"horrible design of FrameMaker" (was "Worthless Tech Comm Degrees")

Subject: "horrible design of FrameMaker" (was "Worthless Tech Comm Degrees")
From: "Guy K. Haas" <ghaas -at- selectica -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 11:10:11 -0800

And the voice of Andrew Plato was heard, proclaiming:

> I am of the opinion that FrameMaker is an unnecessarily complex and horribly
> designed tool lorded over and worshiped by tech writers for the sole reason
> that it provides job security to people who haven't a clue about the things
> they document.

Fine, Andrew. Can you introduce us to a tool that will do the jobs that
FrameMaker excels at, costs no more than FrameMaker, and is not so
and horribly designed? Please educate us.

> Many of these writers obsess over the intricacies of Frame and
> never once take a moment to learn the products and technologies they're
> supposed to document.


> Many non-tech writers find Frame archaic and difficult to use. I can quote
> numerous conversations with CTOs and Engineering Directors who said they
> wouldn't use FrameMaker if God himself came down and ordered them.

How many CTOs and Engineering Directors are called upon to create the
kind of documents that FrameMaker is designed for? They traffic more in
memos, letters, white papers, and the like. These are short documents
that do not persist for years, undergoing revision, expansion, and
reorganization, let alone conversion to on-line help or HTML/XML forms
for use on the WWWeb.

> Now - I don't care what intricate, meaningful and profound theories people have
> regarding Frame. To me, it is just a tool and I have to use it sometimes. There
> are things it can do well, there are things it does horribly. My problem is not
> necessarily with the tool, it is the bizarre religious fanaticism that consumes
> some people at the expense of understanding the products/technologies being
> documented.

I think most technical writers know when to use a hammer and when to use
jackhammer, and can distinguish between ravin' and a writing desk.

--Guy K. Haas ghaas -at- selectica -dot- com
Software Exegete in Silicon Valley

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