RE: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 63, Issue 3

Subject: RE: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 63, Issue 3
From: "Rick_Bishop" <rickbishop -at- austin -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2011 08:37:38 -0600

Miranda: You don't mention a specific documentation need, so unless help
files are your output, my suggestion would be to use whatever tools they
already have. Microsoft or Open Office is pretty much on every business PC
out there. Why not use that? I just can't imagine the typical engineer or
SME producing decent work with either Frame or Flare. In my experience, they
are very reluctant to learn anything other than the most basic use of any
tool not directly required by their primary responsibility. If you go with
Frame or Flare, you have to set up a workstation usable by anyone at any
time--it's unlikely the company will buy either for everyone. Tell them
straight up that yes, Frame would be a great choice if you have a full-time
writer devoted to document maintenance, but for this limited effort, let's
work with what we have.
Rick

-----Original Message-----
Subject: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?

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


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