Options for working with supplied Arbortext xml

Discussion in 'XML' started by Jim Dornbos, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Jim Dornbos

    Jim Dornbos Guest

    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?

    I appreciate any help you can offer to get me headed in the right direction.

    Thanks,
    Jim
     
    Jim Dornbos, Mar 19, 2011
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. El 19/03/2011 17:58, Jim Dornbos escribió:
    > 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?
    >
    > I appreciate any help you can offer to get me headed in the right direction.


    Ever heard about Google :) A simple search gives:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbortext

    And from here you can go to:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parametric_Technology_Corporation
    http://www.ptc.com/products/index.htm

    --
    Manuel Collado - http://lml.ls.fi.upm.es/~mcollado
     
    Manuel Collado, Mar 19, 2011
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Jim Dornbos

    Jim Dornbos Guest

    Manuel Collado wrote:
    >>
    >> 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?
    >>
    >> I appreciate any help you can offer to get me headed in the right
    >> direction.

    >
    > Ever heard about Google :) A simple search gives:



    I appreciate the leads. I'm not having trouble finding what Arbortext is
    (read the wiki a month ago), or where to buy it from (been to their
    site, found a dealer, already have a quote.) To buy the Arbortext
    components needed to accomplish the tasks above from a PTC dealer will
    cost $10,000+.

    I was looking for alternatives from people who have some experience with
    xml publishing. If there are no other alternatives, that's fine. I
    appreciate that there are others out there who know more about what's
    going on in this publishing space than I do & and was hoping to solicit
    their input.

    Thanks,
    Jim
     
    Jim Dornbos, Mar 19, 2011
    #3
  4. Jim Dornbos

    Peter Flynn Guest

    On 19/03/11 17:12, Manuel Collado wrote:
    > 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.


    Arbortext is a company supplying a very large and powerful XML editing
    and formatting suite. It's excellent (they have been doing this stuff
    since the SGML days), but very expensive.

    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.

    My personal preference is for the XSLT-LaTeX route because I find it
    much faster; LaTeX already understands documents and typographics, and
    has a vast library of packages (plugins) for automating styling. I treat
    LaTeX as an API for creating PDFs. But many people prefer to learn
    XSL:FO instead. It's a personal choice.

    So is the editor. I use Emacs because it's reliable, runs on all
    platforms, and its psgml, xxml, xslide, and latex modes handle all the
    controls I need. But it needs learning, and many people prefer editors
    with lots of icons and toolbars and menus. Do not be tempted under any
    circumstances to use a non-XML editor on XML documents.

    Saxon is the best XSL[T] processor I know (saxon.sourceforge.net), but
    there are several others. IMHO don't bother learning XSLT 1.0 -- it is
    being superseded by XSLT 2 which is much better.

    LaTeX comes from the TeX Users Group (www.tug.org) as well as many other
    sources both free and commercial. It too runs on everything.

    The above are all free or Open Source in one form or another. There are
    also lots of excellent commercial solutions if you have the money.

    One thing not covered is a designer. Unless you have some typographic
    design experience, you'll need to know what you want the manual to look
    like, and what functionality it is going to have in it. But there are
    plenty of places to ask for advice.

    Let us know how you get on.

    ///Peter
    --
    XML FAQ: http://xml.silmaril.ie/
    LaTeX Intro: http://latex.silmaril.ie/
     
    Peter Flynn, Mar 19, 2011
    #4
  5. On 3/19/2011 6:00 PM, Peter Flynn wrote:
    > 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:


    Or you can use XSLT to render the document into HTML, if you prefer.
    Again, you'd have to write or obtain a stylesheet which describes that
    transformation.

    (Statement of bias: I was one of the folks behind Apache's Xalan
    XSLT/XPath processor, and I'm currently working on IBM's own processor
    for these standards plus XQuery. Obviously, I think these are Good Things.)

    > But many people prefer to learn
    > XSL:FO instead. It's a personal choice.


    The original dream was that browsers would implement XSL:FO, and that
    XSLT stylesheets would be used to render not just XML, but HTML, into
    XSL:FO for display. This would take HTML back toward its original
    design, where it described the meaning of the document rather than being
    (ab)used to try to do page layout, and let users customize how they
    wanted documents presented. Alas, that isn't the way things have
    evolved. I still hope we can someday break through the inertia and get
    people to see that all the advantages of Model/View/Controller program
    design also apply to document presentation.

    > IMHO don't bother learning XSLT 1.0 -- it is
    > being superseded by XSLT 2 which is much better.


    I half agree. If you don't know what environment you'll be running in,
    1.0 is more widely available. For example, Sun Java still ships with an
    XSLT processor based on the Apache Xalan code (a backlevel version,
    actually, unless Oracle fixes that now that they own Sun), and even
    Apache Xalan still supports only 1.0. And for a great many stylesheets,
    it's a difference which makes no difference, since XSLT 2.0 is mostly a
    superset of 1.0.

    But, yeah, XSLT 2.0 cleaned up some of 1.0's more frustrating omissions,
    and it does add some neat stuff.

