Re: How do FrameMaker and Doc-To-Help compare?

Subject: Re: How do FrameMaker and Doc-To-Help compare?
From: Tim Mantyla <tim -dot- mantyla -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 17:10:39 -0500

On 2/6/09, Will Husa <will -dot- husa -at- 4techwriter -dot- com> wrote:
FrameMaker is not a HAT. There is no comparison.

Karen L. Zorn <k -dot- zorn -at- zorntech -dot- com> wrote:
Uh, FrameMaker is not a help authoring tool. It is a powerful,
complex program that is used to create large documents in unstructured
or structured forms. You're looking at apples and oranges.


I appreciate the info, but this still does me no good. I'm looking for
a useful reply to the original query:

I'm applying "for a position that called for "FrameMaker skills a
plus. I've used Doc-To-Help, but no other HATs. I want to demonstrate
that my software skills on one are most likely transferable to the

Remember, I don't know FrameMaker, so I'm looking for a detailed
picture about how my skills on D2H may be transferable, even if
they're not comparable.

And from Karen's brief description, Frame and the HAT that I know DO
look comparable in at least some ways.

Note that apples and oranges in her analogy are both fruits--which
share many more traits than they differ in. For example, try comparing
apples to planets, or oranges to protozoa.

They appear similar in these ways:

- They both create documents (and online help in the case of D2H).
- They both are powerful, complex programs.
- They both require knowledge of an interface and system to create outputs.
- They both create various types of outputs, some of which may be
similar in some ways, less similar in others.

With these basic characteristics, they look pretty similar to me in
basic functions.

Maybe the key question is:

What transferable skills can I demonstrate to a hiring manager that
are used in both FrameMaker and D2H?

The challenge is to demonstrate to someone who may not have used D2H,
or FrameMaker--or even knows what they are--that I can learn quickly
how to work in FrameMaker. If I can get a handle on what FrameMaker
does, and find similarities, I'm on the right track.

The hiring decision could depend on the level of detail the hiring
manager focuses on in the job description, and how astute she is to
the core requirements of the job.

I can also download a trial version of FrameMaker and make a
document--a good idea if the company shows interest. But first I need
to get them to show interest!
(And I don't have time to learn every software app that every job
description demands.)

If the following questions help--and I'm not sure they do--does anyone know:

- In what _specific_ ways are they comparable and not?

- What does FrameMaker do that D2H does not, and vice versa?

- What about interface, programming organization, ease of use, other
factors you can think of?

An aside: Someone once told me all HATs, HTML and word processing or
document production programs are converging in their abilities. It
seems only a matter of time, marketing and programming ingenuity till
they can all do the same things with minor variations, and only
interface variations.

> I recently applied for a position that called for "FrameMaker skills a
> plus." I've used Doc-To-Help, but no other HATs. I want to demonstrate that
> my software skills on one are most likely transferable to the other.
> I evaluated Madcap Flare on a contract basis for an online help project for
> a company, but didn't really dig into it. Its interface seemed more
> complicated than D2H.
> One reason for choosing D2H: the company is filled with potential
> contributors who have writing skills and use MS Word--but little or no
> technical writing experience--so D2H seemed like the best fit for the
> company's limited resources. They don't plan on hiring a tech writer to
> continue the project.
> Who has used both, and how do they compare? How easy was it to learn one,
> having used the other? How long a learning curve for one vs. the other? (I
> know it'll be subjective, and hard to assess personal factors like general
> ability with software, speed of learning, etc.--but I'll just have to figure
> in a fudge factor to cover those.)
> I'm also assuming that, having learned one HAT, the knowledge makes it
> easier to learn others as well.
> All (politely stated) comments are welcome. Thanks!

-- Tim

ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 2009 is your all-in-one authoring and publishing
solution. Author in Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word or
HTML and publish to the Web, Help systems or printed manuals.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!

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How do FrameMaker and Doc-To-Help compare?: From: Tim Mantyla
RE: How do FrameMaker and Doc-To-Help compare?: From: Will Husa

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