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Modified dialogues for FrameMaker 8

About 40% of the 250 dialogues for FM-8 are modified (documentation, PDF 2 MB).
For UI modification for FrameMaker 7.2 see here.

Why modify the dialogues of FrameMaker?
Sample dialogues
Coloured cursors and tab indicators
Download and install the UI modifications
Indication of modified dlls

Caveat

The Adobe end-user licence agreement states under "Copyright":

Except for font software converted to other formats as permitted in the "Use of the Software" section, you agree not to modify, adapt or translate the Software except as may be expressly permitted under the European Directive on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs (14 May 1991)

In my humble opinion the following is a description to 'make the program fit for its task' and not a violation of copy right. Anyway, keep the original software in your records. You will need it in case of problems to be re-established to be able to get support from Adobe.

[To top/bottom of page] Why modify the dialogues of FrameMaker ?

Only "recently" added dialogues (such as the book management) in FrameMaker benefit from larger displays. Most dialogues provide very limited input fields for names of character styles, paragraph styles end the like. The small fields may be sufficient for english names, but not for german or french useful names. There may be unknown constraints why Adobe did not react on this demand. The UI of FM-9 however goes into this direction.

Since the Windows 95 times resources (icons, pictures, text, dialogues) are kept separate from the programming code. This not only gives room for easier translation but also for other modifications of the dialogues without touching the executable code. The following dlls are relevant for the user interface:

dll Contents
fmcustom.dll Icons for the tool bars, including those for the tab well and alignment well
fmdlg.dll Dialogs, icons for the graphic toolbar and the equation editor, bitmaps for the Rubi dialogues
fmres.dll Icons for the file types (book, mif, xml etc.), icons for the graphic toolbar, cursors, strings for messages (not dialogues)

Only very few (e.g. the history) dialogues are resizable at runtime. Of course, a modified dialogue resource does not become resizeable if this feature is not handled by the program code.

The most annoying dialogue which I fixed back in 2002 was the Table Column Resize dialogue. Other people, in particular Stefan Gentz from tracom.de have modified many dialogues for the German version of FrameMaker. Stefan's work gave me the hints what to do for my own requirements. Partly these were fulfilled with my Modified dialogues for FrameMaker 7. But this time I did even more on the request of many FrameMaker users. Of course this was laborious work and took about 70h (inclduding documentation and web-page).

Modifications done:

[To top/bottom of page] Sample dialogues

Standard dialogue   Modified dialogue
In Windows the top left drop down list is redundant to the selection tabs. Hence it can be deleted (hidden).

In FrameMaker 8 a variable can hold at most 2022 Unicode characters. Hence the standard dialogue is rubbish. The following definition ist just 358 characters long:

Der froschkönig war es nun endgültig leid, noch länger auf die prinzessin zu warten. Ärgerlich hüpfte er vom brunnenrand, zumal eine dicke fliege sein interesse weckte. Übel hatte ihm die prinzessin mitgespielt! Daß ihm das passieren musste! Öfter als sonst verkroch er sich von nun an in die brunnenkresse und sinnierte über den kleinen grünen steinfresser.

A horizontally scrolling field does not provide good overview.

A powerful button at the standard location of Cancel is quite dangerous

[To top/bottom of page] Coloured cursors and tab indicators

coloured cursor in FM-8

Toolbar icon for "select table body row(s)"

Corrected

Wrong: the icon includes the heading row (when compared to other icons. I have modified it to this appearance:

[To top/bottom of page] Download and install the UI modifictions

Since more than one file is involved and you do not need to install them all, a small installation program is provided.

  1. Download the file fm80-ui-mods.zip.
  2. Expand it to any directory of your liking, e.g. to C:\SystemMods\FrameMaker-8\ .
  3. Close FrameMaker. if necessary.
  4. Run the program Install-FM80-mods.exe from that directory:
    • The version of FM is checked: it must be 8.0p277 (maker.ini)
    • The original files will be renamed to xxx.dll.ori in the FM-8 directory $HOME/fminit.
    • The modified files will be copied to the FM-8 directory.
    • A shortcut to the installation program will be placed in the Start Menu of All-Users. for easy uninstalling.
  5. You may now start FM-8 with the modified user interface.
  6. To get access to the original interface, use the shortcut and use the Reset FM-GUI to original button in the program. This will only restore the original dlls. The fils in your 'expand' directory will not be removed, hence you can use the shortcut again to re-install the modifications.

Note: All software from D+DD is Donationware - if you find it helpful for your work, think about supporting also my work.

[To top/bottom of page] Indication of using the dialogues

The modified fmdlg.dll contains the following text which is presented in the Help > About panel:

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 URL:  Created: 2009-09-21  Updated:
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