Hi, Laurie:

I'm an Adobe ACE for FrameMaker and InDesign, and I'm writing a book
for FrameMaker users who want to learn to use InDesign for the same
kind of long and complex technical publications. So, I've been looking
closely at the similarities, differences, workarounds, and tradeoffs
between the products, as well as the issues of cross-training both
FrameMaker and InDesign users to the opposite product.


* ID's conditional text (new in CS4) compares well to FM's.

* ID's cross-references (new in CS4) compare well to FM's.

* ID's numbered lists (significantly improved in CS4) , books, and
generated lists and indexes compare well to FM's.

* ID's variables compare well to FM's.

* There's no exact counterpart for FM's text insets in ID, though ID's
ability to import ID files may suffice in some situations.

* If any kind of help system is a requirement, or will be, FM is the
winner here; ID currently has nothing so closely matched as Robohelp.
However, ID's XML and tagged text could be enlisted for some kind of
conversion to work with a help-creation tool.

* ID's XML isn't up to FM's. ID'a structure features are not on the
same level as FM's structured authoring features.

On my new Mac-Intel MacBook Pro, I've started using FM 9.x under
Windows 7 public beta release candidate with VMware's Fusion 2
application. So far, it's the FM I've always known, and it's only a
keystroke or two to move between Mac OS X and Windows 7, just like
switching between applications on standard Mac or Windows. BootCamp
Requires a separate partition and can't switch between
concurrently-running OS X and Windows - you need to restart. Parallels
and Fusion don't have this limitation. Fusion and Parallels can easily
keep Mac and Windows files on a single file system, so any application
on either OS can work with any file it recognizes. BootCamp is harder
to set up for sharing files, and, again, can't switch between OS X and
Windows without a restart.

If there was an open-source replacement for FM, with all of its
features and reliability, we'd all know about it.



Peter Gold
KnowHow ProServices

On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM, Laurie Little <llittle at words-tw.com> wrote:
> Hello from beautiful sunny Toronto!
> I need to recommend a tool for a client who works on Mac, and it's between
> FM (via Bootcamp/Parallels/whatever) and Indesign for Mac (major functional
> requirements are conditions/variables/text insets).
> We're pushing for Frame, since we're the ones who will be converting the old
> docs/maintaining etc., but the client (thinks he) will be doing some minor
> maintenance and therefore prefers a Mac (and preferably an open-source)
> solution if one can be found, so my boss wants to make sure we have all info
> to present.
> Since Indesign CS4 *can* do conditional text/xrefs/variables, I need to
> assemble a good argument for not using it ?:-D
> >From what I've read in various forums (fora?) and blogs etc., Frame is still
> the preferred tool for user docs, regardless of platform.
> Just to round out our proposal though, I need to include/eliminate any other
> alternatives. The ones I have looked at don't seem to do conditional text
> (which would be critical to this project). Does anyone know of another
> (Mac/open source) tool that handles conditional text, other than Frame and
> Indesign?
> Thanks for any advice/warnings/tips/rants/etc,
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Laurie Little
> Words That Work
> www.words-tw.com
> 905-947-1557

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