RE: Are You Using Structured Framemaker?

Subject: RE: Are You Using Structured Framemaker?
From: "Etzel, Gary" <Gary -dot- Etzel -at- Advantica -dot- biz>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 15:07:08 -0500

>Is structured Framemaker (vs unstructured
Framemaker) being used alot?

Probably not, although perhaps it should be. It takes more up-front work to
get started, and it might be overkill for some. But once you are there, it
is a much superior authoring environment. It's hard to understand all the
benefits until you have actually tried it for yourself, or seen it in

> Is a structured writing prerequisite to using
structured Framemaker?

All writing is structured writing. Even "unstructured" writing is
structured, because you still have rules to follow -- you need a Heading1
before you can use a Heading2, notes can or cannot be put in procedures,
whatever. Structure does not have to be complex. So the answer to your
question is technically yes, but I think that most technical writers are
doing some type of structured writing to begin with, whether they realize it
or not.

> You can write unstructured documentation using
> a structured tool if you define your structure loosely
> enough. Of course, that would be kind of a waste
> of the effort involved.

It is not necessarily a waste, depending on your requirements. For example,
there are some structured FrameMaker plugins that run circles around
conditional text and text insets. There are more benefits to structured
FrameMaker than just structured writing.


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