Let me start out with the good news before serving some fine whine.
(Yesterday was manic depression Thursday, I guess. My mood is much better, and the fatalism is gone, at least until Monday.)
I went back to basics today (Friday), imported our templates, then went through the styles one by one, leaving the default medium set to the print style definition, and changing the non-print definition of the style to match our current help. As a result I can view a sample file in each medium and layout view and it looks right. It is kind of neat to click and watch the topic flicker back and forth between book and help looks.
What I plan to do next is import a real book and pre-apply this css during the import and see what happens.
Then I can (next week):
- Finish the Page Layouts I already worked a bunch on.
- Set up the Print Medium headings so that they start at the left margin in the side-head of our format
- Take the Frame Table styles I imported and set up the non-print versions of those.
- Import these Table and Page styles into the real book.
- Rework the TOC into a print toc.
- Create a non-print toc.
- Do a book build and a help build to see what the result is.
Dark Cloud, Silver Lining
Yesterday was a tough day. I decided to try to convert an entire book to a Flare project. This ran OK, but I found when it completed that Flare had incorrectly mapped some fonts to the wrong family (New Times Roman 12pt instead of Book Antiqua 10pt). This both very noticeable and distressing because the mismatched style happened to be p.Body, so all plain text was wrong.
So I tried it again, and this time distiller crashed during the conversion (Flare is converting graphics to PDF and back to gif etc) and hung Flare. I ran multiple imports, and when I imported a chapter, it came in fine. When I imported a book (several different books), the formats were messed up. When I imported the template chapter only, it seemed to work.
My guess is that by fixing the font mismatches and then using mapping to that css during the next import, the problem can be avoided. Or by pre-mapping p.body using conversion styles.
I just don't know why it was happening. It is possible that somewhere within our books, somewhere there is body text in Times New Roman. But why Flare would decide to use that instance, I don't know, and I don't have time to figure it out.
Couple this with the annoyment I had with page number variables, which were centered but were not supposed to be centered in our book format, and there seemed to be no obviouss way to right justify them, or change them in any way. You cannot select the text as it is part of the Madcap variable.
You could right-align the entire footer frame, but then if you wanted another variable for say a left justified Chapter name, that too was right justified.
The two alternatives were to make a two column table and manually space it, or set up two footer frames, one on the left and one on the right.
Update (09/22/08): Actually now I am using a footer frame and a text decoration frame. When I used two footer frames, I got an arrow connecting the two frames, and frame #2 seemed to be invisible in the output.
Oh, by the way, have fun trying to format the variables in the font you want them. Try to edit the style class, and they are all Madcap Variable, hence one style fits all. So without extra fooling around, your header variables have to be the same size as your footer variables.
Update (09/22/08): Turns out you can assign a paragraph style to the line the variable is on, and that works. What I cannot seem to do is to assign a span (frame character style, like in our Frame template) to the text in the Variable. Anyway, a paragraph style works fine.
By the way, with a 370 page book, Flare was using 90%+ of CPU and memory usage had grown to 208mb (up to 310 at times) on a 512mb system during a PDF build. And it didn't give the memory back when the build was done. It also seems to at random times peg the CPU to 90-100%, even when you are not editing. My guess is .net is saying hi to Madcap to ferret out license thieves.
So I basically spent a whole day trying to figure this out, and I still do not have what I consider an acceptable solution. At this point I am not sure that I can meet my goal of creating a PDF in Flare that is an acceptable substitute for our Framemaker version.
Woe is me.
3 days ago