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I did not mean to say FrameMaker is the most commonly used tool. Clearly,
Word has that honor. Nor do I want to engage in FrameMaker versus Word wars
<g>, clearly my preference is for FrameMaker and, with WebWorks Publisher,
single-sourcing. Nonetheless, there are valid reasons for preferring. As for
large versus smaller departments, the largest tech writing department I have
worked in was five people. Two out of five of my employers used FrameMaker
before my arrival, four out of five did so after I'd been there a while. The
other one used Ventura, which certainly is no slouch in this arena. One of
my "conversions" was a Word shop, where I authored several 600+ page books
in MS Word 6, 95, and 97. Nonetheless, it's back to FrameMaker I come.
Currently, I do accept files from others in a variety of formats, including
HTML and Word, and incorporate them into my FrameMaker workflow. This is
not seamless, as you can imagine, but developing MS Word templates for
others to use and trying, softly, to change some writing styles and bad
habits with Word are helping.
As for the tools course, I firmly believe in formal training on tools after
a writer has had a project and a period of time to stumble through the tool
beforehand (that way, the class makes more sense). I would just as soon send
a writer to class on FrameMaker as I would on MS Word. MS Word is pretty
complex, once you get beyond the type a resume stage, including Macros,
master docs <hehehe>, autonumbering <hehehehehe> . . . sorry, I did say I
wouldn't go there <vbg>. Fun aside, without hesitation, formal training in
your tool of choice is a must, be it Word or FrameMaker.
sean -at- quodata -dot- com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Giordano, Connie [SMTP:Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM]
> Understand up front, I am not knocking Framemaker, just pointing out an
> assumption that could very well be in error.
> Is Framemaker really that commonly used? Perhaps in well-established
> companies with larger than lone tech writer departments. Apparently on
> list. But not in my experience. I've been doing this for seven years
> and have yet to work somewhere where they were even considering using
> Framemaker. Frame vs Word wars aside (since never having had to use it I
> can't vouch for it), most companies I work with use Word, and don't want
> spend the money on a tool that only a few staffers will ever use. They'll
> agree to a HAT, sometimes even a multimedia/CBT tool, but so I've never
> enough justifiable evidence of productivity improvements to move to the
> Framemaker world.
> Perhaps it's because in many software companies, developers, programmers,
> and bus. analysts are contributing information to the documentation
> products, and who has the time to teach them something like Framemaker
> they can do a basic job with Word.
> It makes me wonder whether it's worth it to consider a full-blown tools
> course on Framemaker vs Pagemaker, when many folks will end up in an
> environment, frustrated because they can't have the tools they've learned
> Connie Giordano