My take on Word vs. FrameMaker

Subject: My take on Word vs. FrameMaker
From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1996 10:06:01 -0600

Not to brag, but I'm something of a "guru" in both applications. I've
been brought in to consult with pub groups moving to/from both apps, and
all I can say is this:

1) If you're doing short, relatively uncomplicated documents, Word is
fine. The best feature, IMO, is macros. I occasionally have to convert
HTML source dox to Word or Frame - and I wrote a Word macro that does
it, almost perfectly, with a single button click. That's nice.

2) If you have to do industrial-strength books, Frame has no peer. Yes,
you ***can*** do long books in Word - but the workarounds are difficult
and, worse, inconsistent among writers, and they're frequently not very
stable. True story - I once did a 750-page design guide in Word. I
spent, literally, 2/3 of my billable hours wrestling with Word. I
explained to my client that the time I spent fighting with Word would
have bought several copies of Frame - and all I'd wanted was one! (That
shop switched to Frame shortly thereafter)

3) Frame is to Word as Sybase is to Access. To run Oracle or Frame, you
need to make a substantial investment, climb a stiff learning curve, and
make sure you really needed it in the first place. If you don't need
that kind of power, don't buy it. Frame ***does*** have a steep
learning curve -

4) Vive le difference! We routinely write rough drafts and take
submissions in Word, and convert to Frame (and then HTML, via WebWorks),
and then, as needed, convert back to Word (via RTF). No problem. Each
has strengths and weaknesses.

5) For managing big, crossplatform, crossmedia projects (and I've done a
lot of them), Word's not fit to carry Frame's CD case. For example - no
Word->HTML tool comes close to WebWorks for power, efficiency or ease of
use. IMHO, of course, but I've used most of them.

Two observations:
1) In my personal experience only (please, no flames - I'm talking about
people I've met), the people who prefer Word to Frame
a) don't do huge documents
b) don't have to maintain them over time
c) frequently don't use styles/tags to format text (if you
don't do this on Frame, you're sunk).

2) At contract after contract, I've managed to dazzle the bejeebers out
of career Word users with Frame's capability. I've created so many
Frame converts (after leading them up the learning curve), Adobe should
send me money!

Mitch Berg
mberg -at- is -dot- com

Mitch Berg
mberg -at- is -dot- com

"The average American has the attention span of a ferret on double
-- Dennis Miller

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