What is new in Arbortext 6.0?

Details about what the new features are in the Arbortext 6.0 release

Arbortext is more than an Editor. Arbortext is really a full platform from editing to publishing and content management.

However, today, I’m just going to talk about Editor and maybe about Styler a little bit, but only if there’s time. The changes to Styler will fill an article all by themselves. So, here’s a little bit of a tour, with a focus on the improvements to DITA support. There are a lot of new changes that everyone who’s an everyday user has been happy to see.

APP is now the default rendering engine for print output

One thing to know is that default print engine is APP now. FOSI is still supported through Print composer, but it’s no longer the primary engine. APP produces magazine quality layout with complicated layout rules.

Usability improvements

The first thing anyone would notice is the new file dialog has been redesigned. There’s categorization in the left hand panel — People who had a lot of doctypes, there was a lot of scrolling to find what you wanted. Now, the File->New dialog is a lot more convenient: You can now have samples and templates and it’s all controlled through a preference now, out of the box.

Commenting out markup

Commenting out markup is easy now. If you comment out a paragraph, it won’t appear in your output. Now, Arbortext Editor supports wrapping markup inside the comment. The para tags are contained inside the comments and are restored if you remove the comment.

Tag Templates and File Entities.

This is much improved, you can better preview your templates. Particularly important for table markup. Before, you used to see the tags and it didn’t always make sense if you didn’t understnad what the markup looked like. Now, you see the table and you can see what it will look like in your content. You can edit just like it’s in editor. File entities are previewable, but not yet editible. Then again they’re file entities.

Find and replace — Attributes

In older Editor versions, you could find elements, but it was hard to replace values. Now you can replace them directly.  If you search for attribute role with value external, you can simply replace the value with another one.

Spell checking

Spell checking has lots of nice advantages now.  Now you don’t get red squiggly every time you type a url or email address.  And there’s a new file that handles all your Accept and Reject terms. Say you don’t want someone to use the word “can’t” for example, you add that word to the single file that handles spell checking and you’re all set. This used to be split into two files. Now it’s all in one file.

Improved table handling

The key here is the bars on the side of the window. If it’s fixed height, the bar will turn red – a visual indicator telling you that it’s changed. Makes it a lot harder to accidentally change row and table heights and not realize it.

Modify cell borders is redesigned

A lot easier to pick cell borders, and define color shading/alternate row coloring

Schematron support

ISO standard another way to validat content that DTDs (or schemas) aren’t able to do . Why do you have a list if you only have one item? The way to check for these errors, Schematron is now part of the Tools->Completeness Check. This is all done through .sch files and the .dcf file config changes. You used to have this in post processing. Schematron makes checking business rules a ton easier.

Some misc improvements

  • Join multiple adjacent tags. In the edit menu you will see a new ‘join elements’ option. Say you have 3 paras and want them to be merged into one. You used to have to do this one at a time. Now you can select all and join.
  • Equations now are parsed like other markup – This means equations have no size limit to them.
  • Preferences — these file listing are now editable in sub windows, so it’s easier to see, easier to change priorities. This is true of anything with file (file entities, where to find browser, etc..)

Resource manager

WC resource manager now has the right-click context menu built in. It’s much more seemless. You can check out, you can see properties and metadata from the repository, and search right from this context menu. You used to have to do this through the repository browser. Now it’s easy to drill in and find out what you need right in the resource manager.

Also, the “Look In” field is now synchronized across the tabs and it has a new History Tab, so you can go looking where you were looking recently.

DITA Support

DITA specializations: You no longer have to develop the Resolved Document for Editing (RDE) or the Resolved Document for Styling (RDS) for specialziation. This is huge. Prior to the 6.0 release, this was confusing and took up a lot of extra time. If you were adding math, you always specialized. Now you can edit both maps and topics in RDE.

Keyrefs: DITA 1.2 Keyrefs are fully supported in Editor. You can use keyrefs globally or locally. Best practice is to have a separate map that can change your key definitions. One nice feature is that the value of the keyref is resolved properly when you’re editing in Arbortext Editor; it gets resolved during publishing; and, it gets checked in the Completeness Check step. Arbortext Editor will show you all the keyrefs that are available in a document.

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Author: Liz Fraley

Liz Fraley has founded two companies, sits on the boards of three non-profits, and is constantly coming up with new ways to share knowledge in the technical communications and content industries. https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethfraley/