For controlled content, think marker instead of variable. FM lets you define up to 8 running h/f markers, Header/Footer $1...Header/Footer $8, that you can insert in your content. Then in the running header/footer on the master pages, use the <$marker1> variable to indicate the first item on the page and the <$marker2> variable for the last. Insert these markers on every Body page. Unfortunately it's a manual operation to populate the markers (Tip:if you highlight the text first and then click on the New Markre button, you save a lot of typing) , but that's the only way you can control getting a subset of the entire text of paragraph.
Thanks for your reply Arnis!
We looked into markers, but sadly it won't work for us simply because we have a massive amount of content that we'd have to manually go through.
I'm surprised that FM11 doesn't provide some sort of expression functionality for this purpose.
I'm hoping that I can create this functionality via the ESTK though.
Using Extendscript (or Framescript) would be the way to go, provided you have some way of uniquely identifying the fractional part of the paragraph text that you need.
Regarding the expression functionality, how would you imagine that to work in FM? A regex expression of some kind? Would the content always be unique enough to get the desired match?
Note: if you're heading titles were of the type "Item - descriptor", then you could have used two separte paratags in a run-in mode to make it look seamless, but still allow you to use the <$paratext[...]> building blocks.
Fortunately for us, all the terms follow the same format, so it'd be a cinch to pull out what's needed in the scripting environment, but I was hoping to simply plug in a simple expression and it would do the heavy lifting for us.
Of course, that would mean that an entire Regex engine would also have to be implemented by the FM team.
I am a programmer and don't have much FM experience, so that's why I wasn't sure how much I might be missing in built-in FM functionality.
Arnis, could you elaborate a little more about your last sentence where you describe two separate paratags in run-in mode? I understand this to mean that there is a way to concatenate two paragraphs (with two different paragraph tags) into one paragraph within the body content. Is that correct?
Thanks very much!
As Error indicates, if the structure is consistent as you've indicated, then you could be using two paratags instead. The first one would be the "Topic Phrase" and it would be set to run into (Paragraph Designer > Pagination: Run-in Head Default Punctuation) the following paragraph with the " - " set as the default punctuation to separate the two paragraphs.
Visually they would appear as one line, but Inernally within FM's database they are then two separate paratags. In that case, you could then use your original running h/f variables in the dictionary mode. It probably would be a lot easier to re-tag and split on the "-" then to assign content, populate markers and insert them in the correct locations.
@S.Error & @Arnis,
Thanks very much for the info about Run-In heads! Yes, it'd be far easier to modify the content this way than to assign markers individually.
We'll go ahead and work on that and report back.
In our case this approach seems like it'll work well, but I do feel that some sort of quick script mechanism to select (arbitrary) text within the Edit Variable dialog box like I show above would be beneficial to have within FM. I don't know whether it's worth it to suggest such a feature to the FM engineering team though, since it probably only comes up once in a blue moon.
I'm happy to report that the Run-In heads worked for us! Thanks @Arnis and @Error for suggesting that.