Re: Absence of FrameMaker from your skill set -- what does it say?

Subject: Re: Absence of FrameMaker from your skill set -- what does it say?
From: Pro TechWriter <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sat, 1 Aug 2009 20:22:39 -0500

I second that. And the Classroom in a Book is a great way to refresh "old"
Frame knowledge or learn it for the first time.
Interestingly, my first documentation tool was Interleaf, which was invented
before Frame and was Frame's main competitor for many years. That was in the
early 1980's. I was a beta tester for Frame 2 in the late 80's, and I have
only used it sporadically since then. I remember enough to pick it up for a
legacy documentation project, but honestly, most of the documentation I have
done in the last 10 years has been for online help. So, online help tools
have been what I used, from RoboHelp to MadCap Flare to AuthorIT. Now, my
tools are used to create XML output, so I am using XMetal. So, for me, Frame
would seem like a step backwards for online use. If I was writing hundreds
of pages of text that needed to be in book format, Frame would be my first
choice, but that hasn't happened since the very early 1990s.

And as far as Word goes, that is a tool that does allow other people to add
to your work, make comments or changes, etc., without the cost of Framemaker
for every engineer. Businesses are strapped for cash, so that does make some
sense.

Like some others, I think focusing mostly on the tools and not on the writer
is a mistake. Tools can be learned, but temperament and willingness to work
and learn are innate. Every tool I know (and there are a bunch) I had to be
a beginner at. It's the same for all of us. :-) So, if I found a really
great writer that would suit the company culture, was curious, and a quick
learner, I'd figure Frame was a nice-to-have, rather than a mandatory
skill.

PT

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 8:42 AM, Susan Park <su_duncan -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

> I don't think inexperience with Frame is indicative of a lack of
> seriousness or commitment to technical writing. And if you want a new
> employee to learn Frame, direct that person to the Classroom in a Book,
> online user groups, and become a mentor/coach. Yes, the new person won't
> become an expert overnight, but learning the basics doesn't take long.
>
>
> --- On Thu, 7/30/09, Ava Cassidy <ava -dot- m -dot- cassidy -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>
>
> From: Ava Cassidy <ava -dot- m -dot- cassidy -at- gmail -dot- com>
> Subject: Absence of FrameMaker from your skill set -- what does it say?
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Date: Thursday, July 30, 2009, 8:06 PM
>
>
> First, some background: Our company is in the midst of trying to create a
> consistent tools strategy. Right now we have only a handful of writers, all
> using different tools (I'm one of the writers and I use Frame, two others
> use Word, and a fourth uses RoboHelp almost exclusively.) We do not have a
> doc manager. All of the writers report to different engineering managers,
> and there is no one in charge of a doc strategy.
>
> There's a strong sentiment among some of our managers in favor
> of standardizing on Frame. However, when we posted a job listing recently,
> there were some different opinions over what it should say, and whether
> FrameMaker should be listed as a requirement or as a plus. In the end, it
> was not mentioned in the posting at all.
>
> So, um, clearly many things are wrong with this picture, but my specific
> question has to do with what's a reasonable skill set to expect from a
> seasoned tech writer. I've been asked to help sort through the resumes, and
> none that I've seen so far list FrameMaker as a skill (nor anything as
> "fancy" as structured authoring). My question is: Does the lack of
> FrameMaker on your resume suggest a lack of seriousness about the
> profession? Or am I just being a total FrameMaker snob to even ask that?
>
> If you're someone who doesn't like or doesn't want to use Frame, I
> apologize
> if this is an offensive question! It's just that, at every company I've
> worked at (three jobs, over a total of 10 years), we've used Frame as our
> primary authoring tool, and the notion of possibly getting pushed into
> using
> Word sends chills up my spine. And I'm just surprised to see so many
> resumes
> that don't have it (even though our own job posting didn't ask for it).
>
> thanks,
> Ava
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
> Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
> 2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
> http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/
>
> 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!
> http://www.helpandmanual.com/
>
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>
>
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
> Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
> 2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
> http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/
>
> 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!
> http://www.helpandmanual.com/
>
> ---
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com -dot-
>
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--
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love....Pursue the
things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their
eyes off you.”

- Dr. Maya Angelou
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

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! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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