Re: Documentation Group needs advice!

Subject: Re: Documentation Group needs advice!
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 1997 14:23:38 -0600

>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?


>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.


I'd also like to comment that if you are planning to produce on-line
documentation (HTML, WinHelp, and so forth), you need to take built-in
WP functionality and add-ons to the WP into consideration. I can't
speak for Frame, but there are plenty of documentation-to-help
conversion/single-source tools available for Word.

With (it's probably a fair guess) WinHelp the most common PC help
format, it makes sense to use the same vendor (or 3rd parties adding
onto the vendor's SW) for the on-line source files and compiler as the
software to which the on-line document interfaces. I've not seen
anything to the effect of a FrameHelp on the market(nor an operating
system made by Frame) ;^) If your company is a software firm and
produces MS-compatible software and your document is to link (especially
using contact-sensitivity) with the SW, you may want to consider MS Word
as the document source.

Being that PC architecture and operating systems evolve, you may also
want to take possible upcoming changes to the basic computer platform
and which vendor(s) is in the driver's seat (and which would be in the
position of playing catch-up to these changes), into consideration.

Mike Wing

| Michael Wing
| Principal Technical Writer
| Infrastructure Technical Information Development
| Intergraph Corporation
| Huntsville, Alabama
| (205) 730-7250
| mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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