Meeting: Generating PDFs from DITA using DITA-FMx and FMx-Auto

Scott Prentice, president of Leximation, Inc., presented a demo of DITA to PDF publishing through FrameMaker and DITA-FMx. The new FMx-Auto addon for DITA-FMx, unlocks the API features in DITA-FMx to allow automated processing and publishing (in particular PDF publishing). With FMx-Auto installed, you can create your own scripts using the FDK (FrameMaker Developers Kit), FrameScript, or ExtendScript. Or, you can use the AutoFM plugin provided with FMx-Auto, which lets you open, process, and publish your DITA map into a PDF.

DITA-FMx supports FrameMaker versions 7.2, 8, 9, and 10, and FMx-Auto is available in server and desktop versions depending on your workflow and needs.

Even if you’re not using FrameMaker for authoring, you can take advantage of its superior and easy to use PDF publishing capabilities.

» Introductory slides (PDF)

» Presentation/demo video (1 hour)

Meeting: Codex – “the easy DITA editor for everyone”

Adam Kozyniak, Co-founder and CEO of Codex Systems presented their new “light weight” DITA editor called Codex. This editor is targeted at people who may be able to benefit from the modular nature of DITA authoring but don’t need (or want) all of the overhead imposed by an editor that supports the entire DITA specification. Codex is an Adobe AIR application, which means that it will install on both Windows and Mac systems.

At this time Codex only supports the creation and editing of “topic” topics and a limited number of elements. The interface is very easy to use, and could be used by anyone regardless of their knowledge of DITA or structured authoring. Codex also lets you create maps, and has a very slick method for adding and arranging topic references. For this feature alone, I’d consider using Codex as an easy way to create new maps.

After the presentation we had a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of such an editor, with many people feeling that a lightweight editor definitely has its place in their organization, but it would need to be a bit more feature-rich than Codex is currently. Because of the limited support for elements and topic types, it may be difficult to integrate into many existing authoring workflows. We discussed a possible feature that would allow the end user to define the set of limited topic types and elements, and thought that this could resolve the issue of wanting to “keep it simple” while remaining flexible enough for various needs.

It sounds like Codex will be adding more features over the coming months, so this is definitely something to keep your eye on.

» “Video” recording 1h11mUnfortunately the video seems to be messed up! The audio is good though. To actually see Codex, go to their website and download a trial.

This meeting was quite the event. Adam was presenting remotely from Japan, we also had remote attendees from Israel, Florida, and Los Angeles (well, actually Orange Co.). Our in-house audience was made up of many of the usual folks from the area, but we also had a couple of out of town guests from North Carolina and Los Angeles. It’s great to be able to include so many people in our gatherings! Thanks again to Citrix for the use of GoToMeeting which makes it possible to include remote attendees!

Meeting: DITA Classification and Subject Scheme–Picking up where metadata leaves off

Joe Gelb of Suite Solutions, presented to a large crowd of in-room and virtual attendees, a discussion on the DITA 1.2 Classification and Subject Scheme.

Metadata is used by many to categorize DITA content. But categorization is not enough. More and more, companies are developing taxonomies to enable easier access to information. As you consider dynamic publishing and web deployment to meet the evolving expectations of your content consumers and the Google generation, classifying the subject matter in your content set and the relationships between that subject matter becomes critical. Using a real use case, Joe will demonstrate how you can use the DITA 1.2 classification and subject scheme to create, apply and publish your taxonomy using the same architecture you use to develop, manage and publish your DITA content.

Video recording 1h15mI apologize for the extra noise near the end as I was moving the Polycom around to try to pick up the questions from the audience.