"The program allows us to save a great deal of valuable time by automatically importing images, style sheets and formatting. This allows us to be more competitive in the marketplace and therefore more successful in our business "

– Antiques Trade Gazette

Publishing a Catalog with Framemaker

CatBase makes it easy to publish your catalogue using FrameMaker. It does all the hard, boring work for you! The process, in a nutshell, goes like this:

  1. Get your data into the CatBase database. You can either enter it manually, import a delimited text file, or (Data Chameleon Edition) retrieve it from a MySql or ODBC-compliant database or spreadsheet (such as Microsoft SqlServer, Access, etc.)
  2. Set up Style Sheets in CatBase. These tell CatBase what data you want to publish and how you want it sorted and formatted. You can have any number of Style Sheets, so you can publish your data in lots of different ways (and to various publishing destinations).
  3. Select the records you want to publish.
  4. Export the data to a text file, using one of your Style Sheets.
  5. Import that text file into your FrameMaker template. All the text is - magically - formatted exactly as you want it to be, even with pictures included if appropriate!

OK then, let's see just how easy it is!

For the purposes of this Tutorial, we are using the Demo Database that is supplied with the CatBase Trial Version. If you would like to follow along and try it for yourself, you can download the fully-functional Trial from here.

Publish a Catalogue with Pictures

For this example we are going to create a catalog that shows photographs offered for sale by our fictitious stock photo agency, Castlephotos. The photos are organised into Categories; the Categories are sorted in alphabetical order with the appropriate photos listed under each one, also sorted alphabetically by name. For each picture we will include the following data:

Step One: Set up a Publishing Style Sheet

Publishing Style Sheets tell CatBase:

The Publishing Style Sheet we are using for this project is called Picture Catalogue by Category FM(to view or edit Publishing Style Sheets, choose Publishing Style Sheets from the Publishing menu). It looks like this:

To specify the formatting of the Category headings, click on the Category Settings tab (in our example, we've chosen to use pictures for the headings).

Perhaps the most important thing here is the list of Paragraphs. This is where we specify exactly what data is going to be published and how it will be formatted. For example, the first paragraph will be the picture name, and it will be formatted using a style sheet called "Name". Paragraphs can contain any number of elements; there are seven element types:

Elements are the building blocks of paragraphs.

A quick look at the Prices paragraph (double-click on it in the list of Paragraphs) shows us that it is comprised of four elements:

The detailed workings of Publishing Style Sheets are covered in a separate Tutorial.

Step Two: Select the data you want to publish

Since, for this example, our data is sorted by Category, we start by selecting the category (or categories) that we want to publish (Animals in this case). CatBase will sort the categories and then find the Picture records that belong under each category and sort them. To select the categories, choose Categories from the Data menu or click on the Categories button in the Data floating window.

Step Three: Transfer the data

With the list of Categories displayed, choose Publish all These Records from the File menu, select the Publishing Style Sheet you want to use (Picture Catalogue by Category FM in this case), make sure that FrameMaker is selected as the publishing destination, and hit the OK button to create the transfer file. The transfer file will be in MIF format ("MIF" stands for Maker Interchange Format - this is the tagging language that FrameMaker uses).

Step Four: Import the transfer file into your Frame template

Open up your FrameMaker template, or create a new two-column document. We have included a simple template in the Goodies folder with the CatBase demo -it's called Catalog_2-col.fm.

We have set up the Demo with relative path names for all the pictures. They are all in a folder called Pictures, which is in the CatBase folder. In order for the pictures to import correctly, your transfer file must also be in the CatBase folder.

Now for the fun part ...

Watch in amazement as the catalogue is created before your very eyes! It should look something like this:

"Animals" is the top-level Category

"Bears" is a sub-category.

The product information consists of:

- Picture name

- The picture itself

- A description

- The photographer's name

- Pricing information

... and it was all formatted automatically!

It really is that simple!

What do do next ...

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