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Author Topic: Authoring with large amounts of third party PDF content  (Read 1173 times)
dheide
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« on: March 03, 2015, 12:15:42 PM »

Hi all. I have been trialing xMetal 9 Author Enterprise.  

If this challenge has been covered already, please point me there.  Thanks in advance.

I am creating oil rig operations manuals which are massive and largely made up of supplied material which I index and organize for a very small end user group.

Since a rig employs a lot of concepts alien to most folks, I’ll draw a hypothetical illustrative example:

If your new house came with an owner's manual (it SHOULD but that’s another discussion), it would be substantial.

Some of the manual would be stuff created by the builder: “welcome to your new home”, overview, floor plan, general care and maintenance, warranty, safety tips, landscaping tips, etc.  Some things are unique to your home, some not.

The rest of the manual (by far the largest part) is made up of documentation for the installed components: fridge, stove, washer, dryer, furnace, air conditioner, garage door opener, home theatre, hot water system, water softener, faucets, door locks, thermostat, wifi, electrical panel, light dimmers, curtain pullers, disco ball, etc.   You get the idea.  Every little item with a one sheet is included.

The manual comes in two formats for your convenience.  
       •   One is a big binder with tabs separating different areas and topics with TOC and index to help find stuff.  
       •   The other is a self-contained thumb drive which opens with a “home” page. From there, you access material on the drive by a navigation bar or with the aid of a search box.

The builder’s challenge (and mine) is that all that third party material is supplied to him as PDFs.  The PDFs cannot and should not be converted into XML (for liability and other reasons).  They must be presented as the original manufacturer made them.  
       •   In the binder, they might be slightly reduced in size to allow the builder’s logo up in the corner.
       •   On the thumb drive, they would appear as normal, inside a frame that includes the builder’s branding info and a nav bar and search box.

(Behind the scenes, the builder’s authoring system is tied into the BOM that was generated when you placed the order for your home, so all the appropriate manuals were selected.  This means that your fridge manual is for a Maytag while your neighbor’s manual will be for his Amana.)


Conceptually, I don’t think this should be tough for xMetal to pull off, but I have been trying a number of things and can’t seem to find a straight line to get PDFs incorporated the way I described. (I'm not worried about the BOM part yet.)

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