Re: Master Documents, Slave Writers

Subject: Re: Master Documents, Slave Writers
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 16:30:00 EST

At 10:56 PM 7/23/96 PDT, you wrote:

>Now here's my question for the rest of you: I'd like to know HOW they
>overcame the problem with macros. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a WordBasic
>programming wiz myself, but I'm only one person in my organization,
>and there are only 24 hours of the day, not all of which are suitable
>for working. I have to fill most of the waking hours with work that
>generates immediate income. If someone can think of the CONCEPT behind
>such a system of macros, that in itself could be the start of something.
>I just don't have the time to sit down and construct a plan of action
>for something that is a behind-the-scenes act at best. There MUST be
>a way, unless these blowhards were just blowing hard. Their company is
>regarded as very successful, although the technical writers usually
>end up leaving in tears; you tell me who's kidding whom!

And people question why we champion FrameMaker.

Don't take the arrogant folks' statements as gospel. I'd be tempted to say
"Bull!" No cross-document macros work flawlessly in Word, and I think they
were taking you for a ride every bit as much as you think Bill Gates is.
There are several ways that it could be approached, but they're all kludgy
and hard to ensure quality with. I'd hazard a guess that the time spent
fighting through the macros is more than the time it would take to upgrade
to a real long-doc package.

However, if you're serious about climbing this mountain, consider using
field codes. That's how Doc-to-Help does its thing, without any recourse to
Master Doc. D2H uses Include fields, and you can use the same approach by
establishing a central TOC document with nothing but Include fields, and
running a macro that steps through, opening the various documents in order
and updating their cross-X's. But I stress that it's like washing your feet
with your socks still on.

Gates, by the way, has never claimed that Word's Master Document feature is
power incarnate. It isn't, and Microsoft knows it. It's not intended to
replace real power like that within Frame.

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
FrameMaker support ForeHelp support

Makers of DuoFrame, giving you online help and paper
documentation from a single parent FrameMaker document.

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