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

Subject: RE: Wanted: Any available doc comparing Word XP and FrameMaker 7.2
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "Gay Alson" <GAlson -at- nsbgroup -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 08:11:20 -0500

Gay Alson asked...

> First off, I'm not trying to revive the old argument between these two
> opposing camps.
> However, I'm preparing a proposal for my boss to help decide which way
> jump in a proposed upgrade to our authoring tool and I need something
> recent than the excellent (archived) straw poll conducted back in
> when
> a reader asked for opinions as to which was the superior tool. 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.
> FrameMaker 7.2 seems to have made real improvements in several areas
but I
> haven't been as lucky in finding similar information about Word XP.
> anyone point me toward a document that compares these two latest
> (If not XP, even 2003 would help.)

I can't speak much about FrameMaker one way or the other, because
frankly I haven't used it much. But I can speak to a critical
_limitation_ of Word. Any version of Word. And every version of Word for
the foreseeable future.

NEVER, under ANY circumstances, EVER use MS Word if there is even the
SLIGHTEST chance that any document you create will be printed outside
your shop. In other words, if you create your documents and send them
off to a printer for printing, binding, publishing, etc., then don't use
Word. Word has some flaky and inexcusable problems related to the
"" template that can screw up the formatting of a document
just by taking it from one computer to another (let alone from one
network to another).

And having worked for a commercial printer for about two years, it also
does very odd things with colors. Most commercial printers use a Pantone
color matching system, and no matter how many times we asked and how
sophisticated and saavy a customer was, we could never get anyone with
Word to provide us files that were set in true Pantone color matching. I
think that's just because Word is incapable of supporting it (or maybe
because Microsoft's version of Pantone is different from everyone
else's, just like their version of JAVA).

Word certainly can make your life easy with all the automatic aids, and
if you set it up correctly you can make automating a document a piece of
cake. But that only seems to last (in my experience) as long as you keep
producing the document on the same computer with the same settings and
sending it to the same printer (device, not company). You start messing
with any of those variables, and suddenly everything you worked so hard
to get "perfect" can go loopy on you in a heartbeat.

I'll leave it to others who know more about FrameMaker to give you that
side of the story. But I would be hesitant to use Word unless you're
going to be doing everything yourself within your organization.

That's just my $.02...

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