Hedley Finger wrote:

> The original discussion was, generally, about what Adobe needed to do
> to find out what functionality their customers would need in the
> future.
> I attempted to make the point that a study of the third-party plugins
> would indicate to Adobe the gaps in FrameMaker's functionality that
> they need to address, and chose indexing plugins as an example where
> there are many independent plugins to improve this functionality.

While I agree that plugin usage indicates shortfalls in the current 
product, I don't accept that Adobe should take direction from that. Most 
of the plugins mentioned have been developed to support hardcopy 
publishing, but Adobe know as well as anyone that that market is in 
chronic decline. Putting a lot of effort into supporting hardcopy would 
be throwing good money after bad.

I like what Adobe has been doing, adding XSLT support and improving 
their XML handling. Those are the sorts of changes that will keep it 
alive, but they're only first steps. In another ten years, FrameMaker 
will probably need to be a web-based application focused on connecting 
and incorporating information from multiple sources and maybe making it 
look consistent to improve the user's experience. Or something else - I 
don't know. Either way, you can be pretty sure that it's not going to be 
an application for the lossy process of converting information into 
patterns on paper to be posted to someone who will slowly read and 
interpret it back into information. (Yeah, I know, PDF, HTML, but that's 
mostly just paper-to-pixels.)

We had one of the senior XML people from Microsoft in Redmond presenting 
to our developers yesterday - he was showing off things like 
round-tripping, incorporation of microformats into Word and generating 
Word documents from java, all running in Linux to illustrate how little 
dependency there was on Microsoft technology. It was *very* slick. 
Nobody can afford to sit back and wait anymore - the bar gets raised too 
frequently for anyone to recover.

Go long, Adobe!! Blow our socks off!!


Marcus Carr                      email:  mcarr at allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
        - Einstein

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