Re: Git for Tech Pubs [was FW: L@@king for recommendations

Subject: Re: Git for Tech Pubs [was FW: L@@king for recommendations
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2018 10:36:08 +0000 (UTC)

For this question:
Structured FrameMaker can work directly with XML files instead of FM files
if a corresponding Structured Application is in place. FrameMaker?s
exchange format MIF is also a text file format (for structured and
unstructured content).

Has anyone any experience using XML or MIF files in combination with
FrameMaker and Git?

Could authors collaborate this way without the need to lock files?==================
We initially used FrameMaker for our DITA environment -- Still use it to produce PDF. We started with SVN, and the company moved to GIT. I find GIT to be MUCH more convenient. Handling different versions of the product is much easier, for example. There are no problems with using DITA in FrameMaker and DITA. I guess FrameMaker can add in changes to parts of the file that you didn't touch, so merging and DIFF can be problematic.

But merge and DIFF of XML files isn't something I really want to do anyway. These tools are designed for source code where even line breaks carry significance. XML as it's used in DITA does not carry the same line-based significance. Also, you probably don't want to use raw XML for your doc reviews... Who wants to read that?
But the bottom line for DITA and GIT is that it's great. Like others have said, it's not about locking files. It's about tracking versions and merging conflicts. We do our best to divide the labor so that two people don't work on the same file at the same time. But if a conflict does come up, it's not too hard to resolve. And FrameMaker has a negligible impact on the work flow, compared to other editors (including text editors).
But I would not recommend using MIF as a format for source control. MIF includes unique IDs for every document object, and those can change arbitrarily just by opening and saving a file. You would find yourself forced to track and manage commits to files that you thought you hadn't changed. And forget about resolving a merge conflict in MIF... Again, you could have conflicts for hundreds of lines of MIF that you never touched. And don't forget that a MIF file is really big -- It doesn't only represent the content and structure of a document, it represents all the formatting, including the underlying template, and lots of other headroom that FrameMaker uses to describe a document. Definitely, XML is the way to go if you want to store Maker files in GIT.

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