Common Questions: Publishing

Today, we’re answering questions about publishing, rendering, and content delivery.

This week’s topic: Publishing!

When it comes to “publishing content” in Arbortext, you’re talking about a big subject. There’s Arbortext Publishing Engine (PE), which produces multi-channel output.  There’s Arbortext Digital Media Publisher (DMP), a component of Publishing Engine which enables you to distribute content on multiple types of digital media and to web applications. There’s Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher (APP) which delivers high-quality, magazine-quality print deliverables. There’s ProductView, a part of Arbortext Content Manager (ACM), which facilitates review by subject matter experts, business process, and associative historical links between review content and original source material in ACM, the component content management system.

Pshew! That’s a lot for one paragraph, even for someone who knows all the different pieces well. It’s no wonder we get a lot of questions about publishing, rendering, and content delivery!

When you put Arbortext in the context of other rendering systems — like the OTK and all the many transtypes individually defined — sometimes it can be hard to understand why Arbortext is both complicated and very, very simple.

What’s complicated is getting through the list of products to the one that best fits your business requirements.

What’s easy is configuration and implementation.

What’s fun is digging in and really tweaking the output you can get from any of the Arbortext publishing products because you don’t spend your time making the system work or getting the different pieces to play well together. You can get to the work of styling on day one. In fact, just last week, we had a great webinar about how Arbortext lets you get under the hood to really tricking out our content. (More of these coming soon!).

Today, we’re answering questions about publishing.  And remember, send us your questions or add them to the comments!

Question: PE Output Types

What kind of output types does PE support? Please list them briefly.

Answer:

Arbortext Publishing Engine supports XML, Text, PDF, Paper, HTML, Web help, CD/DVD images, CHM, RTF, DMP, HTMLhelp.

You might also be interested in our earlier post on File Formats.

Question: Flash output

Do you support FlashHelp output?

Answer:

Not natively. However, Arbortext can deliver all files required by the Flash compiler and you can customize the publishing pipeline to call the Flash compiler.

Question: Online Help

How are browse sequences in an online help system supported?

Answer:

Through all mechanisms allowed by the help system and authored/configured in the source data supplied.

Question: Previewing deliverables in ACM

Does the ACM have a function that shows preview image for deliverable formats like PDF and OLH?

Answer:

Yes. ACM has a preview window that shows an icon or thumbnail depending on the file format. For certain formats, ACM invokes ProductView to deliver a PDF rendered view of the content automatically.

Question: Previewing and Source Control

Can you preview content without having to check out a component from ACM?

Answer:

Yes.

(We’ll talk more about this topic in a future post.)

Question: OTK Integration

Does Arbortext Publishing Engine work with the DITA Open Tool Kit?

Answer:

This is not provided out of the box. However, since the OTK provides the ability to replace the Apache FOP engine with other rendering tools, you can plug Arbortext Publishing Engine into the OTK.

There’s nothing required on the Arbortext side to get PE to work with the OTK. You only need to change the configuration files in the OTK to point to the Arbortext Publishing Engine.

Question: Context-sensitive help

How do we set up our DITA source files so that they go through PE/DMP publishing and and the context-sensitive help files get the same names every time?

Answer:

You can generate files with whatever the name you want.

The naming of chunk files are determined by stylesheet. By default, it uses the same name as dita topic. For the PTC Help Center documentation, they place topic id in in the metadata of a topic, and the stylesheet is configured to use it to generate instructions for chunker to generate files. In theory, you can use anything that can be generated by xpath to use as the file name.