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Re: How many Framemaker Users -- Ballpark

Hello Framers,

Relative market share, FrameMaker vs. MSWord?

My two cents worth:

My anecdotal, unscientific, but experience-based observation is that
there's a very strong REGIONAL effect.  I've worked as a high-tech
technical writer in three areas;  Silicon Valley  (where FrameMaker
seems almost universal),  metro Portland, and metro Seattle.  I've
also written three full-length novels, and have learned to use
FrameMaker to get my typos and poor wording choices cleaned
out of my book-length manuscripts.  (I overuse  `which'  instead of
`that,' for instance.)

FrameMaker was originally a San José product, and everywhere that
I've been in Silicon Valley it's been the choice of the serious writers.
At my most recent gig, which was LitePoint Corporation in San José,
management insisted upon my working in MSWord, but even there
the working engineers had used and preferred FrameMaker.

MSWord was originally a Seattle product, and has more relative market
share up there.  But when I was at Intel in DuPont, WA, several years
ago, that facility had 147 FrameMaker licenses out of a total headcount
of about 2,000!

I've repeatedly encountered companies switching, or intending to switch,
from MSWord to FrameMaker.  I've only encountered the opposite case
once, which was a situation in which someone who was not a writing
professional demanded that my FrameMaker ASIC datasheets be
converted to MSWord, on what I believe was the naive premise that
print shops wouldn't know what to do either with FrameMaker files or
with their easily-output derivative .pdf files.

My fiction publisher, Xlibris, accepts files in MSWord, RTF, or
WordPerfect.  I've told the Xlibris folks repeatedly that they should
also accept FrameMaker.  However, converting my novel-length
FrameMaker manuscripts to MSWord files, once I had them copy-
edited in FrameMaker, has only been a very minor problem, since
my fiction files are 100% text and even FrameMaker 5.5.6 does
a swell job of converting a big pure-text file to MSWord 6.0/7.0
format.  Xlibris is located in Philadelphia;  maybe that's another
region with a lower proportion of FrameMaker usage.

FrameMaker is considered by many people who haven't used it
to be harder to learn than MSWord.  Now that I've learned and
used both, I'll flatly dispute that assertion.  There are enough
similarities that some knowledge and skills transfer between
them.  But the biggest practical difference for me has been
that — almost always — FrameMaker just does what I command
it to do;  whereas MSWord usually does many other things on
its own to my work-in-process when I'm not looking, and some
of its gratuitous actions have in fact been destructive and have
set me back quite a ways.  In my work at LitePoint, I was
constantly having to try to outwit MSWord, to keep it from
somehow screwing up part or all of the sixty-page user manual
which I was rewriting for them.

FrameMaker also loads and exits quicker, scans through large
files much faster, and in my experience crashes very rarely.

>From reading Free Framers messages for several years, I surmise
that FrameMaker is also very big in northern Europe, and in Israel
and in Australia.  I suspect that India will be next.

Chuck Hastings      cwh2@earthlink.net


Rhea Tolman wrote:

> Thanks for the heads up about the survey. I just went and give it my two
> cents worth. (Under "Authoring Tools," I put "mif2go" in the "Other
> tool/utility" box and gave it a 5.)
> I'll be waiting eagerly for some of the answers. I've had several
> writers tell me over the years that no one uses FrameMaker any more. But
> in 14 years as a technical writer, I've seen only one place that uses
> Word. Of course, since I use FrameMaker, my experience is not exactly a
> random sample. I've been wondering for years what the Word/FrameMaker
> proportion really is.
> Rhea Tolman
> Borland Software Corp.
> Anna Croft wrote:
> >Jon,
> >
> >
> >
> >>How common is FrameMaker in the technical writing community relative to
> >>
> >>
> >other related tools, such as Word?
> >
> >Winwriters are currently running a survey, qv:
> >
> >  The Fourth Annual Skills and Technologies Survey is now in
> >progress. This results of this popular survey are published
> >for your use. Please contribute to our base of data.
> >  http://www.winwriters.com/surveys/skillstech03/index.html
> >
> >The poll closes on 22 July, so you could check the results of this (as
> >soon as these are available).
> >
> >Anna
> >
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