Re: Producing Books

Subject: Re: Producing Books
From: "Thiessen, Christopher E" <Christopher -dot- E -dot- Thiessen -at- CERIDIAN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 16:20:09 -0500

Earlier, Stephen Martin (smartin -at- storm -dot- ca) adroitly retorted:

>Christopher responded to the effect that Word was just spiffy keen, and
>all those people whining about it were just trying to blame Word for
>thier own shortcomings.

I don't recall having used the phrase "spiffy keen," but to clarify:
got the tool you've got. If you have Frame, use it. If you have Word,
use it. Both are merely tools, and the allusion to carpentry was not

Typically the company for which you work makes that tool decision for
you (unless you've got Arlen's force of personality and persuasive
talents - congrats, there!), and you just have to get along with it. If
have sufficient skill, you can accomplish miracles (and quality) with
almost anything. If the company for which you're working (as a
or as an FTE) doesn't satisfy your professional tool requirements, you
can either build a business case for an alternative tool (which we're
at the company for which I work) or go somewhere else.

Oh - for reference, my candidate for best doc composition tool of all
was IBM's DCF/GML (aka "Script"). Learning curve was 2 months, and
like early HTML coding you had to be able to visualize (no WYSIWYG)
what you wanted to do. But once you conquered that tool, you were
limited only by what you could imagine. A lot of people I trained whined
about that, too.

But lest this degenerate into a "yeah, well, when I was writing we
had only clay and sticks, and we had to fight crocodiles for the
clay" verbal contest, I will concede: If you prefer
a particular tool, seek employment where that tool is in use. If you
have the opportunity to select a tool, understand that the tool's
current pre-eminence or popularity is transient. Skill and flexibility
are, in my limited experience, far more useful. Ask any APL

Chris Thiessen
christopher -dot- e -dot- thiessen -at- ceridian -dot- com
"if you chum enough, they will come"

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