RE: That FrameMaker / Word thang...

Subject: RE: That FrameMaker / Word thang...
From: "Spreadbury, David" <david -dot- spreadbury -at- tellabs -dot- com>
To: "Gay Alson" <GAlson -at- nsbgroup -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 13:20:30 -0600

Log onto and look through the archives. These questions,
and more, have been answered many times over up there. Plus, if you were
to post your questions there, you will reach many FrameMaker experts,
not to say they don't watch techwhirlers also.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+david -dot- spreadbury=tellabs -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+david -dot- spreadbury=tellabs -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
] On Behalf Of Gay Alson
Sent: Monday, March 20, 2006 12:41 PM
To: 'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com'
Subject: That FrameMaker / Word thang...

After posting a request last week for comparison docs, I received lots
good responses. A few people requested more specificity as to context,
I'm revisiting this question to pinpoint our major concerns and rephrase
issues. We've used Word for many years but as we head toward content
management, it may be time to change authoring tools. A current desire
is to
cut down on doc maintenance by enabling lengthy source documents to
serve at
least three separate audiences. So the issues are:

How do Word and FrameMaker compare in terms of time required to do the

* Use conditional text (or an alternative) to enable source docs
serve various audiences. (Help is not an issue.)

* Handle various document types, most of which (a) contain
graphics and tables, (b) require the use of autonumbering and
and (c) run to several hundred pages in length.

* Manage multi-file documents ("books" in FM), including (a)
search &
replace across multiple chapters, (b) reliability in handling page
numbering/sections/headers & footers, and (c) solid cross-reference, TOC
index performance.

I'm asking for time-focused opinions because time translates to dollars
that's what management is concerned with. For example, does one app take
less time than the other to perform a global search & replace across
chapters? Specifics would be greatly appreciated because I'd like
quantifiable info on time expenditures--both initially and also in terms
redoing or fixing. In your experience, which app is more efficient in
of these areas? Also, do you have any advice on little-known problems
can blind-side a tech writer? Have you created any helpful workarounds
existing problems? Do you have any tips or tricks for either app that
increase its ease of use or reliability (both of which affect the time
using it)?

I'd like to approach this issue as a survey. If you want to contact me
off-list, I'll compile all feedback and submit a summary to the list
may be of help to some of the rest of you.

Thanks for your wisdom (and generosity in sharing it),

Gay D. Alson
Technical Writer
NSB Group
galson -at- nsbgroup -dot- com <mailto:galson -at- nsbgroup -dot- com> <>
Tel: (514) 426-0822, ext. 2116
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