How to convince a coworker to NOT use Structured FrameMaker?

Subject: How to convince a coworker to NOT use Structured FrameMaker?
From: David Castro <thejavaguy -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2009 19:48:50 -0500

I have a couple of coworkers who are in love with Structured FrameMaker
source files. The end-product document is delivered in PDF format to the
customer, so there really is no benefit (that I know of) to the customer by
using structured vs. non-structured Frame files. One problem with using
structured source files is that it makes it more difficult for our
more-junior technical writers to help out with a document (as they need to
learn not only FrameMaker, but Structured Frame, too). However, the more
compelling problem is that our DTD (or, rather, the FM equivalent) is not
complete. It was developed by a writer who left the company three years ago,
and nobody here has the knowledge necessary to update the DTD. The
incomplete nature of the DTD causes problems such as having red elements in
the structured view (indicating that the XML is not in a valid structure)
and having paragraph styles that are changed from the default being switched
back when you're not looking.

If I was working for a previous employer, I'd just jump in and learn how to
update DTDs for Frame files to avoid the problem. However, in my current
employ, all work is billed to the customer, and I therefore don't have an
easy way to spend a week or two on something like this task.

So, my question is: How would you go about trying to convince your coworkers
that there is no benefit to using Structured Frame for a given project? I've
already tried to get them to explain why they are using it, and they bring
up some (in my opinion) minor benefits, such as being able to quickly and
easily restructure large blocks of text without having to click at the
beginning of a block to be moved and scroll through pages of content
(instead being able to select the elements in the structured view).

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

-David Castro
thejavaguy -at- gmail -dot- com

Are you looking for one documentation tool that does it all? Author,
build, test, and publish your Help files with just one easy-to-use tool.
Try the latest Doc-To-Help 2009 v3 risk-free for 30-days at:

Help & Manual 5: The all-in-one help authoring tool. True single- sourcing --
generate 8 different formats and as many different versions as you need
from just one project. Fast and intuitive.

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:


Previous by Author: Hamster farming
Next by Author: Re: I'm now blogging about Agile & TW
Previous by Thread: RE: Thee, thou, and the evolution of language
Next by Thread: Re: How to convince a coworker to NOT use Structured FrameMaker?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads