Re: Software Packages

Subject: Re: Software Packages
From: Chris Dorsey <CHRIS -at- ASLAN -dot- ND -dot- CO -dot- NZ>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 1994 16:07:54 +1100

Anne Stankis <anne -at- MCCABE -dot- COM> writes:

> My company is going to switch from PageMaker Desktop Pub. to another software
> package. Some suggestions have been Word 6.0, FrameMaker, and Interleaf.

> Does anyone have any opinions on the above suggestions, especially with regard
> to importing graphics (EPS, TIFF, BMP), use in creating Help files, use with
> large documents (100 pages or more), indexing, TOC, importation of PageMaker
> files, general ease of use, and learning curve.

I am in the process of doing exactly that with a large 1000p manual
prepared in PageMaker. I am converting it to Word for Windows because
I have an app called DOC-2-Help for converting manual to Windows Help
files. DOC-2-Help is an add-on to Word for Windows.

The product to which the manuals refer is under continual development
and so the manuals must change regularly, hence our plan to make
WinHelp files the main documentation, with hardcopy as an optional

Personally I like PageMaker because of the "hands-on" feel of being
able to place an object (text, figure, etc) anywhere on the page
using the mouse, i.e. I like the pasteboard paradigm.

Word for Windows is still, in my opinion, a word processor not a DTP
package. I like the built-in table editor, Wordbasic macro language,
the automatic captions and cross-references. Master documents are not
as good as the publicity claims - in particular I find them very slow
to load, many tasks result in a repagination of the whole document,
and occassionally scrolling slows to a crawl.

As to graphics, the original manual was printed at 600dpi on a
postscript printer. The graphics were EPS files exported from Aldus
Freehand or a home-grown application. I am using WMF files with Word
because the primary target is a WinHelp file which only supports
bitmaps. When the WMF is printed to the 600dpi printer the resolution
is poor compared to the EPS version, which is hardly surprising.

Chris Dorsey Telephone: +64-3-343-0803
Technical Writer Facsimile: +64-3-343-0804
Network Dynamics Limited Email: dorseyc -at- aslan -dot- nd -dot- co -dot- nz
97-99 Riccarton Road
PO Box 8225
Christchurch, New Zealand

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