Advice Request re: Mac Tool for 150-page Manual/Online Help

Subject: Advice Request re: Mac Tool for 150-page Manual/Online Help
From: Gregg Roberts <groberts -at- TPOINT -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996 00:40:27 PDT

Dear Techwhirlers,

I am about to start a techwriting contract with a small software company, documenting a new CASE tool being developed for international distribution. I need to tell them what techwriting tool I want them to buy for the Macintosh that they will be providing for my use. I need to come to a decision early in September.

I used a Mac for five months on another job, but I am much more conversant with the PC world, and I know little about what's available for the Mac. I DO know that I don't want MS-Word; it's just not flexible and powerful enough in a number of ways for a project like this. I would prefer to avoid Frame based on my experience with it on the PC, and I'm afraid the company might balk at its expense, but feel free to recommend it, esp. if you can list ways it is superior to the PC version as well as to its competitors on the Mac. (I would guess its Mac version handles graphics better than the PC version -- please confirm.) Other information:

(1) The project will involve quite a few screen captures but probably few other graphics (maybe some proprietary icons from the program).

(2) Cost should probably be kept below $500.00 if possible, even though on a project like this, clearly, an argument can be made for spending twice that, or even more, if it will ensure better quality or require *significantly* less of my time (I won't enjoy making such an argument but I will if it's there to be made!).

(3) The manual will be broken into several chapters with independent page numbering, but of course there needs to be an index and TOC.

I have watched people use Quark Express and PageMaker a little, and I have the sense they might be suitable, but have not worked with them myself.

What else is there?

What are all their pro's and con's for my purpose?

Is there a better source of reasonably objective information than this list, like a *Consumer Reports* for techwriting tools?

Thanks in advance to all responders!

Gregg Roberts
groberts -at- tpoint -dot- net
Austin, TX USA

Oh closely guided plan
Awaken in our heart
Be honest with yourself
There's no doubt, no doubt

"Awaken," Yes, 1977

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