RE: Reasons to adopt FrameMaker

Subject: RE: Reasons to adopt FrameMaker
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>, Federico Viani <Federico -dot- Viani -at- telit -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 13:30:27 -0400

Replying to myself... tsk!...

Doesn't Mif2Go do a good job of exporting FrameMaker to
several target formats? Including Word?



> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> techwr-l-bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr
-l.com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+kevin.mclauchlan=safenet-> inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of McLauchlan, Kevin
> Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:27 PM
> To: Federico Viani; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: Reasons to adopt FrameMaker
>
> FrameMaker costs money.
> It'll cost large money if you give it to all your SMEs.
> It has a stiff learning curve for people who have known
> only MS Word. If your SMEs have other work for which
> you are really paying them - their primary function is
> not writing documents - then it would be a tough sell
> to persuade them to adopt FM.
>
> Word is usually available to everybody in the company
> almost by default, so they have some familarity.
> Familiarity breeds...
> So people who don't know any better make horrible botches
> of documentation by doing "spot formatting". The most
> beautiful and consistent templates and documents you
> could create can be quickly vandalized by anybody who
> has MS Word and good (or otherwise) intentions.
>
> FrameMaker is a great tool for technical writers and
> publications departments, because usually everybody
> who uses it is motivated to learn to do so properly.
> At the same time, it prevents unwanted or unwise changes
> to documentation source because most people in an organization
> are unlikely to have FrameMaker.
>
> But you can't circulate a FrameMaker document all over your
> company for review and comments, the way you could a Word
> document. Only FrameMaker can open FrameMaker documents.
> So you'd need to circulate your docs as PDFs, and only the
> people with the FrameMaker licences would be able to
> put the resulting comments, fixes, and changes back into
> the FrameMaker docs.
>
> If you don't have an actual Techpubs department, or at
> least a group of tame techwriters, then my advice would
> be to get your recently acquired FrameMaker documents
> exported into some other format and use tools that
> already work for you.
>
> If it was me, I'd be using LibreOffice, and to heck with
> FM or Word.
>
> LibreOffice does a pretty good job of exporting to PDF format.
> It's a lot like Word in overall use and capability.
> It both reads and writes in Word file format - though I prefer
> to work from its native '.odt' format.
>
> At my office, most of us have MS Office 2003, while a few have
> been getting MS Office 2007 or 2010 in the past year or so,
> resulting in documents that most cannot read unless they download
> and install a plug-in.
> Instead, I just open the .docx files in LibreOffice.
>
> LibreOffice (formerly OpenOffice.org) is open source, and it's
> free for anyone to use, so nobody can say they can't open/read
> your document.
>
> If you are a growing company, I'd start looking at the option
> to hire a few technical writers to take on the documentation
> tasks, standardize the look-and-feel across all products and
> product lines, provide a trained editorial eye, provide
> consistency and proficiency in the language in which you normally
> publish. Quite often, SMEs do not necessarily have your publication
> language as their native/first language, so when documents are
> created by a number of such people they can be technically
> accurate while being uneven in tone, style, clarity, readability.
>
> Then, let the new techpubs department decide what tools to use.
>
>
> - kevin
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> From: Federico Viani
> > Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:01 PM
> > Hello,
> >
> > I'm writing to this mailing list looking for pieces of advice
> > about publishing solutions for my high-tech company -- in the
> > wireless field -- in the hope to get unspoiled opinions from
> > people who are actually using the software, not just selling it.
> >
> > We're used to write our documentation using MS Word, and
> > publish it in .pdf format. Documents' sources come from R&D
> > (SME's) and we at Product Management level roughly check it
> > for structure, template and possibly grammar. Then we
> > 'distill' the .pdf and publish it on our intranet and
> > website. Future revisions might involve the Word 'track
> > changes' feature, and all exchanges are email based.
> >
> > After the acquisition of another company's branch, we came
> > across a bunch of documentation which is in FrameMaker format
> > and we are wondering whether this could be a chance for us to
> > adopt such a popular tech writing tool, without actually
> > grasping the real need of such a solution in our scenario,
> > except we're in a hurry of editing the new documentation in a
> > smoother way. Exporting techniques to .doc format are being
> > under inspection. The free ones at least, they don't seem to
> > provide a real method.
> >
> > Irrespective of how we are going to solve our format issues,
> > can anyone point out good reasons for us to adopt such a tool?
> > We're a global company, we are growing and we'd like to be
> > more and more productive but still we're wary that it might
> > get in the way.
> >
> > Thank you.
> >
> > Federico Viani
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References:
Reasons to adopt FrameMaker: From: Federico Viani
RE: Reasons to adopt FrameMaker: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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