I have a collection of older projects that utilize data (dbf files) and code to create custom MIF files that are then imported into FrameMaker books to create custom directories. The Frame version is old (7.0) and the code is old (Foxpro), so I'd like to update the process using more modern tools (FrameMaker 12 and maybe C#).
This process has been very advantageous in that the projects can get rerun very quickly whenever a new set of data is received just by picking up the last FrameMaker book and reruning the code again. I am way out of date with FrameMaker, so I am wondering is there a better way to rebuild this process. I like the idea of coding the MIF, but not all elements for the books are getting coded - the FrameMaker books still contain the majority of styles/layout. Maybe xml to Frame would be better?
You could try the Miramo Personal Edition (MPE), as that is what it is designed for. See: http://www.miramo.com/english/overview/dp_download.html
I use Miramo for all sorts of directory publishing. You can create your own cusom tagging or use XML. You can then either use XSLT or Miramo's own macro language to wrap the appropriate mark-up with Miramo's tags and then feed into FM with an appropriate template to get a ready made publication. It's fast!
The other alternative is to look at Patternstream (http://www.databasepublishingsolutions.com/) but you might neeed deep pockets...
Thanks for the reply Arnis. MPE sounds interesting, and since I can't even find pricing for Patternstream, I'm betting it is out of my budget.
I should have mentioned that this is only one of my clients, so I can't devote as much time as I'd like to learning new technology. Do you know what kind of learning curve there is with MPE?
If you know FM and either XSLT or some form of macro scripting, then it's not that daunting. The workflow is essentially like this:
You first create a template that has all the tags and page layout that you need.
You have your content tagged (either with XML or using Miramo's own tagging structure).
You then run the tagged content through either XLST or Miramo's macro pre-processor (mmpp) to wrap the content with Miramo's inline markup codes (it also has codes to allow FM format definitons/modificattions on the fly so that layout changes can be data-dependent).
This "wrapped" output is then automatically piped into Miramo, which pulls in the specified template and converts the content via MIF to FM.
Miramo can also generate the required output (PDF, Postscript, FM binary, etc.) as the final step, trigger scripts (Framescript or Extendscript) to be run on the content at various points in the process as well as branch out to other system-level applications to do something on-the-fly (such as generating custom graphs from the streamed data).
Datazone have a very good User Guide with lots of examples describing how things are done. You should peruse this to better ***** how step the learning curve will be for you. The Reference Guide is complete and extensive.