RE: Frame/InDesign

Subject: RE: Frame/InDesign
From: Joanne Wittenbrook <jwittenbrook -at- ameritech -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 07:56:50 -0700 (PDT)

>The fact that InDesign is gaining capabilities to enable it to be used
>for long tech docs, therefore, should surprise no one.

>Whether a separate version of InDesign will emerge (possibly with the
>Frame name) or whether it will simply be kept as one app of increasing
>abilities in this regard, I do not know.
I've worked closely with the Adobe folks for years. When InDesign was developed to replace PageMaker is was fundamentally different in structure. It was designed to be a plug-in manager which gave it far more flexibility for future development. The developers were limited because some of these programs that were developed back in the 80's were dated, and you can only do so much by trying to put a pretty face on outdated code. At some point it needs a complete overhaul.

PageMaker was re-marketed as a sort of Microsoft Publisher anyone-can-use-it desktop tool. There are still a lot of PageMaker users, so Adobe needed to continue to support the product in some way even though development essentially stopped.

>I have used both -- although obviously not the CS3 version as yet --
>and I like both of them. However, InDesign needs a great boost in its
>XML abilities for me to take it very seriously as a documentation app.

>I am also reluctant to embrace InDesign's great layout flexibility to
>tech writers who should be concentrating more on the content than the
>presentation through a major part of the process. (I have worked in
>marketing communications as well as in tech writing, so I have a bit
of a foot in both worlds.)
Structured authoring is all about keeping layout out of the hands of the average content creator. DITA is a plug-in, and since InDesign is a plug-in manager I would not be surprised to see it become available for InDesign.

I suspect FrameMaker, like PageMaker will be around for some time. However, it is true that after so many years it may need to be rebuilt from the ground up. I would not expect any major changes in it in the near future. I suspect they will take the basic heart of InDesign and develp a "FrameMaker" set of plugins for it. Or they will keep Frame as it is, keep support going enough to keep it compatible with OS changes and such and develop the Frame version of InDesign at the same time.

One of the long term goals of the Adobe development was to have all Adobe products have a similar interface. With the Macromedia merger it will be interesting to see what will happen.


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