Re: Any FrameMaker & Ventura Experts?

Subject: Re: Any FrameMaker & Ventura Experts?
From: Bob Armao <bob -at- BRS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1993 15:09:41 EDT

> We're currently in the process of deciding whether or not to switch from
> Ventura Publisher to FrameMaker. Thus, we're looking for some expert users of
> FrameMaker who might be willing to answer some questions and offer some
> to help us in our decision. Specifically, we're looking for users who are
> familiar with both VP and FrameMaker and could perhaps do a comparison of the
> two programs.

> Our documentation set includes several software manuals, about 1,000 pages in
> total. We use lots of tables and graphics (screen snaps), even snaps inserted
> within tables. We are considering on-line documentation in the near future.
> Thus, we are looking for a DTP program that can easily accommodate these
> requirements.

> In particular, here are some of the questions that we have:

... details omitted for brevity

> Irene Plokar
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------

Well I was about to post a very similar request. We are currently
using Ventura but I am considering migrating to FrameMaker in the
future. The conditional text feature is particularly interesting
to me. Has anyone used this effectively? I also like what I have
seen of the Frame interface.

Irene mentioned the possibility of doing online documentation in the
future. We do this and also provide our manuals as searchable databases
(using our own text retrieval software). Native Ventura file
attributes acutally make this quite easy to accomplish. A Ventura tag
always appears at the beginning of the line and looks something like:
@TEXT = (with spaces before and after the = sign. This is not too
difficult to process into a field "input label" which our database
loading module recognizes. Our field input labels must also occur
at the beginning of a line so this is a relatively easy search and
replace operation.

We also translate Ventura cross references to strings of characters
that our database will treat as hypertext links. This all works
very nicely. So the Ventura text file can be processed rather easily
and become the document input file for our database. The details
are somewhat more complex but this is the big picture.

My additional question is, will FrameMaker file format lend itself
to this type of easy text processing and manipulation? Or would
the nature of FrameMaker files dictate another strategy?

Are people using Frame for Windows or on a UNIX platform? I could
go either way if one is preferable to the other.

Anyway, I too would appreciate hearing from people who have (or who
have seriously considered) making a Ventura to FrameMaker migration.
I think Irene asked for personal mail responses but I wouldn't mind
seeing this followed up for general discussion. Whatever.

Bob Armao
Manager, Software Documentation
BRS Software Products
5 Computer Drive South
Albany, NY 12205
bob -at- brs -dot- com
(518) 446-0490

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