RE: Framemaker, Word and Robohelp

Subject: RE: Framemaker, Word and Robohelp
From: "Jason Willebeek-LeMair" <jlemair -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 14:25:05 -0600

Great. No you have me thinking. I hope we do not infect anyone else.

Actually, I see us coming almost full circle to the typewriter days, where
the writers focused on content and someone else worried about presentation.
I am, of course, talking about structured authoring (SGML/XML).

In an SGML/XML environment, authors focus on writing clear, concise
information. They also have to worry about tagging that information (but, a
decent DTD and good tools make this fairly painless). Other people worry
about the presentation of that information by creating various stylesheets
and transforms.

So, it may not be exactly the same, but it is close. (Oddly coinciding with
the re-emergence of bell-bottoms--coincidence? I think not).


-----Original Message-----
From: Gilger.John [mailto:JGilger -at- acresgaming -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2001 2:07 PM
Subject: RE: Framemaker, Word and Robohelp

Chuck Martin's interesting comments on this thread got me thinking (a
dangerous occupation).

With the complexity of today's software packages, is there still a cost
benefit to having everyone on the team use them?

In the "old" days, we wrote on typewriters. The emphasis was on writing
clean, concise prose. When this prose was published, someone with another
skill set, type composition or graphic arts etc., would lay it out and
prepare it for the press room. It seems that today we have about the same
number of people involved in the process but they are all trying to be jacks
or jills of all trades and usually master none of them.

So what's the point?

Wouldn't it make more sense to have the members of the writing team who are
best developers of content (writers) use simpler software such as Wordpad,
vi, or (my personal favorite cyber-swiss-army-knife) emacs to write in text
files and having one or two of your best layout gurus using a good type
setting, markup, or layout program (TeX, SGML, Framemaker, Word ...) format
the stuff and make it look pretty?

After all, most of us will admit that we are better at some tasks than
others. Why not do what you do best and let someone with the complementary
skill do what they do best. A great writer and a talented graphics artist
can produce more and better work together than if each were trying to "do it

That's my curmudgeonly two cents worth. Back to the cave.

You may fire when ready, Gridley.

John Gilger
Technical Writer
Acres Gaming, Inc.

Develop HTML-Based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 ($100 STC Discount)
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