Re: Pro's and Con's -- FrameMaker vs InDesign

Subject: Re: Pro's and Con's -- FrameMaker vs InDesign
From: voxwoman <voxwoman -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Ken Poshedly <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2010 09:22:47 -0400

Hi Ken,

I suspect that most Frame users haven't used InDesign very much and don't
have anything to contribute. I've used both programs so I can hopefully shed
a dim light on this for you.

InDesign is more of a Quark-like program, and it's a bit of a bear to figure
out (I also am an expert in Frame). I use InDesign for newsletters and small
print jobs, and as a layout tool, it's excellent.

I have not tried to create a book from it, and I'm not sure that I would.

Table support is better than it used to be (especially compared to
PageMaker, which it repaced), but it's pretty awful compared to Frame.

If you have your templates/master pages set up nicely in InDesign, it is not
too bad working with documents, but you have a lot more "active" control
over styles than what you would want as a TW who just wants to get a book
out. The page flows work differently than they do in Frame, and it doesn't
seem to be automatic - you have to do a lot of manual layout of text (this
could be due to my inexperience with InDesign - I've used it for less than
100 hours vs literally thousands of hours of Frame use)

Later versions handle headers, page numbering and indexing/contents, but I
haven't had an occasion to use them yet so I can't tell you if it's easier
or not. I suspect it's livable once you figure it out. The variable
functionality seems more primitive, and I don't think there is conditional
text capability at all.

What is good about it is how seamless it is with Photoshop and Illustrator -
InDesign is very good for graphic/art -intensive documents and multiple-page
spreads like magazines and catalogs.

I don't know what it costs as a standalone, but Creative Suite Design
Premium is $1500 or so

I also don't know if Adobe has a nice conversion path from InDesign to Frame
or vice-versa. I tend to doubt it. Frame has not been integrated into the CS
line. The workflows in InDesign are made for people who are already familiar
with Photoshop and Illustrator (and possibly Frame 9's UI is similar - we
are still using Frame 8, since people are leery about upgrading to a new UI
here)

HTH,
Wendy

On Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 8:59 AM, Ken Poshedly <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net> wrote:

> Uh-oh!
>
> The non-English-speaking engineers at my company's home offices in China
> use
> InDesign to produce non-English-language technical manuals for the
> company's
> line of heavy equipment. The company's group translators (all young
> 20-somethings) who have no real tech writing experience simply use Word to
> produce English-language manuals. The layout and accuracy of technical
> matter
> and English is way below par because those kids simply have no access to
> the
> machines nor the technical expertise to explain things correctly nor enough
> English-language comprehension to do a good job. The company just wants
> books
> out on deadline.
>
> We -- a group of 3 tech writers -- here in the U.S. all come from extensive
> FrameMaker backgrounds (a combined total of 25 years), with technical
> expertise
> and obviously dern guud englsh. What we do is use those other
> "English-language"
> manuals from China (errors and all) to somehow perform miracles and produce
> well-arranged, more accurate and professional tech pubs (operation manuals,
> workshop manuals, parts books).
>
> I'm now hearing grumbling that the Chinese engineers who already use
> InDesign
> want us in the U.S. to move to InDesign. We are adamant that it's a bad
> move and
> our supervisor here and who knows nothing about this stuff wants solid
> arguements why we should stay with FrameMaker.
>
> We've compiled a list but I'd like to hear from y'all with your own ideas
> regarding ease of use, co$t, capability -- anything we can use in our
> corner.
>
> I've already posted this to the Frameusers list and the silence is
> deafening.
>
> Help anyone?
>
> -- Ken in metro Atlanta
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References:
Pro's and Con's -- FrameMaker vs InDesign: From: Ken Poshedly

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