We use both and having been involved with standing up both Frame and
Arbortext processes, Steve's impressions are (in my opinion) reasonably
We run both systems (20+ writers and developers) because two of our
customers require it (we are tech manual vendors to a couple of big
clients.) But note that they (the big customers) do the real
'heavy-lifting', in that, they developed and manage all of the schemas, dtds
and templates, then provide them to vendors like us (there are several). We
produce and deliver the books to them.
But, even with the templates and schemas provided - running Arbortext still
costs substantially more, in terms of both actual software costs and
staffing 'know how' to build books with it. No offense folks, but you can
still find and train more Frame folks faster (and cheaper) than Arbortext
Arbortext seems stronger for 'industrial strength' operations (large numbers
of big complex books, database content repositories, multiple delivery
requirements - XML, SGML, HTML, custom hard copy).
Having been through the start up of both capabilities - unless you have huge
requirements with a serious long-term view from management, the Frame
process still provides robust capabilities to manage fairly substantive
technical manual development / delivery with much lower costs.
The only other caveats that I would add from my experience is that we are
not currently running a database content repository for the Frame customer,
while we are for the Arbortext folks. The other issue would be the cost and
complexity of building / modifying the templates, schemas or DTDs you intend
Hope this helped.
On 4/26/07, Steve Rickaby <srickaby at wordmongers.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> At 20:17 -0400 25/4/07, Diane Gaskill wrote:
> >Hello Frameratti,
> I like that... but shouldn't it be 'Framerati'? You might be thinking of
> 'Frameretti', i.e. little Framers ;-)
> >Remember the old days when we had debates and comparisons between the
> dreaded Word and Frame? Well, now it seems that the new competitor is
> Arbortext. I had my manager convinced to switch from Word to FM, even got
> the ok to build the templates (done), when along comes a VP in one of our
> offshore offices who thinks using Arbortext is better and convinces my
> manager to have us look at it too.
> I know only what I have read on this list, although it's a subject I keep
> an eye on. My suggestion would be to carefully calculate total cost of
> ownership of both options. From what I've heard, almost everything is a
> mega-cost-plus option in Arbortext. Someone who'd set up their own system at
> their own expenses a couple of years ago was posting here, and I got the
> impression that although you can get up and running with Epic at around the
> same cost as FrameMaker, just to *print* anything, for example, was a few
> thousand dollars more.
> These tools seem to be priced for major corporates, not for single writers
> or small authoring teams.
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