FW: object-oriented documentation

Subject: FW: object-oriented documentation
From: Tom Johnson <johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com>
To: "Techwr-l (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 07:06:37 -0500


Elna Tymes hits the nail on the head by recommending FrameMaker. We use it
precisely the way she described for our documentation. Our situation is
much like yours where we provide different components for different
customers. With Frame, you won't go wrong.

David Castro mentioned Canterbury which might be very good. If I remember
correctly, the cost is considerably more than Frame, but the extra
"granularity" could be well worth the price.

There is a third alternative that may work for you. I've been playing
around with AuthorIt. I downloaded the demo version, but haven't had time
to really give it a thorough testing. AuthorIt is based on the object
model, down to topic level (Heading + following paragraphs being one
topic). It doesn't go down to the word level, but you could take it down to
the single paragraph level. In some ways it looks promising, but in some
ways there are limitations.

Major drawbacks I've noticed so far.
- Requires Microsoft Word as a backbone for printed docs. Basically it
prepares a Word file that pours into your Word template.

- Graphics are difficult to work with.

- I had trouble trying to generate a Windows .hlp file. That's because my
help compiler is older and I haven't taken the time to locate a newer

In spite of the drawbacks, I'm considering buying it for my personal use.
My question for the group is: has anyone used AuthorIt for a "real"
project? Has anyone bought the full version and felt it is worthwhile?

The demo version is available at:
* Download a free trial -
http://www.author-it.com/download -dot- mv?johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com -dot-
* Read comments from other users - http://www.author-it.com/comments.mv.

I've checked the comments, but I'd like to hear directly from anyone who is
using AuthorIt. I would have to agree with a general sentiment that their
tech support is very helpful.

Thank you very much.

Tom Johnson
Marketing Coordinator/Technical Writer
Elk Rapids Engineering Div., Star Cutter Company

johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com - work
thomasj -at- freeway -dot- net - personal

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