Hi Nancy:

I did a presentation about our switch from unstructured to structured
FrameMaker back in 2005, so let me know if you want me to send it to
you. It answers all your questions, such as how many pages we had, why
we did it, what our output was, etc. I'm a lone writer too, but we don't
do translation.

It's been about five years since we switched to structured FrameMaker,
and I'm very happy with the results. I personally prefer to work in
structured FM, and the SMEs who are using it prefer it too. Those who
don't like to use FrameMaker have the option of writing in XML because
of the structure. We've saved loads of time (sorry, don't have numbers)
and loads of inaccuracies by being able to convert comments in code to
XML-tagged documents that import directly into FrameMaker. I've also
saved loads of time by having SMEs write either in FrameMaker or XML, so
I think we've gotten our money back by now. However, I've been told that
it's very unusual to be able to get SMEs to work in FrameMaker. 

If you're an STC member, Sarah O'Keefe wrote an article about whether
structured authoring was a wise investment for small documentation shops
(like lone writer places), and that article is supposed to appear in the
December issue of Intercom. That might help, too.

By the way, structured FrameMaker doesn't have to mean XML; I just found
it useful to be able to do both.

Fei Min
-----Original Message-----
From: framers-boun...@lists.frameusers.com
[mailto:framers-bounces at lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Nancy Allison
Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 2:09 PM
To: framers at lists.frameusers.com
Subject: Switching to Structured FrameMaker

Hi, all. 

With regard to structured FrameMaker, I am very late to the party. In
fact, I have never used it yet. There's a good chance I'll be asked to
investigate whether it would be useful to my current client. I thought
I'd get a head start on the issues by asking for information from people
who have made the switch. Here are my questions:

--What was your documentation situation? (How many product lines, how
many publications, how much single-sourcing, how much translation?)

--Why did you (or your manager) decide that it was time to switch to
structured documentation? What kind of limit had you reached?

--What kinds of output do you create from structured FrameMaker? 

--Has structured FrameMaker made your work easier or more efficient? Has
it improved the responsiveness or quality of your documentation?

Feel free to tell me something else, if my questions don't address your

Thanks for all responses.


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