I've recently started a new position. My prior background was heavily DITA, and I'd describe my FrameMaker experience as late beginner or early intermediate. The new position uses FM exclusively though, so I've been on a steep learning curve lately.
I'm using the trial version of FrameMaker 11, downloaded about two weeks ago, until the PO for my full FM 11 license is processed. I'm working in book and document files that have been upgraded, I believe, from FM 9 to FM 10 and then from FM 10 to FM 11. All of my colleagues are still using FM 10, with a mind to upgrade to FM 11 in the spring as our new budget comes through (I am, so to speak, the FM 11 guinea pig for the group).
My workstation is a brand new HP Elitebook laptop running Windows 7 64-bit (I believe our IT department downgraded it from Windows 8). Windows is fully up-to-date. My trial version of FM 11 is 126.96.36.1992 and also up-to-date as of this message.
My issue: FM 11 randomly crashes several times a week, sometimes once a day or so, sometimes when I try any of the following:
The crash takes the appearance of FM freezing for several seconds, then the dreaded message window opening with the words "FrameMaker has detected a serious error and must quit", with columns of error codes below.
I've googled and binged and not found anything for this issue in FM 11, so I thought I'd post here. I have tried the following, based on somewhat similar discussions I've seen for crashes in earlier versions of FM)
Neither of these has worked. FM 11 trial continues to crash. It doesn't happen often; I'd say that I'm able to successfully able to perform the above tasks 20 times or so, with the crash on the 21st. But on a busy day, that's a few crashes a day.
To mitigate damage, I have autosave set to every two minutes and gotten in the habit of only having one or two documents open, instead of all in a book, to minimize the number of recovery files I need to process.
After one of the initial crashes, I did as Adobe asked and forwarded the crash report to them for troubleshooting.
My colleagues are watching all this very closely, and my troubles might influence our decision to upgrade from FM 10 to FM 11. So any insight into this issue would be appreciated!
Your crashing is likely due to mucked graphics or missing resources in your files. Once you address any missing resource messages and have files that open and update without errors, try to narrow down the individual files that consistently crash, then whittle down the options til you find the culprit.
There's more detail on p359 of my book.
Thank you for the insights Matt!
Mucked graphics: how would I know if they are corrupt? All graphics are .png files, are visible within each framemaker document when imported by reference, and are also visible in external viewers. I receive no error messages about graphics when I update the book, either.
I've had on and off issues with missing fonts. I've been chasing ghosts a bit where the console reports that Courier is missing and Courier New is being substituted. In the Font pod, I replace the instance of Courier with Courier New, apply the change, and save the file. But after a close and open, I often get the same message; when I check every file, however, the Font pod reports Courier New everywhere and Courier nowhare.Why might that be?
Would excessive unresolved cross-references cause the crash? Those are the only errors I get when updating the book, but those are expected. Right now I'm currently cutting and pasting large chunks of text and graphics from one section of the document to another (and from one document in the book to another). This breaks cross-references, but I expect that and plan to fix/resolve them after the large text chunk relocations are complete. Should I instead be keeping up with them?
Your missing fonts may also be hiding in your graphics - a look at the MIF will reveal them.
Busted xrefs probably should be fixed up before proceeding - they may be contributing to your crashes.
The multitude of unesolved x-refs may due to the font issues when updating the book. During an update, if the files aren't open, FM tries to open them in the background but if it encounters an error like a missing font, it skips the file and then any x-refs to that file are unresolved. This can cascade to make things look really worse than they are.
What is your default printer when you start FM? It should be the Adobe PDF prnter instance. If not, then you might want to insatll the Sundorne SetPrint utility (http://www.sundorne.com/FrameMaker/Freeware/setPrint.htm) thta will automatically set this for your FM sessions only.
One other place where fonts can hide is in table definitions. The catalog stores the font information (and not just the explicit paratag) of the cells in the header and first row. As Jeff mentions, you need to check the MIF file in detail. An excellent tool for quickly browsing your MIF is Graham Wideman's Mifbrowse (http://www.wideman-one.com/gw/tech/framemaker/mifbrowse.htm).
Sometimes just clicking with the FM graphics Text tool, will insert the font info at the point where the user clicked, even if nothing is ever entered. If one does a select all on some pages, you may see some empty sets of handles floating around on that page (see below). These can cause all sorts of issues and need to be cleaned out. They are visible in the MIF.
Bottom line: If there are any alerts (including ones suppressed via Preferences), when opening files then fix them first. These are errors, plain and simple. If there are any errors when updating your book, fix these next.
If you are still crashing, then narrow down offending chapters by working on them individually. If a chapter causes a crash, strip the graphics out of a copy of the file and see if the crashing stops.
Then start splitting up the chapter and narrow down the graphic that may be causing the issue. You could also open and resave all the graphics in the file (assumes they are imported by ref) to eliminate the possibility.
Matt R. Sullivan
co-author Publishing Fundamentals: Unstructured FrameMaker 11