Re: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?

Subject: Re: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Mary Moore <mmoore100 -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2011 09:19:43 -0500

In situations like these (in which I've worked in the past as that
consultant) it's best to use as few tools as possible. That said, I
think Flare trumps Framemaker since Flare can generate various output

What you should focus on:

Building a single, solid, minimalistic template with all the targets
they need (no more, no less) for publishing.
Documenting everything in the template and how/when to use it.
Writing cleanly, tersely, and consistently so they have a model to work from.
Train the developers most likely to have their hands in the docs after
you're gone (talk to management about who those candidates might be).
Leave your contact info with them when you leave, as you might be called back.

Flare is also a good choice for programmer types to pick up because
the UI is similar to what they're using to write code. They are likely
using (unless they're 100% pure geek) an IDE of some form, and Flare
is designed very much like an IDE. They will be less apt to use it
like Word, especially when coupled by solid template documentation and

On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 6:14 PM, Mary Moore <mmoore100 -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote:
> I'm consulting for a company that needs to set up documentation from scratch and doesn't have an authoring tool. They've heard that FrameMaker is the tool of choice and asked my opinion.
> They will not have a full-time writer. I will be setting things up and creating the initial documentation and then they will hire contractors as needed. Call me cynical, but I've seen a couple of companies turn the minor updating tasks over to engineers who can indeed figure out how to make the minor changes, but then trip up on conditional text, generating TOCs and indexes, and so on.
> Given that they don't have a tool already and that they will not have a full-time writer, I'm thinking of suggesting Flare, but I'm worried about the learning curve -- for them AND me.
> If I sell them on Flare, how long do you think it will take me to create simple templates for an installation guide and user guide that would be output as PDF?
> Does Flare come with any default templates?
> If they decide to make minor changes themselves and bring in a writer only for a major release, is it conceivable that they could do this?
> Miranda Moreland

Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
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New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?: From: Mary Moore

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