Generating a Book from a DITA Map

The DITA-FMx “Generate Book from Map” command lets you create a PDF-ready FrameMaker book from a DITA map or bookmap.

One of the primary reasons to use FrameMaker as a DITA authoring tool is its ability to easily create high quality PDFs. DITA-FMx provides the “Generate Book from Map” command which gives you a high degree of control over most aspects of the map-to-book processing. The “Setting up Book Builds” topic in the DITA-FMx online Help provides all of the information you need to prepare for this processing.

Use the Export Files command in the XDocs Explorer to export the fully linked and resolved source files to a location on your file system, then use the standard DITA-FMx book-build process to build the book and save to PDF. In addition to a simplified export process, you can take advantage of the XDocs filtering process by specifying processing or publishing profiles as well as selecting a publish date label.

  1. In the XDocs Explorer, right-click the DITA map and choose Export Files.

  2. In the Export Files dialog, select the Output Type of DITA Preprocess, specify a Destination Path (location where the files are exported), and select the Include Linked Files option.

    Optionally select any of the export Settings that may apply to your publication.

  3. Choose Export.

    The files are processed and written to the local file system. Any errors are reported in the XDocs Explorer message console.

  4. Locate the exported files, and open the DITA map in FrameMaker. You will get a validation error message, choose OK to continue.

    The validation error is due to the fact that the map is not a “valid” DITA map because it is in a “preprocess” state. It is possible to create a new structure application that properly supports this map model (we will likely do that in the future). For now, just ignore the error and resulting FrameMaker report log XML parser messages. It is possible to create a custom structure application that fully supports this preprocess map model.

  5. Choose the DITA-FMx Generate Book from Map command. Again, you will get a validation error message, choose OK to continue.

    Generate the book as you would normally. If you set up the book output folder with a book-build INI file, the book will be generated using those instructions, otherwise it uses the default settings.

Remember that the book and FM files that are generated by this process are not intended to be edited. You should always make edits to the source DITA files and regenerate the book. Any edits or modifications you make to the generated FM files will be lost the next time you build the book.

The DITA-FMx book-build process lets you add new files to the book such as a title page or other unstructured content. The next time you generate a book, you’ll just need to add that unstructured content back into the book, but you won’t have to recreate it.