Software engineers and FM12

Subject: Software engineers and FM12
From: Michele Glover <MGlover -at- Maxcessintl -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 12:45:35 -0800

Hello all,
I've been a long-time lurker here and now it's time for me to overcome my cyber-shyness and ask a question. Thanks so far for all the great conversations and wealth of information. Please bear with me and a little backstory:
I am a lone writer at a small mechanical engineering and manufacturing company. We make components for the web converting industry - slitting and winding non-woven web materials. I use MS Word and manuals are usually under 50 pages, dealing with all things mechanical. However, we do have a handful of automated systems for which two developers write motion control software and design GUIs. Up until now, we have built those manuals as master documents in Word (aaaarrggggh!) so that we can compile a .chm to include with the UI.
Well. I am done with that. I am not wasting any more time with Word formatting and macros and section breaks and whatever else. My counterpart in Germany uses Framemaker and I am planning to switch asap (in spite of my fear). One of our software engineers is certain that he needs a FM license also so that he can provide context-sensitive help with the .chm. I'm trying to figure out if this is true, and why I'm resistant to the idea.

1. Does FM12 allow me to provide the necessary topic mapping and IDs? Or does he provide them for me so I can output a complete .chm? (I don't really know how it works.)

2. I write all the content and we do face-to-face review. What are the needs/benefits around him having a license? (Considering the cost, I just can't imagine what he would use FM for on a regular basis.)

3. Would it accelerate my learning curve to have a developer on my side? I worry a little about him taking over control of how the docs should be built and how FM should be used.
FWIW, we are moving to Team Foundation for version control.
Use small words and short sentences, please - this stuff is pretty new to me in my world of mechanical marvels.
Many thanks,
Michele



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