Re: Software

Subject: Re: Software
From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 11:30:42 -0600

Didn't we just finish the DTP war two weeks ago?

Jay Dougherty wrote:

> I'd appreciate any opinions. What's the best Windows (95) software for
> producing long technical documents with lots of footnotes, equations, and
> tables?

In my humble but considered opinion, there are three options:
1. FrameMaker
2. FrameMaker
3. FrameMaker

(Don't flame me, Interleaf zealots - since he's on W95, he probably
can't run ILeaf anyway)

You can produce the dox you want in many other platforms, but...
* in Word, you have to do so many clunky workarounds that maintenance is
a nightmare. If you want to have running headings that change with
chapter, for example, getting the "Section Breaks" to behave is enough
drive you to drink, esp. if multiple writers are involved.
Don't make me laugh.
* PageMaker and Quark are designed for shorter, graphically-flashy
I had a manager who swore by PageMaker for long dox - even after I
laid out a
150-page manual in Frame in two hours, which took her two days in
And again, if Equations are a showstopper, Frame does it, PM (AFAIK)
* WordPerfect? I'm told it's better than Word. I'm also told it gives
a fatal disease. Why bother - Frame works better.
* WordPro is a neat WP for short dox. You'll die a horrible, screaming
death if you
have to go over fifty pages or so. Don't go there.
* MS Publisher? Stop it, you're killing me...

Frame has a learning curve, and you have to DESIGN your templates,
especially with an eye toward reusability - cranking out templates on
the fly will not do. But it pays major dividends in the long run,
especially if you adopt it with an aim toward standardizing your entire
doc set. It takes a little time and money up front, which you'll more
than recoup later.

Email me if you have questions. (BTW, I'm not a paid spokesman for

Mitch Berg

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