Popularity of Framemaker

Subject: Popularity of Framemaker
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 1996 15:13:36 +0800

Kathy Fisher <kdfisher -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM> wrote:
> I've been hearing so much about how Framemaker is so widely used in the
> tech pubs community. . . why is it the big ticket in other parts of the
> country?

techwr regulars may already know that I am long-sloppy-kiss in love with
Frame, after an abusive two-year relationship with a painted doxy from
Seattle, who. . . well let's not go into that.

Frame has some zits, but it is very well suited to what I do: longish
(100 - 200 page) multi-chapter software manuals, with screen dumps,
diagrams, generated TOC and index, and numerous cross-references. Word
can handle all these requirements to some extent, but has problems in
all these areas. Word is a very good word-processor but poor at DTP.
Frame is an adequate WP and very good at long-book DTP.

My impression of Pagemaker (based on my extensive ignorance) is that it
is very good at short, design-heavy work, where you want fine control
over layout. You can tweak anything, anywhere. Frame is better at longer
structured documents, where you explicitly don't *want* to be tweaking
individual elements on the page -- you'd like to set up all the form-
atting styles and page layouts in advance, and just pour in the content.

Interleaf is aimed at high-end document preparation -- many writers, many
documents, many versions, many pages (up into the millions). It has
its fans for smaller jobs, too.

Frame is owned by Adobe, which may be a very good or a very bad thing.
The bad thing is that Adobe also owns Pagemaker, and many of us were
concerned that Adobe would quietly cripple Frame or merge it with
Ragemaker. I haven't seen any evidence of this so far. The good thing
is that Adobe is aiming to be the heavyweight standard-setter in all
aspects of document preparation and publishing, and if Frame is a part
of that then we're unlikely to be locked out of any promising technology
in future.

Now back to my darling. . .

Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Pty Ltd Fax: +61 9 328 8616

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