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Options for working with supplied Arbortext xml

 
 
Liz Fraley
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      03-21-2011
On Mar 19, 12:58*pm, Jim Dornbos <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I have a customer who has supplied a collection of xml, png and dtd
> files to me. The xml's second line indicates the files were created by
> Arbortext: <!--Arbortext, Inc., 1988-2010, v.4002-->.
>
> I need to be able to format the supplied files into a user manual layout
> and create PDFs as output. No stylesheets were supplied.
>
> Short of investing in an Arbortext installation, any suggestions for an
> xml newbie as to what software I should consider for formatting and
> outputting these files? I work with variable data printing software that
> will xml as input, but that seems like the wrong tool for the job.
>
> As I look around for Arbortext info, much of what I'm finding is several
> years old and more. Are there consultants/freelancers still out there
> for Arbortext that I could hire this work out to?


There is a very short list of qualified Arbortext partners:
http://squidoo.com/arbortext

However, if you have XML files that were created in Arbortext, there
is no requirement to do any post production using Arbortext. Arbortext
writes PURE XML. Any proprietary Arbortext extensions in the XML are
implemented as Processing Instructions, an XML mechanism. You can
process XML files created in Arbortext with any tools that process
native XML.

How much work it is for you to do it, that's up to you, your
resources, and skill availability/restrictions.

I'm all for more people learning XSL and DIY, but be sure to put a
cost to that before you just go off running.

Liz



 
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lizfraley lizfraley is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 4
 
      03-21-2011
On Mar 19, 12:58*pm, Jim Dornbos <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I have a customer who has supplied a collection of xml, png and dtd
> files to me. The xml's second line indicates the files were created by
> Arbortext: <!--Arbortext, Inc., 1988-2010, v.4002-->.
>
> I need to be able to format the supplied files into a user manual layout
> and create PDFs as output. No stylesheets were supplied.
>
> Short of investing in an Arbortext installation, any suggestions for an
> xml newbie as to what software I should consider for formatting and
> outputting these files? I work with variable data printing software that
> will xml as input, but that seems like the wrong tool for the job.
>
> As I look around for Arbortext info, much of what I'm finding is several
> years old and more. Are there consultants/freelancers still out there
> for Arbortext that I could hire this work out to?

There is a very short list of qualified Arbortext partners:
http://squidoo.com/arbortext

However, if you have XML files that were created in Arbortext, there is no requirement to do any post production using Arbortext. Arbortext writes PURE XML. Any proprietary Arbortext extensions in the XML are implemented as Processing Instructions, an XML mechanism. You can process XML files created in Arbortext with any tools that process native XML.

How much work it is for you to do it, that's up to you, your resources, and skill availability/restrictions.

I'm all for more people learning XSL, but put a cost to that before you just go running down that course.

Liz
 
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Peter Flynn
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      03-21-2011
On 21/03/11 02:02, Jim Dornbos wrote:
> Peter Flynn wrote <snipped here and there>:
>>> El 19/03/2011 17:58, Jim Dornbos escribi�:
>>>> I have a customer who has supplied a collection of xml, png and dtd
>>>> files to me. The xml's second line indicates the files were created
>>>> by Arbortext:
>>>> <!--Arbortext, Inc., 1988-2010, v.4002-->.
>>>>
>>>> I need to be able to format the supplied files into a user manual
>>>> layout and create PDFs as output. No stylesheets were supplied.

>>
>> But the whole point about XML is that it is not tied to any particular
>> manufacturer, so you can use any XML-conformant you wish to process it.
>>
>> I suggest you pick yourself a good XML editor (there are hundreds), and
>> learn XSLT, which is a transformation language for turning XML into
>> other formats.
>>
>> There are two main routes to PDF:
>>
>> a. XSL:FO, which converts XML to Formatting Objects. You then need an
>> FO processor to turn that into a PDF.
>>
>> b. XSLT, and convert the XML to LaTeX, which can produce PDFs.

