RE: Two Professional Questions

Subject: RE: Two Professional Questions
From: Peter Gold <peter -at- knowhowpro -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2010 01:51:46 -0500

Richard Combs wrote:

> > 2. I am on a contract job and using Word to document an application. My
> > manager has asked to outline the benefits of going with FrameMaker
> instead
> > of Word. I have a draft in Word and my idea is to show a mock up of a
> > FrameMaker document to visually display the quality difference.
> I happen to think that FM is superior to Word in many respects, but Gene is
> right -- it depends on the situation, and if an experienced FM user can't
> think of obvious benefits in a specific situation, there probably isn't much
> of a case to be made.
> In any case, an FM mockup strikes me as pointless. FM's major advantages
> involve process (large doc management, solid autonumbering, better generated
> lists and xrefs, variables, conditions, etc.), not appearance.

Exactly! I'd only add that FrameMaker's book feature - managing multiple
individual chapter files for output as a single large document, whether
combining them into a single file or maintaining them separately - is
superior to Word's Master Document feature. FrameMaker's book feature is
very stable, while Master Documents fail often, and often this corrupts the
content. Also, overall, FrameMaker is more stable than Word.

What kind of visual "quality difference" would you expect a mockup to
> reveal?

If you did it "right," the FrameMaker mockup would resemble Word's
exactly. FrameMaker's advantages are its greater reliability and better
feature set for authors who are working with long complex technical
documents. IOW, fewer headaches for the user.

Issues that may trump any product differences are whether there are other
authors who will collaborate at the current time or in the future, whether
they have FrameMaker skills, and whether the company's other documents are
maintained in FrameMaker or Word.



Peter Gold
KnowHow ProServices

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