Re: Pro's and Con's -- FrameMaker vs InDesign

Subject: Re: Pro's and Con's -- FrameMaker vs InDesign
From: John Cook <john -dot- cook -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2010 11:18:51 -0500

InDesign is very powerful and I enjoy using it for graphics-heavy docs, but
for documents which are largely text, there is no substitute for FrameMaker.

I've used InDesign to produce online SF .PDF e-zines. I use FrameMaker for
technical writing and to publish fiction novels (the book feature alone is
worth the price of admission). I wouldn't dream of trying to use InDesign
for serious text-heavy documentation. It does have many of the Frame tools,
but they're set up for layout design rather than actual text manipulation.
Both use Master pages for design work, but Frame gives you a robust set of
keyboard commands while nearly everything in InDesign is mouse-centric. (I
can Bold in Frame with Ctrl+B. That becomes Ctrl+Shift+B in InDesign. I
don't even know of a keyboard shortcut for Italics.)

I /do/ love the ability in InDesign to automatically add as many pages for
imported text as required according to Master page usage, but that was of
greater utility when I was importing existing Word docs into InDesign, while
where we are, we develop everything in Frame natively.

It is possible to do things like Variables and Cross References in InDesign,
but again it is a great deal of manual clicky-clicky stuff.

John Cook
Technical Writer / Help Author
john dot cook at gmail dot com
Overlord at Ray Gun Revival <> magazine

On Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 7:59 AM, Ken Poshedly <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net> wrote:

> Uh-oh!
> The non-English-speaking engineers at my company's home offices in China
> use
> InDesign to produce non-English-language technical manuals for the
> company's
> line of heavy equipment. The company's group translators (all young
> 20-somethings) who have no real tech writing experience simply use Word to
> produce English-language manuals. The layout and accuracy of technical
> matter
> and English is way below par because those kids simply have no access to
> the
> machines nor the technical expertise to explain things correctly nor enough
> English-language comprehension to do a good job. The company just wants
> books
> out on deadline.
> We -- a group of 3 tech writers -- here in the U.S. all come from extensive
> FrameMaker backgrounds (a combined total of 25 years), with technical
> expertise
> and obviously dern guud englsh. What we do is use those other
> "English-language"
> manuals from China (errors and all) to somehow perform miracles and produce
> well-arranged, more accurate and professional tech pubs (operation manuals,
> workshop manuals, parts books).
> I'm now hearing grumbling that the Chinese engineers who already use
> InDesign
> want us in the U.S. to move to InDesign. We are adamant that it's a bad
> move and
> our supervisor here and who knows nothing about this stuff wants solid
> arguements why we should stay with FrameMaker.
> We've compiled a list but I'd like to hear from y'all with your own ideas
> regarding ease of use, co$t, capability -- anything we can use in our
> corner.
> I've already posted this to the Frameusers list and the silence is
> deafening.
> Help anyone?
> -- Ken in metro Atlanta
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Pro's and Con's -- FrameMaker vs InDesign: From: Ken Poshedly

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