Re: Frame to Word

Subject: Re: Frame to Word
From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -dot- bledsoe -at- CMS-STL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 13:03:21 -0500


don't mean to be jumping in on Alexia, or anyone in particular... just
picked this point in the thread to pop in.

Alexia Prendergast wrote:

> Just wanted to echo Becky -- instead of saying "Geez, you people are
> idiots for wanting to do it that way!"

Uhh... wait a minute. Is Word that bad for all uses? I think some
times there's justification for having both at your disposal... but
using them for different purposes. Long, print based documentation, or
generating PDF with all of the "fancys?" You cannot beat Framemaker
when compared to Word. Doing a simple 15 page document that Marketing,
Engineering Management, Customer Support and perhaps another group of
SME's has to review electronically? I don't think a lot of companies my
size (120 employees) are putting Frame on every desktop: You'd better
do it in Word around here if you want to get it reviewed/approved.

My point here? Both WP's have their purpose. Blanket statements that
moving from one to another without knowing the surrounding circumstances
is not a prudent position in my opinion. Maybe at this particular
company, the management is tired of having to go to only the technical
writer to update the manual/document, etc. because they're the only ones
who know how to use Frame? Perhaps, the budget cannot withstand the
$300+ per seat price tag every time Adobe sends out some bug fixes!
Whatever the case, we can agree that Frame has some strong points that
us tech writers like, and make our jobs easier. However, it could be
said that making a feature sacrifice (Word vs. Frame) for the sake of
corporate consistency might be the way to go.

I'm not a Word Fan, or a Frame fan... but I think that prudence here is
the best course.

> (which, of course, I'm sure none
> of us would be tempted to do ;-), try this:
> 1. Find out exactly why they came up with the idea (sounds like "to
> make
> distributing docs easier")

I think this goes to the root to what I was saying above. Maybe since
Word comes free with virtually every Business PC now, the folks in
Accounting asked your supervisor "Why are we Paying Adobe for a Word
Processor when we get one free with every new PC?"

> 2. Then say something like "I understand you want to use Word instead
> of
> Frame to make distributing docs easier. I think I have a cheaper,
> faster
> alternative -- how does this sound. <State your solution here with
> facts
> to back it up.>"

You do have to cost justify Frame, because it does cost more than Word
off the shelf. This is a fact of business. You can't just say "its
better" and then expect your company to buy it.

> Generally, when I focus on addressing needs rather than showing up a
> solution, I get pretty good results.

one of my former bosses said something that stuck with me: "Don't come
to my desk with a problem, until you've thought about it long enough to
have a potential solution to discuss with me." I try to do that...

As always... YMMV!

Bill Bledsoe
Senior Technical Writer - CMS
Bill -dot- Bledsoe -at- cms-stl -dot- com or intlidox -at- anet-stl -dot- com

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