Re: Software

Subject: Re: Software
From: Barb Philbrick <burkbrick -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 1996 23:40:05 GMT

In article <199612241712 -dot- MAA15613 -at- smtp2 -dot- erols -dot- com>, Jay Dougherty
<journal -at- erols -dot- com> writes:

>I'd appreciate any opinions. What's the best Windows (95) software for
>producing long technical documents with lots of footnotes, equations, and

Framemaker, Ventura, or Interleaf. Framemaker seems to be increasing in
popularity, partly (I think) because it's the only one that still seems
dynamic - Corel doesn't seem to have done much with Ventura and Interleaf
did a horrible port to Windows 95.

Beyond that issue, it's a matter of preferences. You might want to check
out the Framemaker list and see what the beefs are (there's typically an
item titled "Frame 6 Wish List" hanging around). My beefs are that
equations are more cumbersome and less typographic than Ventura's (for
example, doing something like 7/16 in a line of text is a pain in Frame,
but simple in Ventura), and that I like the way Ventura handles style
sheets better. However, Frame's books are easier to work with than
Ventura's, and it has more capability with lists of tables, figures, and
tables, and Frame's cross-references are wonderfully easy to use.

Interleaf is an expensive beast. Support is appalling (especially if
you're a small firm, as I am). It's $75 a phone call after the first 30 or
so days (or you can sign up for yearly support), and the documentation,
well, it sucks. (As an example, there's a feature called "Expunge" in one
of the menus. There is no explanation in the hard copy or online
documentation, so I called technical support. They told me they weren't
sure what it did either, but to "be careful if I decided to use it.")
However, Interleaf is a powerful program; if you are willing to learn it
well, I think it can be manipulated into doing just about anything you
want. Very steep learning curve, however, and nothing (for me anyway) is
intuitive. As yet another example, there's a cool feature that puts
"continued" in table titles if the table goes past a page, but I have to
painstakingly go through the step-by-step every time I use it, even though
I've tried to remember the procedure.

I haven't used Ventura since version 4.2 (which I've heard was the best
version). Compared to Frame, I liked the way Ventura handled graphics,
figure captions and indexes. Bad stuff: 4.2 didn't allow you to open
multiple documents.

I've used Pagemaker for large documents, but it's a pain. In particular,
tables and cross-referencing is much easier in Frame or Ventura (and even

Hope this helps and doesn't start a war.

Barb Philbrick

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