Well, I've started to move from FM to ID, so that I do not remain  
forever stuck with G5 hardware and Tiger. It's with immense  
reluctance that I reward Adobe with more purchases after they dropped  
MacFM...no, let's not get started on that.

The ID learning curve is much steeper. I bought FM3 in 1992/3 and  
immediately started writing a book in it, picking things up as I went  
along  (need an idea for Xmas presents? -- Modern Logic by Graeme  
Forbes -- every home should have one). I don't think you could  do  
that with ID -- hors categorie compared to category 3, Alpe d'Huez vs  
the foothills of the Jura.

Anyway, I've done a few short docs, and am slowly, with many  
expletives deleted, getting the hang of it. I don't use the features  
Dov mentioned -- structure, conditional text, equation editor -- but  
maybe you can get a lot of FM functionality with 3rd party plug-ins.  
For me, the lack of xrefs was a deal-breaker until I discovered that  
DTP Tools, an FM-knowledgeable company, has a plug-in that appears to  
cover, or even improve on, FM's functionality. It's 99 euros, so  
assuming they bill you in euros, the dollar price is steadily  
dropping at the moment.

One thing that bugs me are the ludicrous file sizes. A two-page  
abstract, entirely text, came in at 1.2MB. An FM equivalent would be  
around 28K, which was what the pdf I made from the 1.2MB file also  
came in at. I haven't been able to find anything online about why the  
files are so big or what, if anything, you can do about it (issues  
about graphics are irrelevant in my case).

An attractive feature of ID for me is that it's got correctly  
implemented footnoting.  No more text frames in anchored frames and  
trial-and-error guessing about how much to cut to get the remainder  
to jump back to the right page, then having to redo it all when you  
realize you've made an appalling error on p.2 and fixing it changes  
all subsequent page breaks.

So: although ID isn't specifically intended for writing technical  
documents, nothing appears to make it irrational to use it for that.  
Make a list of what FM features are important/indispensable, and  
check that ID can do the same. Then go to Configure Plug-ins and  
disable all the ones that pertain to the production of eye-candy only.

One really maddening issue is "activation". A single-user license  
only lets you have 2 activations, so if like me you have a home  
desktop, an office desktop, and a laptop, something has to give. I'm  
going to try to appeal to Adobe's sense of natural justice to get a  
third activation for my laptop. Pray for me.

It would be very useful if there were a book, or even if someone just  
had personal notes they were willing to share, about ID from the FM- 
user's point of view: the sort of thing that would say, you can do  
such-and-such in FM easily enough, here's a sequence of steps in ID  
that will also accomplish it.

Graeme Forbes

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