Which DTP to use?

Subject: Which DTP to use?
From: Geoffrey Hart <Geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 15:05:35 -0500

Earline Gilley <<...is I am now responsible for creating manuals for
the software I develop... I am terribly confused by all of the desktop
publishing software on the market... My biggest concern is this:
my boss could want paper manuals one day, and the next day he
will ask me where the online version is.>>

PageMaker, Quark, and Frame can all do what you want, but
short of an SGML publishing solution, you're not going to be
able to single-source most types of documentation so that it
works equally well on paper and online at the click of a
button. Even with SGML, there's probably going to be some
tweaking required if you've got a complex, graphically
elaborate design. Mark Baker is one of our resident wizards
in that area, so I'll leave him to provide details.

PageMaker and Frame offer the most elegant solution if
you're willing to print to PDF format, because Adobe has
worked fairly hard to integrate them with Acrobat. But a
document designed for paper probably won't match the
computer screen well enough for the PDF version to work
well online. Frame offers far superior export to HTML, and
there are companion products that make it even better. Quark
has a companion product (QuarkImmedia?) that's received
good reviews and that lets you use Quark to generate Web
pages, but I have no firsthand experience with the product.

But again, let me reiterate: design that works well on paper
rarely transfers well to the online medium. No matter what
product you choose, you'll still have to do some revision of
the output to make it an effective tool in the new medium.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Patience comes to those who wait."--Anon.

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