13 June 2011

FrameMaker or InDesign?

I’m struggling a bit with user documentation at the moment – from the user side of the fence. It’s not that the information isn’t there – it’s that I seem to be spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to find it.

I’m trying to decide whether I should stay with FrameMaker for a project but upgrade to FrameMaker 9 (as I’m having to run FM 7.2 on a virtual machine in XP mode, and it’s slow) or whether I should switch application to InDesign. I want to find out which option is the least work for me, and for my client who processes the XML output I send.

What’s the problem? Well, I can find a lot of information that is telling me what I can see for myself – for example, that you can ‘Save as’ in XML format – but that doesn’t tell me the steps I need to follow to get a specific output, or even if some things are possible. I’m spending a lot of time on trial-and-error.

I’m also finding that – for some reason – I’m looking for information about InDesign or FrameMaker but am being presented with ‘results’ that, on further inspection, are related to a completely different product!

The forums are a great source of information – user supporting user – but having spent a morning reading posts that looked as if they may answer my questions only to find that they don’t, I’m going to have to ask questions directly that maybe have already been answered.

I don’t know what the answer is... but the experience is making me think about what I write – am I leaving my readers with this same sense of frustration?

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