Re: Documentation Group needs advice!

Subject: Re: Documentation Group needs advice!
From: Paul Nagai <paul -at- PANAGA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 1997 11:54:24 -0800

At 09:54 AM 1/3/97 -0800, Linda wrote:
> Just out of curiosity, Marlene, why does your group feel that it
>needs both a Word Processor and a DTP? Frame is a product that is robust
>enough to be both, BTW.

I can't answer for Marlene, but I have found that many Frame based writing
groups will use Word (even if reluctantly) for early writing and reviews if
only because more and more reviewing is being done electronically and
(pardon the run on) because SMEs don't know/won't buy Frame.

While Frame is robust enough to do both WP and DTP (foregoing the argument
that Frame is really a TDP ... Technical Documentation Publisher :), there
may be many in a group who do not require upper-end Frame skills, and just
need to write. I'd hazard a guess that more people know Word than Frame, so
why train them if they don't need it?

Also, source material SMEs submit may frequently be in Word, ASCII, or some
other format. Frame (Windows Frame) does not easily import ASCII and apply
formatting. Neither does it import Word documents very well unless a
special Word template has been created and distributed to SMEs who then USE
it. A skilled Word Basic macro writer can often apply huge amounts of
formatting without much hands on work ... can't do that in WinFrame without
"real" programming (C++ and the FDK).

So, I think there are many reasons to use Frame and Word in a writing group
... it isn't a perfect solution without problems, however. Great care must
be taken to ensure that conversion expectations are realistic, etc.

By the way, Marlene, I hope someone has said that PageMaker sounds like the
WRONG way to go ... the volume of documents and pages you describe will not
be well handled in PageMaker. FrameMaker (or some other high-end, technical
publishing tool ... Interleaf, Ventura, etc.) is really the tool you want.
FrameMaker, I think, is the best choice. Which, of course, doesn't mean
that it is without it's own problems. You may want to read comp.text.frame
and/or subscribe to framers, a mailing list dedicated to Frame software.
Paul Nagai: paul -at- panaga -dot- com

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