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DITA Conversions

There are many options for converting your documentation to DITA. Each conversion project is a unique task, with its own special challenges and outcomes. While some conversion methods claim to handle all types of input without trouble, the important thing to focus on is what you'll end up with as a result. In our experience, it best to take sufficient time before conversion, to clean up and possibly rewrite content before conversion so you can ensure that the resulting DITA is exactly what's needed.

At Leximation, we look at each project with fresh eyes. We carefully review your source content to look for situations that may make for a more complicated conversion or result in less desirable DITA. We work with you to understand the scope of your project, both in the short and long term, and take into consideration how you plan to use the resulting DITA, ensuring that you get the best possible result.

We have been doing custom DITA conversion for almost 18 years (since the beginning of DITA), and have experience in dealing with all sorts of situations. While we focus on FrameMaker to DITA conversions, we have had success using similar conversion methods for Word to DITA as well as other source formats.

At no cost, we will review your files and provide a rough estimate for the cost to perform the conversion. We also provide suggestions for clean up and revisions that can reduce the overall cost and improve the resulting DITA, regardless of the conversion method you choose.

Once your files have been analyzed and we have an understanding of the goals and intended outcome, this is the typical FrameMaker conversion process:

  • As needed, perform cleanup/normalization of the source FM files.
  • Develop a conversion table to apply structure to your content based on styles and objects in the cleaned up FM files. (This conversion table can be used for future conversions of similar content and saves on the cost of those conversions.)
  • Use the conversion table to apply structure to the FM files.
  • Using automation tools available in the FM2DITA plugin, iterate over the structured FM files to perform various cleanup and refinement tasks.
  • Validate the structured FM files and perform any last minute revisions. (It's much more efficient to edit the chapter-based FM files before "shredding" them into separate topic-based XML files.)
  • Use FM2DITA to generate DITA maps and topics from the structured FM files. Custom file naming can be set up to adhere to most any convention.
  • Validate the resulting XML files. Make any needed post-conversion edits.

We can perform the entire conversion process and hand off the resulting DITA files, or can work with you to share the tasks if that works better for your schedule or budget. We are happy to develop the conversion table, then set you up with the tools and training to perform the actual conversion as projects are available in your time frame. If you have multiple books to convert, once the basic workflow is set up for a given unstructured model, the conversion to DITA can be done in less than a day for each book.

If you have special needs for converting unusual or complex FrameMaker tagging or objects, we can develop the necessary automation. Many of the tools provided in the FM2DITA plugin were created in response to customers' needs. If you have lots of content to convert, it's often worth the added cost to develop the automation to support that conversion rather than doing a manual cleanup.

» If you are interested in a DITA conversion or have complicated conversion requirements, contact us to see how we can help.

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