Re: Interleaf vs. FrameMaker (#194353)

Subject: Re: Interleaf vs. FrameMaker (#194353)
From: wburns -at- MICRON -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 08:07:25 MDT

I would respond directly on this posting, but I'm getting
short headers (even though my listserv settings aren't
configured for them). *It would be RILLY nice if folks would
out their e-mail address in their signature line.* (No offense
intended, Nikki.)

Nikki asks:

>How well do Interleaf files transfer into FrameMaker?
>How difficult is it to create tables in FrameMaker?
>Does FrameMaker import graphics well?
>Can we use Excel charts in FrameMaker? If not, what software works well?
>Is FrameMaker easy to learn?
>Are there any FrameMaker trainers near Sacramento, CA?

I'll answer the four that deal only with FrameMaker.

1. How difficult is it to create tables in FrameMaker?

I don't find it particularly difficult to create tables in FrameMaker, although
the only other program I have to compare it to is Word 6.0-7.0. I find editing
tables easier in Frame than in Word since the latter treats cells as if they
were run-in paragraphs. Word's table editor is more flexible, but it can cause
some headaches because it allows you to customize a table into elaborate
layouts. Frame's is very straightforward. It allows you to create rows and
columns, apply styles, modify shading and ruling, straddle cells, and what not.
It will not allow you to modify a single cell's size without affecting the rest
of the column or row. If you want to get creative with paragraph layouts, Frame
provides options other than tables.

2. Does FrameMaker import graphics well?

Sometimes. I'm currently having problems filtering gifs into Frame. (Yeah, I
know tifs look better, but I'm trying to economize on server space, and we're
already using the images in our HTML files. The resolution requirements aren't
stringent.) Frame is a bit picky with imported graphics, and it sometimes
displays gray boxes instead of images. The images print, but you might find the
inability to see them onscreen disconcerting (obvious problems, however, if
you're distributing these online). Sometimes you just have to massage your file
size and format to get it to work. I'm sure others have better workarounds to
suggest.

3. Can we use Excel charts in FrameMaker? If not, what software works well?

Yes, you can embed Excel charts in FrameMaker. I've done it, but I'm not really
familiar with this feature. I've also embedded Visio charts, Word, and image
files into Frame.

4. Is FrameMaker easy to learn?

I found the basic features of Frame easy to learn. I came from using PageMaker
4.2 on a Mac Classic (I can hear some folks choking out there) to using Frame
4.0 in Windows. It does not use typographic terminology (which torques some
experienced DTP folks), but its formatting features are usually pretty simple
(unlike Word's, which seems to have employed some bizarre logic to their hanging
indentation feature--I just use the horizontal rule to set them now). Frame's
more advanced features take some exploration. You can get a good start by just
following the tutorial.

I don't get to use FrameMaker much anymore since we've gone to an online system
based in HTML. I'm trying to get people here interested in SGML (which would
make FrameMaker + SGML 5.1.1 a likely candidate for use).

Bill Burns
Assembly Documentation Supervisor
wburns -at- micron -dot- com
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