Late last month Adobe hosted a free webinar that looked at an intriguing solution for using FrameMaker content in a Content Management System using a client known as iG5 Authoring Tools. This product originally came out of the tool developers over at iG5 Authoring Tools, which is a site which collects together the many add-ons and features for the venerable FrameMaker desktop publishing tool. That session was recorded and is now available for as a streaming recorded webinar (sign-up/login required).
One of FrameMaker’s traditional strengths has been its ability to produce good-looking PDF content out of either structured or unstructured content. While DITA has been fully supported in FrameMaker since version 8, many of the real benefits that come from using DITA within a CMS (content re-use, de-siloing/better collaboration between writers, maintaining the integrity of links, etc) has been missing. From what I saw in the webinar, DITAToo looks to bridge that gap.
DITAToo appears to be a client application that interfaces between users of FrameMaker and a MySQL back-end database that seems to care of these issues. Users write DITA XML in FrameMaker, connect to DITAToo to either check-in or check-out their work, and all of the content is stored on the database for multiple users to access. Basic search operations are also supported as are links, and the database view supports versioning so you can see which version of a given topic you are incorporating within your ditamap.
The 50 minute presentation is comprised mostly of the demo that Andy Lewis from iG5 Authoring Tools does, which provides a good overview as to how DITAToo works alongside the latest version of FrameMaker. It shows how to create new DITA topics within DITAToo, how to create maps within its database, shows how diteval can be used to produce conditional output, and on how the search mechanism works with the metadata characteristics that can be added to each topic. If you have never used any sort of Content Management System before you may find of the basic concepts a bit tricky to grasp, but anyone already familiar with concepts like check-in/check-out and versioning you’ll immediately get how the system works.
If you are working within a FrameMaker environment and are looking for a CMS that can use Frame files natively, DITAToo might be for you!