Software comparisons

Subject: Software comparisons
From: Tara Barber <tara -at- BARBER -dot- CTEXT -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 1995 18:37:55 EST

First, if this topic is an old one, my apologies; I'm new here.

I'm interested in people's opinions on the relative merits of Microsoft Word
6.0 vs. FrameMaker vs. Ami Pro vs. something called "Word Pro" for the
production of manuals.

Our department currently does all manuals in MW 6.0. Despite some drawbacks,
it does what we need it to do, and allows us to push the line between straight
word-processor and desktop publisher, so that (so far) we've not needed a DP.
Our principal problems with Word have been due (we think) to the fact that
we're operating on an OS/2 platform, and have to run Word in a WIN-OS/2 window.
(Given some of the interactions between the two, strange problems are not
surprizing, IMHO.) An additional advantage is that we all know it.

But my boss, (who's opinion of anything Microsoft is better left unexplored,)
would like me to start investigating other packages. Which isn't a bad
idea, generally; there's always a better way out there. I've seen a demo
of Frame, and was moderately impressed. But I'm too old a hand at this not to
know that the gap between a demo and actually using something can be vast.
I've never used Ami Pro, and I'm not even sure what Word Pro IS.

Our needs are pretty basic. We use side-by-side headings and text, TOC, Index,
imported screen-captures, bookmarks, cross-references, picture captions, some
automatic field codes, formatting and styles, some section breaks (although
they can really screw you up if you're not careful,) and never, NEVER touch
Word's master document feature! ("I'll break the thumbs of any of you who even
TRY it," quoth I.) Since the screen-captures tend to make our file size
large, each chapter is its own file.

So what say you, folks? What have your expeiences been with these animals? I
intend to get trial disks and give them a whirl myself, but I'm always
interested in opinions from the battleground. Please feel welcome to reply to
me privately at <tara -at- barber -dot- ctext -dot- com>, or we can thread this and see what
falls from the tree. Your choice.

Tara Barber
Documentation Manager
CText, Inc.

Since my opinions belong to me, anyone stealing them deserves what they get.

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