Multiple undo (was Re: Microsoft Documentation)

Subject: Multiple undo (was Re: Microsoft Documentation)
From: "T. Word Smith" <techwordsmith -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2004 08:20:26 -0800 (PST)

Some thoughts:

Word doesn't work like FrameMaker. Word needs multiple
undo. FrameMaker does not. Okay, I can see a need for
three or four levels of undo, perhaps, but after that
either I can't remember what I'm undoing or I'm
undoing some things I intended.

I use multiple undo in Word to fix things like
autocorrections, when it underlines and makes blue a
hyperlink, when placing multiple graphics floating on
the same page and they each bounce all over creation,
and when I add another numbered list and suddenly all
numbered lists are blown to hell. I need multiple undo
in Word to make up for what I perceive to be
shortcomings in the product, and multiple undo has
become a staple of my workflow in that product.

I don't need multiple undo in FrameMaker. If things
get away from me, I revert to saved. I don't test
designs by creating them and undoing them, I use and
apply tags from the designers and, if they don't work,
I quickly edit the designers and update all. Ditto
page layouts, I try them and if I don't like them, I
change the master page back or import layout from an
FM doc I am happy with.

Don't get me wrong. I like Word as well as
FrameMaker--although Word 2 was the version I liked
best, I remember it as being more stable than later
releases. I just like Word for different things:
sharing source files, writing resumes (part of this is
the sharing thing), writing letters, etc., all things
I can do in FM, yes, but things I now do in Word and
Word does them efficiently and well. FrameMaker is my
long-doc tool of choice.

And, let's face it. Word's market is not us. Word's
market is the PHB who perceives it to be a supreme
jack-of-all-trades, capable of doing everything at a
low price, a price they often perceive as free. In
that regard, perception at the corporate and PHB
level, Word is light years ahead of FM.

Finally, I like to believe you _can_ modernize a
product, wrench on the GUI, and still keep your legacy
user base. But, I was a long-time user of Ventura
Publisher when Corel did this from version 5 to 7, and
Corel dumped their installed base like a rented mule.
Part of the reason was stability, part of the reason
was features that failed to work as advertised, part
of the reason was support for legacy file formats--FM
5 imported Ventura 4.2 files better than Ventura 7
did--and part was a lack of commitment to the future
of Ventura on the part of Corel--they would not commit
to an international version beyond the U.S. Oh, and
the docs were utterly pathetic; written for nOObs who
had never done DTP in their lives. Yes, I like to
believe Adobe can rework FrameMaker and avoid those
pitfalls, but I really, really can't see the business
case for it ....


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