Re: Making a pitch to switch from Word to FrameMaker

Subject: Re: Making a pitch to switch from Word to FrameMaker
From: "M. Dannenberg" <midannen -at- SI -dot- BOSCH -dot- DE>
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 09:17:35 +0200

Harrison Brace schrieb:

> Next week we're making a pitch for out company to switch from WinWord
> 97 to
> FrameMaker 5.5. The other tech writer and I (who is not on this list,
> but
> is cc'd on this e-mail) very much want to make the switch, as Word has
> proven to be quite a burden and a real productivity killer. I've spent
> who
> knows how much time dealing with document corruption, formatting that
> mysteriously changes, bad TOC's, bad graphics, and numerous numbering
> problems.

There you go. Just give them an estimate of how much time you've spent
trying to get Word to work. You won't even have to put a dollar figure
on that, they'll do the conversion automatically on their own. One thing
I can say after two years of using Frame - it reduces this kind of
wasted time to zero. Frame simply works and your document looks the way
you want it to without a fight.

> I was wondering if any of you out there could give us any advice and
> perhaps suggest some Internet resources for information.
> Management appears to be divided on the issue. At least one manager
> wants
> to switch to Frame, but we may face heavy opposition from others. We
> need
> to be ready to counter the claims of the people who want to hold onto
> Word.
> When I asked the manager of my group, who used to work for HP, about
> adopting Frame, he replied that most tech writers hate Frame and that
> it
> was a hangover from the days of UNIX. Most writers at HP, he claimed,
> would
> gladly dump Frame for Word if they could.

Yo. And Vaxes are the only kind of real computers and GUIs are for
sissies. Maybe its time this gentleman woke up to the nineties. If you
dig out some of the Frame/Word threads that have been running on this
list in recent years, you'll see that people on this list are unanimous
in their preference of Frame. Heck, this may be the only issue everyone
on the list agrees about.

> The other, more serious claim is that they want to stick to commonly
> available tools for documentation. They want to make sure that other
> people, who do not know Frame, may easily access and edit
> documentation.
> They also worry that if they face periods of time without a Tech
> Writer,
> they will not be able to use or edit documentation at all.

This is the one point that has some merit. If you have to widely
distribute documents that have to be editable by everyone, you do have a
problem. On the other hand, if it's just about making simple edits and
only a few people have to do them, well, anybody can open a document in
Frame, edit a few sentences and close it. It has exactly the same Open,
Save, Cut, Copy and Paste commands as any other Windows program.

I've found that anybody who has to work with large, complex documents
prefers Frame. In our company the SMEs write a lot of the documentation
themselves and they were all able to use Frame much more productively
than Word with minimal training. Now everybody's queuing up for a


Mike Dannenberg
midannen -at- si -dot- bosch -dot- de

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