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.
Briefly: * 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. HTH Regards, Peter __________________ 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 > >