I totally agree with you Art - I'm just concerned that the client is
focussing more on the platform than the right tool, and to avoid having him
pick Indesign just because it runs native on the Mac and it *can* do
conditional text etc.  So all the points everyone is raising is adding to my
arsenal  :-D

Of course, if the client will be using Indesign for other layout-driven
purposes (brochures etc.) that we will not be involved in, then yes it makes
more sense for them to choose the single tool that will address all their
needs. They are not big enough and don't do enough documentation to warrant
having both tools.


-----Original Message-----
From: Art Campbell [mailto:art.campb...@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 1:47 PM
To: Laurie Little
Cc: Framers list (E-mail)
Subject: Re: Frame vs Indesign vs alternatives??

I think you're overlooking the primary difference between the two
programs -- what they're designed to do.

* FM excels at long-document management, projects where most layout is
driven by a finite set of templates, and situations where
documentation is single-sourced to multiple output formats.

* InDesign is Adobe's Pagemaker replacement and is designed to work
better in an environment where many pages use, or require,
design-driven manual tweaking.

I've used both, and each has a place in a writer's toolbox, but the
most important consideration is the type of content and the
requirements of the end-user.


Art Campbell
               art.campbell at gmail.com
  "... In my opinion, there's nothing in this world beats a '52
Vincent and a redheaded girl." -- Richard Thompson
                                                      No disclaimers apply.
                                                               DoD 358

On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 1:05 PM, Laurie Little <llittle at words-tw.com> wrote:
> Thanks so much Peter, this kind of comparison is invaluable.
> So why would one choose one over the other when they can both handle user
documentation (apart from any need to convert to help)? Is it a case of:
> - "If you only have Indesign, it can do what you need, but if you have a
choice use Frame"
> or
> - "Use whichever GUI you're comfortable with or whichever (native)
platform you prefer"
> ?
> If they choose Indesign, I hope your book is ready in time for me to buy!
> Laurie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: knowhowpro at gmail.com [mailto:knowhowpro at gmail.com]On Behalf Of
> Peter Gold
> Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:41 PM
> To: Laurie Little
> Cc: Framers list (E-mail)
> Subject: Re: Frame vs Indesign vs alternatives??
> 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.
> Regards,
> Peter
> __________________
> Peter Gold
> KnowHow ProServices
> On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM, Laurie Little <llittle at words-tw.com>
>> Hello from beautiful sunny Toronto!
>> I need to recommend a tool for a client who works on Mac, and it's
>> FM (via Bootcamp/Parallels/whatever) and Indesign for Mac (major
>> requirements are conditions/variables/text insets).
>> We're pushing for Frame, since we're the ones who will be converting the
>> docs/maintaining etc., but the client (thinks he) will be doing some
>> 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
>> 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
>> the preferred tool for user docs, regardless of platform.
>> Just to round out our proposal though, I need to include/eliminate any
>> 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
>> 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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