Re: Forced to read the manual/re: FrameMaker

Subject: Re: Forced to read the manual/re: FrameMaker
From: David Castro <thetechwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Beth Kane <bethkane -at- tcisolutions -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 10:07:46 -0800 (PST)

> <rant> HOWEVER, Frame has the SORRIEST online help system I have ever seen
> in my LIFE!

I doubt anyone who has used their "online help" would argue with that opinion!

> I'd rather not have to use the manual,
> but I'm forced to. The manual is not super-well-indexed, either, but it has
> improved a great deal over the years. </rant>

I find it interesting that you say that. My story is appropriate for this
thread, too.

I served a technical writing internship at Hewlett-Packard. I worked with two
other writers with 30+ years of writing experience between the two. We were
using FrameBuilder, which was the precursor to Frame+SGML. It was version 4,
which was right before Adobe bought Frame.

Several times, the writers I worked with couldn't figure out how to do
something in the tool. Every single time, I was able to find the answer in the
hard copy, by following what I found in the index. In fact, on most occasions,
when I go to their index, I find what I'm looking for in the first place I look
in the index! I've usually got a backgroudn process whirring in my mind,
thinking of additional areas I can look in the index for what I'm looking for,
but I usually never need them. :-)

When asked what my favorite index is, I have a hard time deciding between
FrameMaker 4's index, and the online help index for Delphi 2.0.

But, I digress. The moral of the story is that I amazed and confounded my
much-more-experienced coworkers by showing them how quickly I could answer
their Frame questions. And I had never used Frame before I started my

-David Castro
techwrtr -at- crl -dot- com
thetechwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com
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