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Pagemaker is far easier to learn & to use, and likelier [for the time being]
to be more widely available in most small businesses or pubs shops--it's
been a tool of choice for some years. It is not fatally underpowered for
many "real" tech pubs jobs -- we use it here to produce our entire
multi-product multi-language manual sets, working with translators who give
us RTF files we pour into our Pagemaker files/templates. We do have to
reformat/refit all text & graphics page by page to make it fit, but that's
always gonna be required, esp. when different laguages force different
chapter word count/length anway. We output to postcript and get our books
Docutech'd by local service bureaus -- it all works fine. The worst thing
about PM, unless we hear otherwise, is that PM is an "end of life" product,
being replaced by so-far flawed InDesign. If PM gets no more upgrades, it'll
fall into limbo of a tool that many use but gets no respect & eventually no
support. What a pity that'd be.
Framemaker is a firsst-rate tool but is much harder to learn, so I'd advise
you merely introduce it to those students who are more likely to pursue TW
careers where they'll be expected/required to know it. I've used it very
little over the past 20 yrs., even tho ALL the ads seem to suggest it's the
most in-demand tool of all. FM has Warnock's [Adobe CEO] pledge of future
support/upgrades forever, but no such for PM. FM is overkill for small to
middlin' jobs, but if it permeates the tech pubs community may become truly
dominant anyway. You might get a deal from Adobe or a reseller for a
classroom site license or bundle of copies, since that should be an
incentive to create more FM users! but logic rarely works in
All TW students MUST get familiar with MS Word/Office in its various
incarnations, just 'cuz it's omnipresent. No big vote of confidence, I'm
just stating the facts. Hey, decades ago I loved Volkswriter, but it gave
way to Wordstar, which gave way to WordPerfect, which gave way to Word,,,
which will give way to??? Pouring raw text into an editor/formatter is a
thing of the past, since we got WYSIWYG up the wazoo. Sometimes I think it'd
simplify some of the dilemmas Word can cause...
[erstwhile TW teacher myself,,,]
From: Jessica Lourey [SMTP:jessical -at- alx -dot- tec -dot- mn -dot- us]
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2000 11:13 AM
Subject: Framemaker vs. Pagemaker
I am the director of the new Technical Communication AAS in
Alexandria, Minnesota. I am in the process of choosing a software for our
Desktop Publishing course, and I am not sure whether Pagemaker or Framemaker
would be better. Here are the factors.
1. The majority of our grads will work in small businesses creating
shorter manuals, brochures, newsletters
2. It is a one semester class so will not go into advanced
3. We already have Pagemaker in our labs.