Re: Framemaker to HTML or use Dreamweaver?

Subject: Re: Framemaker to HTML or use Dreamweaver?
From: John Cornellier <tw -at- cornellier -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 10:59:40 +0100

Hi Laura

>My department is beginning to move a lot of our documentation to our intranet.

What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to distribute your doc electronically, or do you want to make a website? Will you continue to
provide printed doc?

If your intention is to move from distributing paper to having user download and print, then PDF is a good way to go. PDF stands for
Portable Document Format and was conceived as a way to distribute paper documents electronically. If you're going PDF, then you can make
the PDFs with Word. You didn't say what the scale of the project was. Small scale, Word may be better, given the fact that it's there.
Really large scale, learning and paying for Frame might make sense.

Or do you want to make a website where people read your conents on screen and navigate with a web browser? i.e. a normal website? If this
is the case, then "dumping" a set of printed doc onto a web server does not make a web site. Most people don't like using PDF on screen,
within a browser. So if you want to make a proper website, you need to do it in HTML. Think about it -- your favourite web site uses HTML,
not PDF, for online viewing.

Frame was not conceived as an HTML tool, but as an authoring environment for printed doc. Dreamweaver is the opposite: less content
management, more presentation. So which you choose depends on your priorities. Do you have tons of complex, dynamic content? Maybe you
should use FM. Or is your content management not too tricky, but you really want to have fancy web pages?

>We don't have any Frame experts in our department, so we would all be learning it. Obviously, we could use Frame for paper documentation.

Do you have HTML experts in your department? Can you create a web site with Notepad? I don't think the learning curve is much of an issue
between the two applications. Either way you'll have some learning to do.

>We have the chance to get a new tool for HTML production. I have heard that FrameMaker does PDF well, but does it do HTML? Pros and Cons?

You can produce very good HTML out of the box with FM. When I say HTML, I mean W3C HTML, without any plugins, javascript, embedded music,
animated gifs, vbscript, server side scripting, Flash, and so on. It does include CSS support though.

What you get with dream weaver is a WYSIWYG design enviroment and support for a lot of technologies other than W3C HTML. Do you want this?
Do you want flashy pages? Is this a marketing site?

With Dreamweaver you are working on presentation first, content second. Will that be an impedement to your writing clear doc? With Frame
you're working on structure and content first, with the presentation mapped on. It's a different style of working.

Realize that you have two separate sets of requirements:
* you need an authoring environment
* you need a presentation media.

The two requirements can be conflicting & you need to weigh it all up.

So to sum up, I think the things that inform your decision are:
* What is the purpose of putting the doc on the web?
* If you want to create a native HTML website, how fancy do you want it? Embedded multimedia? Javascript?
* What is the complexity of your authoring requirements?
* What are your continuing requirements for printed output?

Feel free to mail me off or on the list if you'd like to discuss more detail.

Hope this helps,
John Cornellier



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References:
Framemaker to HTML or use Dreamweaver?: From: Laura Winkelspecht

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