TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Why Frame not Word? From:Ellen Adams <ellena -at- TOLSTOY -dot- SC -dot- TI -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 12 Jan 1995 18:13:54 CST
mikel -at- HUEY -dot- ACCUGRAPH -dot- COM noted:
> Upper management in my company is exerting pressure for
> the documentation people to jump on the Word bandwagon
> and abandon our dearly beloved FrameMaker. I'm now
> in the process of drafting a report on the advantages
> of Frame and the disadvantages of Word.
You can't help but wonder at management's motivation for
urging this change. My bet is your management has become
enamored of Word. Perhaps they've all been to one of
Microsoft's Word education classes?
Maybe their reasons are entirely unselfish: they just
want to help. Perhaps using Word would allow them
to be able to contribute more to the documentation process.
Whatever the situation, a certain amount of tact and
decorum is in order.
As you prepare your little treatise, you may find it
helpful to insert a bit of history: Word was created as a
word processing program, and FrameMaker was designed first
and foremost to do page layout.
Both Frame and Microsoft have tried to appease customers
by extending each programs' capabilities. The word
processors wanted some layout tools, and the designers
wanted some word-wrangling features.
Now you have the monster that is MS Word 6, and an
equally ungainly Framemaker: two programs that are trying
to be the be-all, end-all to all folks.
It's sad, really, because in their respective niches--
Layout (Frame) and WP (Word)--they were tops.
I agree with Glen Accardo:
<<if you compare feature to feature, both do pretty much
the same stuff.>>
But what you should stress in your report is *your*
particular application of the software. What do you
use FrameMaker for? Word Processing? Layout? See
if you can tactfully explain that your demands go
far beyond the typical inter-office memo.
My advice is to indicate to your management that you
would love to use Word, if you can also continue to
Emphasize the training time that conversion to an entirely
new system would require.
I personally would never produce a book-length manual using
MS Word. It lacks in pagination and type-handling capability.
And MS Word 6--well, you could get into a menu nest
and get lost forever.... But it's a peach when it comes
to the spell check and short stuff. Frame is the most
versatile layout tool I've used--especially for lengthy,
technical documents. But I'm preaching to the converted.
ellena -at- tolstoy -dot- sc -dot- ti -dot- com