If you’re not satisfied with your current DITA to PDF workflow, you might consider FMx-Auto. FMx-Auto enables automated (scripted) publishing of a DITA map through FrameMaker and DITA-FMx. This can be integrated into most publishing workflows on the desktop or server. If you’re interested in getting high-quality PDFs from your DITA content, like you used to get from unstructured FrameMaker, this may be the solution you’re looking for.
As an example of using FMx-Auto for publishing to PDF from a popular XML editor I set up an Ant script that creates the necessary AutoFM script from the current DITA map file name, then passes that to FrameMaker. The AutoFM script instructs FrameMaker to use the DITA-FMx Map-to-Book process to create a book and chapter files from the DITA map. This book is then saved to PDF.
This Ant script can be modified to suit your needs and can be used by other tools and publishing workflows as an integration option for publishing to PDF from DITA through FrameMaker. FMx-Auto supports FrameMaker versions 7.2 through 10, so even if you’re not using Frame for authoring, you can still use it for publishing.
If you’re publishing PDFs from DITA and want high quality with minimal effort, you should consider using DITA-FMx and FMx-Auto. If you’re already using FrameMaker and DITA-FMx, FMx-Auto will enable you to create the same PDFs you’re getting through manually saving the FMx-generated book to a PDF, using scripting or batch processing.
If you’re currently generating PDFs through an XSL-FO based process, and aren’t satisfied with the quality of those PDFs, FMx-Auto will enable you to take advantage of FrameMaker’s layout and formatting capabilities, while still using another XML editor for authoring. These tools support all versions of FrameMaker from FM7.2 on up through 10.
DITA-FMx and FMx-Auto can be installed with FrameMaker Server to provide a PDF publishing solution linked to your CMS or other server-based publishing process.
Just because you’re using DITA doesn’t mean that you have to give up high-quality PDFs!
DITA-FMx provides features to control the formatting and layout of a PDF generated from a DITA map. These features are easier to use than similar options you might find in other PDF creation tools.
FMx-Auto unlocks the API in DITA-FMx so you can automate the book and PDF creation process. An FMx-Auto installation includes the AutoFM plugin as one way to drive this automation.
AutoFM is an XML-based scripting tool for automating processes within FrameMaker. In this case it is used to open a DITA map and run the DITA-FMx Map to Book process to create a fully formatted FrameMaker book, then save that book to a PDF.
See how easy it is to get well formatted PDF output from a DITA map using FMx-Auto and DITA-FMx. This video provides a quick (5 minute) overview of the entire PDF publishing process using FMx-Auto.