>
> Thanks for your input folks.
>
> When I first started looking for options I found the DITA project.
> Downloaded files, ran through the getting started stuff and produced
> some PDFs. But when I turned to my customer supplied files, I was making
> no progress turning them into anything useful.


A lot depends on what you want to end up doing. DITA provides some
excellent methodology for the long-term maintenance of structured
documentation, but if all you want to do is print it, it's overkill.

> One of the issues being that the tags are in German - and I speak none.
> So I started looking around for more graphical tools.


This may not be a useful approach. Understanding what is required is
probably more important. Is the document text itself in German?

> I use w3schools.com often when I need a quick brush-up on a language,
> and recalled somebody advertising xml tools there - and ended up
> downloading trial versions of Altova's XMLSpy and StyleVision.


Read more about editors at http://xml.silmaril.ie/software.html#editors

> I guess I was hoping to find something that would examine the xml, and
> present a list of elements found in the file, then allow me to assign
> styling attributes to those elements.


There are some systems which start to do this, but the complexity of the
task is usually beyond them.

> Possibly that's in StyleVision and
> I just need to spend more than 15 minutes with the app to give it a fair
> try. XMLMind's products, as recommended by Manuel, also seem to be a
> promising avenue to try. I have seen them mentioned here and there as I
> have looked around for information.
>
> I'll do some more work on understanding XSLT but also was looking for a
> reality check before recommending that we buy a license for Arbortext
> for this project.


There is not necessarily a 1:1 match between what is in the document,
and what you want on the page. XSLT is a programming language, so it can
fetch and carry material from different parts of the document to
different parts of the output. Trying to do this in a purely graphical
environment is technically challenging, which is why understanding what
you need to do with the document is important before you start...and you
have not told us enough yet to be able to judge what techniques are most
appropriate.

There is certainly no need to spend money on tools if this is a
limitation. Everything you described so far can be done with Open Source
software.

///Peter
--
XML FAQ: http://xml.silmaril.ie/
 
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Peter Flynn
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-21-2011
On 21/03/11 17:20, Liz Fraley wrote:
> On Mar 19, 12:58�pm, Jim Dornbos<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> I have a customer who has supplied a collection of xml, png and dtd
>> files to me. The xml's second line indicates the files were created by
>> Arbortext:<!--Arbortext, Inc., 1988-2010, v.4002-->.
>>
>> I need to be able to format the supplied files into a user manual layout
>> and create PDFs as output. No stylesheets were supplied.
>>
>> Short of investing in an Arbortext installation, any suggestions for an
>> xml newbie as to what software I should consider for formatting and
>> outputting these files? I work with variable data printing software that
>> will xml as input, but that seems like the wrong tool for the job.
>>
>> As I look around for Arbortext info, much of what I'm finding is several
>> years old and more. Are there consultants/freelancers still out there
>> for Arbortext that I could hire this work out to?

>
> There is a very short list of qualified Arbortext partners:
> http://squidoo.com/arbortext
>
> However, if you have XML files that were created in Arbortext, there
> is no requirement to do any post production using Arbortext. Arbortext
> writes PURE XML. Any proprietary Arbortext extensions in the XML are
> implemented as Processing Instructions, an XML mechanism. You can
> process XML files created in Arbortext with any tools that process
> native XML.
>
> How much work it is for you to do it, that's up to you, your
> resources, and skill availability/restrictions.
>
> I'm all for more people learning XSL and DIY, but be sure to put a
> cost to that before you just go off running.


Very well said, something that it often ignored.

The cost of learning is an investment, which should be spread across
future use of the knowledge. It is a common error in costing to charge
the entire cost of learning against the first project to use it...a bit
like charging the first driver at the tollbooth the entire cost of the
freeway. Only accountants make this kind of mistake with impunity.

///Peter
 
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sibinmohan sibinmohan is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
 
      06-01-2012
adding to the above discussion we have recieved css files also from our client. will the latex solution work in our case.

Are there any other low cost alternatives to arbortext publishing engine.
 
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