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Subject:Re: Important software for T. W.s From:David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Mon, 6 Dec 2004 15:44:27 -0600
My source (for the "60% use Frame") was a seminar by one of the large
placement agencies, who gave the 60% figure from their own surveys.
I have no doubt the situation is changing, but I truly pity those who
are stuck with using Word for want of a better tool. Personally, I
would much rather use OpenOffice.org than Word for docs if it came to
Here in the Dallas area, much of the telecomm business has been using
Frame for some time--but, of course, there are *many* fewer telecomm
jobs here during the past several years. For example, in January 2001,
Nortel had two doc groups with more than 120 tech writers. A year
later, the two groups were consolidated into one and there were, I was
told, 12 left.
Similarly, there have been reductions in staff at all the other
telecomm companies in the area. So what is left in terms of tool use I
could not venture to tell you--although the STC folks mostly report
that the balance is much as before.
I am by no means a Frame bigot--but as much as it needs to be redone
from the ground up, it remains a strong tool when the output must
include print and the documents are long.
On the other hand, were I creating a tech pubs department from scratch
today without a large body of legacy docs, I would seriously look to
doing the whole thing in XML to be as "future proof" as possible and
to take advantage of all the many abilities and tools being developed
At present, I am very interested in a new filesystem for Linux called
Reiser4, which itself seems to be an extremely high-performance
datastore for XML at no charge. I believe very soon this will enable
some serious XML-based content management that will be both extremely
high performance and extremely inexpensive. www.namesys.com for
As for authoring tools, on the XML side that is in a continuing state
of flux--but the ability to use them interchangeably should begin to
be felt in user productivity as writers can use the tools of their
choice so long as they produce well-formed, valid XML.
Starting from scratch today, unless the output requirements are
heavily weighted for paper, I would not suggest Frame. Even with a
paper output requirement, though, a reasonable development of FOP and
related techniques can generate that from the XML without the
additional complexity that Frame entails.
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