Re: Importing FrameMaker into RoboHelp -- style issues

Subject: Re: Importing FrameMaker into RoboHelp -- style issues
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 15:07:15 -0500

Not long ago, I had a short contract that was supposed to be a month long, basically formatting a bunch of books put together by programmers and other systems types in Word. It didn't help that they were using Word 2003, Word 2007, and Word 2010. After 6 months, they decided to call it quits on my work. With each "release" or "review" of the books, the original people managed to undo all the changes I had done to clean them up and I'd spend 2 or 3 days per book fixing them again.

Trust me, Sarah, it won't take three months. The first one making changes will mess them up.

While Office costs about $400 a copy (in corporate quantity, I have no idea how low.) and FrameMaker runs around $1000, these companies lose far more than the $600 difference in lost time from having to fix all the issues that Word documents suffer from each time someone changes them. Just two days lost for most of us eats that right up.

Unfortunately, corporate managers are short-sighted and only see the $600.




----- Original Message ----- From: "Sarah Blake" <sarah -dot- blake -at- arieso -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 11:45 AM
Subject: RE: Importing FrameMaker into RoboHelp -- style issues


I used a FM/RH combo at my last gig, and I wouldn't recommend it as easy for non-techwriters to work with.

It wasn't particularly easy for tech writers to work with. It wasn't easy for /Adobe/ to work with; after a while, their support started avoiding our calls :)

If you can set everything up specifically for single-sourcing, it'll probably be OK. If you have to work around existing formatting or procedures, though, well, I wouldn't.

On the other hand, when someone wants to use Word 'because it's already in use' I sense looming disaster. Most of the people who use Word have no idea how it actually works, and their documents are a hideous mess of ad-hoc styles and different lists. I've lost count of the times I've been sent a document to 'fix' because they can't make the formatting/numbering do what they want (everyone remember the fun we used to have with the Normal style set to automatically update? :) ). Three months after you leave, your beautiful documents will be a horror...

Sarah Blake
Technical Writer
Arieso Ltd
Office +44 (0) 1635 232470 | Fax +44 (0) 1635 232471 |
Email sarah -dot- blake -at- arieso -dot- com | Web www.arieso.com |


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References:
Importing FrameMaker into RoboHelp -- style issues: From: Becky . Scott

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