DITA at To get the latest version of DITA-FMx for FrameMaker 7.2, visit

Scott Prentice

Scott is the President of Leximation, Inc. providing tools and solutions for print and online publishing. He has been working in the technical publications field for 16 years, some of that time as a technical writer but most as a tools developer focusing on custom online help and FrameMaker development.

Scott has been involved in DITA development for the past few years, and is the coordinator of the Silicon Valley DITA Interest Group as well as a member of the DITA Focus Area Editorial Board at OASIS. He developed the core plugin that became the DITA App Pack for FrameMaker 7.2 and was involved with the development of DITA-FMx, an enhanced DITA plugin for FrameMaker.

checkicon Location:

Cisco Building 4 (P4)
Green Valley Conference Room
1435 N. McDowell Boulevard
Petaluma, CA 94952

Click here for driving directions

checkicon Schedule:

6:00-6:30 - Networking and dinner
6:30-6:50 - Announcements, round-the-table and speaker introductions
6:50-8:00 - Program
8:00-8:30 - Networking and program follow-up

checkicon Dinner:

We provide dinner at our meetings for no additional cost. The dinner is typically pizza and salad or a deli tray. Coffee, tea, and water are also provided.

checkicon Cost:

$2 members, $4 nonmembers. Dinner included.
You and your guest get in FREE if your guest is a first-time visitor!

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