Re: FrameMaker Discrepancy

Subject: Re: FrameMaker Discrepancy
From: Nicholas Russon <nrusson -at- LAVASYS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1996 10:11:54 -0500

Win Day wrote:
>I'm currently living in Mississauga, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. I lived
>and worked in Calgary, Alberta until August 94. Neither location is a
>hotbed of Frame usage.

I'm also working in Mississauga, and I agree with Win's characterization
of the suburb as not being "a hotbed". I'm using FrameMaker+SGML
and my previous employer (also in Mississauga) used the precursor
to FM+SGML, FrameBuilder.

I've used the following packages over the years:

- Microsoft Word (v. 2.0 on the Mac)
- Microsoft Word (versions 5.0 through 7.0 on PCs)
- Ventura Publisher (v. 2)
- Pagemaker (v. 2.0 on the Mac)
- WordPerfect (v. 5.1 through 6.1 on PCs)
- Lotus Manuscript (PC...can't recall a version)
- Describe (recently deceased)
- vi and troff (UNIX)

I have to agree with several other posters on the list: Frame is the
package I've ever used for software documentation. PM was better for
newsletter/brochure style publications, VP had some strengths, but
since I've spent most of the last ten years doing book-length technical
documents, Frame is my tool of choice.

When I started work here at LAVA Systems, I inherited four books done
using Microsoft Word master documents...I couldn't wait to get that
first release out the door and begin converting to FrameMaker! Every
time I needed to make just a small change, I never could predict how
long it would take to fix all the other things that would break. Word is
good for memos, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone doing much
more complex work than that.

Frame isn't perfect: no software package could possibly be all things to
all tech writers. For what I need to do, it isn't just the best's
the only choice! (Okay, maybe it's just the best choice! ;-)


Nicholas Russon
nrusson -at- lavasys -dot- com (work) nrusson -at- io -dot- org (home)

It is impossible to imagine the universe run by a wise, just, and
omnipotent God, but it is quite easy to imagine it run by a board of
gods. If such a board actually exists it operates precisely like the
board of a corporation that is losing money. (H.L. Mencken)

>A possible cause of the discrepancy might be the final use of, and
>production methods for, our documents. How many of us create documents
>either for internal use or for single-copy issue to one client? That's what
>I do. My reports and manuals are either aimed directly at my clients' own
>employees, or are issued one, maybe two copies at a time to their clients.
>None of my stuff is mass-produced for outside audiences.

>I produce large, complex, highly technical documents for a very small
>audience. We don't need Frame; Word can handle our needs just fine, thank
>you very much.

>Win Day
>Technical Writer/Editor
>Email: winday -at- idirect -dot- com

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