RE: Framemaker, Word and Robohelp

Subject: RE: Framemaker, Word and Robohelp
From: "Carnall, Jane" <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 09:45:14 -0000

John Gilger wrote:
>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.

In the 'old' days I used to write on a typewriter. Then (because it was a
small operation) I'd send it to the typesetter, marked up with the font(s)
I'd chosen. When I got it back from the typesetter, I'd lay it out, adding
in graphics. Then I'd send my completed layout to the printer. When I got my
first desktop publishing software and discovered there was a *faster* way to
do all this, U was overjoyed. It wasn't a question (for me) of getting
handed extra tasks, but of being given an extra tool to accomplish work I
already had to do.

>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?

Sure. Someone who specialises in layout, and nothing but, might well do a
better job than me as far as just "formatting it and making it look pretty".
But only if layout is considered separately from content, and I don't
believe it should be: meaning is conveyed by *how* a document is laid out,
as well as what the words say. But then... I would also find it very dull,
to simply write the content and thereafter have no connection with the
layout: as I would find it very frustrating, to design the layout but have
no control over the content. I prefer to do both.

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

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