Wanted: Any available doc comparing Word XP and FrameMaker 7.2?

Subject: Wanted: Any available doc comparing Word XP and FrameMaker 7.2?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Gay Alson <GAlson -at- nsbgroup -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 17:27:31 -0500

Gay Alson wondered: <<I'm preparing a proposal for my boss to help decide which way to jump in a proposed upgrade to our authoring tool and I need something more recent than the excellent (archived) straw poll conducted back in 1995, when a reader asked for opinions as to which was the superior tool.>>

Rather than looking for a pre-existing comparison, I'd recommend turning the problem around and starting with a careful analysis of your actual, specific needs. What problems are you trying to solve now, and what problems do you expect to have to solve in the future? Based on that list, you can easily narrow down your comparison to the features that really count for you, not the kinds of features you'll see in typical computer magazine reviews--which are largely useless (too short, too general, and too focused on new features rather than overall usability).

<<At that time, people were still on Word 6 and Frame 5 but I don't want to base my recommendations on features or functionality that have significantly changed.>>

And they have indeed chnaged very significantly. Techwr-l is probably a good place to collect opinions from experienced users of both programs on how well they should meet your specific needs.

Here's an idle thought that should work very well for you and for our little community: With Lisa's permission, send along a poll to the list (containing the problems you're trying to solve and asking for ratings of each program in terms of its ability to solve those problems) and collect the answers privately. Ask for more than just "how well on a scale of 1 to 10" answers; ask for the little tips, tricks, and gotchas that won't show up in numeric scales but that can still be very significant.

Once you've got your answers, write up an article that summarizes the problems and how well each program stacks up in terms of its ability to solve each problem. Then publish the article in the techwr-l magazine. I'll bet a virtual beer you can even talk Lisa into paying you for the article, since it would be of obvious use to others in our community.

<<I haven't been as lucky in finding similar information about Word XP... (If not XP, even 2003 would help.>>

A small clarification: 2003 is the most recent version, not XP, and consensus in the editing community seems to be that XP was a botched release that should be avoided at all costs. Go straight to Word 2003 and you won't regret it. (Speaking second-hand here, since I'm on a Mac and will probably have to wait until next year for 2003 to come out on the Mac so I can test it myself.)

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Wanted: Any available doc comparing Word XP and FrameMaker 7.2: From: Gay Alson

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