Re: Framemaker vs. Pagemakervs Word

Subject: Re: Framemaker vs. Pagemakervs Word
From: "Tim Altom" <taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com>
To: "Scudder, Beth" <beth_scudder -at- retek -dot- com>, "TechDoc List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 21:09:32 -0500

Despite appearances, the dispute of Word and Frame comes down to a central
set of priorities: Word is inherently clumsy, inefficient, and breakable,
but it's a standard and its files are usable by almost anyone within the
company. Frame is slick, efficient, powerful, and much more efficient than
Word, so it can save scads of money. Combined with other software, it beats
the heck out of RoboHelp, Word, or any of that lot. It is, however, complex,
difficult to master, and nobody else in the company can use it.

PageMaker has fallen out of favor lately. When I first started using it in
the VERY early 90s, there weren't many other games to play. Now I see little
of it in tech doc departments.

The basic question then isn't what's "better", but what better fits the
company's perceived priorities. We do manuals in both (automating the living
bejeesus out of Word, by the way) and prefer Frame, because it's so much
faster that we make more money. But then, I should add that we're masters of
Frame's templates, so we see enormous efficiencies.

Parenthetically, we also like using Frame because it lets us easily
single-source, which RoboHelp doesn't do (and neither does Word, at least
not easily). Unlike internal department costs, the cost we incur for clients
is readily visible, and they tend to fall in love with single source for the
savings it offers them. If they let us, we can do a print manual and throw
in a good, usable help file virtually for free. That's much tougher to do in
Word, so our charges rise correspondingly.

Tim Altom
Simply Written, Inc.
Featuring FrameMaker and the Clustar(TM) System
"Better communication is a service to mankind."
Check our Web site for the upcoming Clustar class info

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