Subject: Re: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?

Subject: Subject: Re: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2011 12:25:13 +0200

One thing I haven't noticed so far: what kind of output do they desire?

If either printed or .pdf, whether to use Frame would seem to me to
depend upon their willingness to engage a documentation professional
on contract each time they need to produce a deliverable. In my
experience, the incredible mess that is made by inexperienced people
doing successive generations of edits and updates on Frame docs must
truly be seen to be believed. To this day, I shudder when I think of
some of the docs I inherited like this on a contract with Nortel over
a decade ago. Format overrides alone were a nightmare when attempting
to get a clean result in an upgrade on one of these things.

Thus, for printed or .pdf manuals I would suggest another tool
entirely. The suggestion to try OpenOffice.org (or its upcoming fork
called LibreOffice) is actually quite a good one; in my experience,
there are some advantages it presents over Word, for example.

Otherwise, I'd suggest sticking pretty much with the word processing
app of choice in the company--although if it's Word I would definitely
create some canonical templates and be sure there are copies on some
sort of write-protected media so the untutored could not begin the
wild series of changes that seem to accompany a document passing
through many hands which belong to the less-skilled types.

It's too bad that creating the document templates would be so
difficult, for they sound like a wonderful candidate for LyX, since
that makes doc creation a breeze but makes it incredibly difficult to
try to mess up the doc template.

If they will want context-sensitive help, that is obviously another
matter. I haven't used Doc-to-Help personally, but I understand that
it has about the lowest learning curve in the business and thus may be
a fine choice.

David
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