EDD Techniques

Techniques described below promote maintainability of an EDD.


FrameMaker user variables can be defined for strings that are used repeatedly in an EDD (for example, an indentation amount used for several element types). Variables make it easy to change multiple occurrences of such a string since editing the definition of a variable changes all its occurrences. To make the use of variables visible, every definition can use a character format that distinguishes variables from surrounding text. For instance, a character format called Variable might set all properties except color to As Is and set color to Red. A variable called Indent might be defined to be <Variable>12pt. Uses of Indent would then appear in red in the EDD and hence be distinguished from surrounding text.

Text Insets

Some fragments of an EDD that appear multiple times contain substructure and hence cannot be stored in variables. Text insets can be used for such material.

Starting Comments with the Element Tag

The first child of an Element in an EDD is always either Tag or Comments. When the first child is Tag, the tag of the element being defined is visible in the Structure View if the Element is collapsed. Consider starting a Comments at the beginning of an Element with the tag as well to help identify a collapsed element definition in the Structure View.

Versions and Time Stamps

EDDs are subject to change. It is therefore wise to assign a number to each version used in templates distributed to end users. The version number should be included in the EDD and may be accompanied by a date or time, perhaps included automatically through one of FrameMaker's modification date variables.

Version information can be entered into a Para element, but Paras are not imported with element definitions into a template or other structured document. Thus, while the Para is visible to the application developer who is editing the EDD, it is not included in documents derived from the EDD. It is preferable instead to put the version information in an element where it will be imported into derived documents. Even though it will not necessarily be visible to end users working with the derived template, it will be encoded in any test files sent with bug reports back to the developer. By exporting the element catalog of such test files as an EDD, the application developer can quickly confirm the version of the original EDD used in the test file.

Possible contexts to place this information include: