In my experience, it is easier to teach structured FM than unstructured, because you have a clearly designed output document target for new writers to use as an example and they can't jury-rig fifteen different ways to skin the same cat. You must have good tools, EDD and templates, and must train them on how to access critical features like attributes and variables.
What is VERY difficult, however, is working in a MIXED structured and unstructured environment wherein writers have to switch mental gears depending on the project. They try to use para tag methods to manipulate structured elements and all their "fixes" go away after the next book update and reapplication of the EDD. Where structure shines is in an environment of multiple writers and few editors where a single look-and-feel must be established and maintained across a lot of publications. In those cases, demanding that all submissions contain valid structure and then reapplying the EDD and removing all manual overrides upon submission goes a long way towards maintaining specifications and standards. Those writers who cannot or will not abide by the structure rules can be easily identified and either retrained or replaced. Structured FM is an effective truth-teller in a multiple-writer environment, provided efficient and competent tools and training have been provided. Randall C. Reed Senior Technical Writer Technical Publications Total Life Cycle Support (o) 843-574-3899 (c) 843-906-5522 -----Original Message----- From: framers-boun...@lists.frameusers.com [mailto:framers-bounces at lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Nancy Allison Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2009 9:44 AM To: framers at lists.frameusers.com Subject: Re: Switching to Structured FrameMaker I've gotten some wonderful responses both on the list and privately. I'd begun to think that, since a lot of my clients rely on freelancers who come and go, structured FrameMaker might be the way to ensure consistency across documents. Then it occurred to me, how hard is it to get writers on board with structured documentation? If you hire a new person and they don't know structured FrameMaker, how much coaching do you have to do to get them started? And . . . does it really make the usual craziness about autonumbering and variables in headers, footers, TOCs, LOTs, LOFs, and Indexes . . GO AWAY? (I mean, in this situation: new contractor comes on board, gets new template, at some point copies text from an older doc with conflicting paragraph tags; variables and cross-references break; frustration and hair-tearing ensue.) The elimination of that struggle would be worth a lot. Thanks one and all. _______________________________________________ You are currently subscribed to Framers as randall.reed at forceprotection.net. Send list messages to framers at lists.frameusers.com. To unsubscribe send a blank email to framers-unsubscribe at lists.frameusers.com or visit http://lists.frameusers.com/mailman/options/framers/randall.reed%40force protection.net Send administrative questions to listadmin at frameusers.com. Visit http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info. This e-mail is intended solely for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain legally privileged and CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION intended solely for viewing by the addressee. If you are not the intended recipient, you should immediately stop reading this message and delete it from your system. Any review, dissemination, copying, printing or other use of this e-mail by persons or entities other than the addressee is prohibited. Please notify the Helpdesk at helpdesk at forceprotection.net if you have received this message in error. This material contains confidential and proprietary information of Force Protection, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Copying this material or disclosing such information to others without the Company's prior consent is prohibited. This material also contains technical data relating to a "Defense Article" within the meaning of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 CFR Part 120). The transfer or disclosure of this information to any non-U.S. person or company without an export license approved by the United States Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls is prohibited under federal law.