Word Processing vs. Publishing Software

Subject: Word Processing vs. Publishing Software
From: "David Blyth @second" <dsb -at- ALSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 14:50:09 PST

Hi All;

I've ported WinWord <--> Interleaf (both directions) via RTF. I've
also used FrameMaker. Here's a short summary of what I learned going
Interleaf --> WinWord (recent history).

o You lose ALL your index markers. Or more precisely, the words inside
the index marker are inserted into the text at the point of the marker.
(Exported markers do NOT insert text into the index.)

o You lose all your feathering. RTF assumes that each component
uses the Interleaf Catalog definition, even when you have changed
the definitions locally.

o Tables port fine, but you have to port screen shots and diagrams
separately. This can be very tedious....

o Interleaf --> Winword is a bit faster than the return trip.

For those who may care, here is a short summary of what I learned going
WinWord --> Interleaf (from 1 year ago).

o I lost most of my time with formatting gotchas. Tabs were off,
10pt was ported as 9, the wrong font was ported, and so forth.
I worked out a lot of macros to help. However, most of the
changes could NOT be done globally. Thus, I spent 90% of my time
with the thrill of correcting each problem by hand. Ugh! Gack!

o Creating RTF from different versions of Word caused different
formatting problems. For example...

-- RTF from Word for DOS had margin problems
-- RTF from Word for Windows had font problems
-- RTF from Word for Mac had tab problems and font problems

Choose your poison. Word for Windows --> RTF seemed least bad, but
I was porting from Word for DOS. Thus, my typical port route was...

Word for DOS --> Word for Windows --> RTF --> Interleaf

o Tables port fine, but you have to port screen shots and diagrams
separately.

o Interleaf import filters can NOT be customized, despite docs to
the contrary plus calls to Customer Support. However, my experience
is about 1 year old and Interleaf has since acquired Avalanche - and
better filters. Sigh. Too late for me....

The bottom line on any (well-done) port is...

o Porting takes a lot longer than managers think it does. (Thankfully,
this did not include my own boss.) My port took more than 3 months
for 2,000 pages, not including editing changes. Call it 30 pages
a day. (20 working days/Month x 30 = 600, x 3 Months = 1,800 pages)

So, unless your managers are interested in losing multiple man months, do
NOT port from X to Y without a Really Good Reason.

David (The Man) Blyth
Technical Writer
Alsys (San Diego)
dsb -at- alsys -dot- com

My opinions are not necessarily those of my employer (but they should be).

Blodo Poa Maximus
-----------------

PS. Really Good Reasons include:

o You're stuck with something that is horribly outdated or is no
longer supported.

o Your CEO says that everybody in the company is going to use X.

Both of these conditions applied in my case and the Port Job was
still a Royal Pain in the, ah... neck.


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