Re: FrameBuilder

Subject: Re: FrameBuilder
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 12:12:15 EDT

Caryn Rizell asks:

>>Has anyone out there used FrameBuilder to do SGML docs? If so, I would
>>appreciate any comments you have on it. Did you like it? Was it easy to
>> use, etc.

My few experiences with FrameBuilder were not so good. The interface was great,
but to get SGML back out of it, your organization had to invest in another
product called the SGML Toolkit. It was only available on UNIX, cost a bundle,
and didn't necessairily guarantee that the SGML was going to be anything that
you would want to take home to your mother.

Yesterday, at the SGML Open/SGML Forum of NY's all-day seminar, I saw
FrameMaker+SGML, the next generation of Frame SGML tool. It appears, from what
I have seen, that Frame took their the beatings they endured on the open market
back to the lab and applied them for good instead of evil. The product
addressed many of the shortcomings that FB had -- it *will,* for example,
export SGML directly -- while keeping what was best about it, namely, the
interface for the writer. One of the nicest features that I especially like is
that data can be *displayed* as a table without being *described* as a table.
For example, if I have a procedure that is stored as a series of steps, I can
store it as a procedure (which is what I really want to do) but get it into a
table display without having to put it inside of a CALS table or do some other
ugly kludge like that (which is *not* what I want to do).

From the writer's point of view -- especially writers with Frame experience --
the interface is really good. A hierarchy box shows a structural view of the
document, even as you look at a WYSIWYG display in the main view. (We won't get
into the debate about what WYSI means in a presentation-neutral environment!!!)
A significant advantage to the writer is that you can ignore the legal
structure if you want to. The structure view will show the element hanging in
the tree with a dotted, instead of a solid, line, so it is clear that this is
invalid structurally. But if you absolutely *insist* on sticking a para-title
in the middle of a para, it will let you do that. How you work that out with
everybody later on is a procedural question. I'm not certainly whether F+SGML
will export the file at that point or not. Didn't think to ask.

Anyway, I hope this helps you out.

Best regards,


Chet Ensign
Logical Design Solutions
571 Central Avenue
Murray Hill, NJ 07974 censign -at- lds -dot- com [email]
908-771-9221 [Phone] 908-771-0430 [FAX]

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