Your experience is quite common. Arbortext's sales team is really,
really good. They seem to know how to find the right people in an
organization (not the tech pubs group or even the tech pubs manager) and
sell into the workgroup or enterprise level. On the other hand, Adobe's
FrameMaker sales team is, well...what sales team? On the other hand,
FrameMaker continues to have very strong support within tech pubs
organizations. The outcome of the Arbortext vs. FrameMaker decision is
often decided (rightly or wrongly) by the strength of this grass-roots
There are several layers of issues here. One is the "XML" or "not XML"
decision. If your business requirements warrant a migration to XML, then
Arbortext is an option. Otherwise, it is not. Structured FrameMaker is
another option for XML publishing. But I would make the "XML" or "not
XML" decision first, independent of the tools choice.
Probably the single biggest appeal of structured FrameMaker in an XML
environment is the ability to generate PDFs from the desktop, using a
(relatively) simple mechanism for defining publishing templates. One can
argue whether a FrameMaker EDD is "simple", but I prefer it over the XML
alternative (XSL-FO) in the majority of cases, especially if PDF is your
primary output format.
Diane Gaskill wrote:
> Hello Frameratti,
> 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 did some digging and found a really old (1999) comparison on Shlomo's
> website. Nice, but both tools have changed considerably since then and the
> comparison is no longer valid. Sooo, I am wondering if anyone on the list
> knows of a more recent comparison of the two tools. Not that I want to go to
> Arbortext, mind you, but I need to check for the boss.
> BTW, the company that now owns and markets ArbotText did not invent it
> (sounds familiar, huh). They came here and made a presentation. Turns out
> that the GUI is _not_ actually WYSIWYG and they told us that we have to print
> it to PDF to see what the page really looks like. If that is true, we might
> be better off with Word (if that is possible). Reminds me of the olden days
> of man pages and troff/nroff on Unix.
> Thanks in advance for any help.
Alan Houser, President
Group Wellesley, Inc.