    (IBM does have a processor which supports XSLT 2.0, XPath 2.0, and
    XQuery... but I believe it currently ships only with Websphere.)

    --
    Joe Kesselman,
    http://www.love-song-productions.com/people/keshlam/index.html

    {} ASCII Ribbon Campaign | "may'ron DaroQbe'chugh vaj bIrIQbej" --
    /\ Stamp out HTML mail! | "Put down the squeezebox & nobody gets hurt."
     
    Joe Kesselman, Mar 20, 2011
    #5
  6. El 19/03/2011 23:00, Peter Flynn escribió:
    > On 19/03/11 17:12, Manuel Collado wrote:
    >> 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.

    > ...
    > ... 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.
    >
    > My personal preference is for the XSLT-LaTeX route because I find it
    > much faster; LaTeX already understands documents and typographics, and
    > has a vast library of packages (plugins) for automating styling. I treat
    > LaTeX as an API for creating PDFs. But many people prefer to learn
    > XSL:FO instead. It's a personal choice.


    c. A third possibility is to convert to DocBook. It is a widely used,
    powerful document mark-up language (can be seen as a "de-facto"
    standard). And there are free or cheap tools to process it.

    Conversion to DocBook is probably the simplest one.

    >
    > So is the editor. I use Emacs because it's reliable, runs on all
    > platforms, and its psgml, xxml, xslide, and latex modes handle all the
    > controls I need. But it needs learning, and many people prefer editors
    > with lots of icons and toolbars and menus. Do not be tempted under any
    > circumstances to use a non-XML editor on XML documents.


    My editor of choice is XXE from XmlMind. It is a sort of WYSIWYG editor
    than be customized with just a CSS stylesheet. And has support for DocBook.

    --
    Manuel Collado - http://lml.ls.fi.upm.es/~mcollado
     
    Manuel Collado, Mar 20, 2011
    #6
  7. Jim Dornbos

    Jim Dornbos Guest

    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.

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

    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. 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.

    Thanks all for your help.
    Jim
     
    Jim Dornbos, Mar 21, 2011
    #7
  8. Jim Dornbos

    lizfraley

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    > Arbortext is a company supplying a very large and powerful XML editing
    > and formatting suite. It's excellent (they have been doing this stuff
    > since the SGML days), but very expensive.

    Those who are not in the Arbortext sales channel and who have not had pricing in a long time should likely not be ballparking the software. For the record: Editor is less expensive than FrameMaker and XMetaL. It can work with the OT, if that's what you want. Depending on the configuration, it is comparable to RenderX, Author-IT, and MadCap.
     
    lizfraley, Mar 21, 2011
    #8
  9. Jim Dornbos

    lizfraley

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    > Arbortext is a company supplying a very large and powerful XML editing
    > and formatting suite. It's excellent (they have been doing this stuff
    > since the SGML days), but very expensive.

    Those who are not in the Arbortext sales channel and who have not had pricing in a long time should likely not be ballparking the software.

    For the record: Arbortext Editor is less expensive than FrameMaker and XMetaL. Depending on the configuration, it is comparable to RenderX, Author-IT, and MadCap. It also is compatible with the DITA OT.
     
    lizfraley, Mar 21, 2011
    #9
  10. Jim Dornbos

    lizfraley

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    >>> 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.


    That's just an XML comment. You don't need the Arbortext solution to process these files. Arbortext produces PURE XML files and you can process them with any XML publishing tools, many of which have been discussed in this thread.
     
    lizfraley, Mar 21, 2011
    #10
  11. Jim Dornbos

    Liz Fraley Guest

    On Mar 19, 12:58 pm, Jim Dornbos <> 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
     
    Liz Fraley, Mar 21, 2011
    #11
  12. Jim Dornbos

    lizfraley

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    On Mar 19, 12:58*pm, Jim Dornbos <> 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
     
    lizfraley, Mar 21, 2011
    #12
  13. Jim Dornbos

    Peter Flynn Guest

    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/
     
    Peter Flynn, Mar 21, 2011
    #13
  14. Jim Dornbos

    Peter Flynn Guest

    On 21/03/11 17:20, Liz Fraley wrote:
    > On Mar 19, 12:58�pm, Jim Dornbos<> 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
     
    Peter Flynn, Mar 21, 2011
    #14
  15. Jim Dornbos

    sibinmohan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    need to publish arbor text files to pdf

    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.
     
    sibinmohan, Jun 1, 2012
    #15
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. mg

    Evaluates a supplied string

    mg, Dec 23, 2003, in forum: ASP .Net
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    405
  2. Martin
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    11,459
    Martin
    Jun 25, 2004
  3. Ben Jessel
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    434
    Ben Jessel
    Aug 5, 2004
  4. Teri Olcott

    Arbortext Interchance

    Teri Olcott, Jul 31, 2003, in forum: XML
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    562
    Teri Olcott
    Jul 31, 2003
  5. F. GEIGER
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    1,680
    F. GEIGER
    May 18, 2005
Loading...

Share This Page