Re: Why Frame not Word?

Subject: Re: Why Frame not Word?
From: Ray Bruman <rbruman -at- RND -dot- RAYNET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 14:12:12 PST

Michael LaTorra <mikel -at- HUEY -dot- ACCUGRAPH -dot- COM> writes:
> If you have any personal experience with Frame and Word,
> I would appreciate hearing your arguments for one over
> the other. You may post them to the list or send them to
> me and I will summarize them in due course.


Thank you! Many of us will benefit from this collected experience.
Unlike most product reviews and comparisons, this group can
assemble a lot of real-life experience with these two contenders.
A point-by-point comparison really deserves to be in the FAQ
for comp.text.frame along with the other good advice.

My department (Macintosh-based) needs to suppy machine-readable
copies of our documentation to certain clients who would not
accept Frame documents, but would accept Word documents, to begin
an arduous process of conversion to WordPerfect under MS-DOS.

This was used as a rationale (rationalization, I think) for
converting (degrading) all our documents to Word. It's like taking
the engine out of a Land Rover and converting it to an oxcart.
In our case, we spent months of time and many tens of thousands of
dollars tearing book files into scores of separate files, re-doing
TOC tags, giving up on indexes, manually editing pagination
footers, and generally rendering documents less manageable.

Frame requires some real learning, because the basic concepts are
not at all obvious. This makes it a hard sell to manager-types,
who can always stumble on in Word. Word lends itself to terrible
abuse by the clueless. Most of us could probably recount stories
of hideous Word documents with hundreds of paragraph styles, most
of them inherited from old defunct document Style Sheets, none of
which are used consistently, all of which are over-ridden with
character formats. (Unfortunately, Frame has chosen to move toward
that style of user interface too!)

I really think we abandoned Frame because our (now departed)
manager didn't have the patience or intelligence to deal with it.
Frame is the better choice by far for complex technical documents.
Unfortunately, its own weak points prevent it from being an obvious,
unquestioned winner, hence your own dilemma, like many of ours.
As Winston Churchill said about democracy, "It's the worst system,
except for all the others."

Anyone who thinks that the best product will eventually emerge as
the triumphant choice probably hasn't been around the software
industry very long. Like most companies, Frame has been its own
worst enemy. If Frame is the clear winner over Word, you have to
wonder why Frame's marketing didn't convince you of that.

If you truly have a voice in your department's
tool of choice, consider yourself fortunate.

Ray Bruman In this establishment,
Raynet Corp. we DO NOT DISCUSS
rbruman -at- raynet -dot- com race, religion, politics,
415-688-2325 or nutrition.


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