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Re: Rumour: FM really is dead

I've cross-posted this (a potion of Thomas's original post and my reply) to 
the Framer's list.
At 03:15 PM 12/4/03 +0100, Thomas Michanek wrote:
>With my 10+ years experience of FM and Adobe, I would take this
>"rumour" very seriously. Do not make your workflow or planning
>dependent on an FM 8 release or an FM version for MacOS X.
>Start investigating future alternatives to FM right now, even if
>you can continue to use the present version(s) for some time.
>(Can you count on FM 5-7 to run on Windows Longhorn in 2005?)
>Even if the rumour is wrong, it's clear that Adobe won't rewrite,
>correct or extend FM's core code any more; only minor feature
>enhancements and bug fixes will be made. Only the most optimistic
>Adobe fans (stock holders?) can reasonably think otherwise.
>Sorry about that rant. Again, Jan's source may be misinformed.
>Let's hope so. Otherwise, Adobe has missed the opportunity to
>completely dominate the document publishing market. That sounds
>like a potential goldmine to me.

We have, of course, been at this point before, Many of us thought V5.5.6 
might be the last release. This time, however, it would appear that the end 
of the line is almost certainly near.  After 5.5.6, it became clear that 
XML would be the future. FrameMaker's excellent and unparalleled structured 
document authoring capability gave Adobe a huge advantage if it seized the 
opportunity. But that would have required a commitment to modernization of 
the FrameMaker code in order to support UniCode, plus adding all of the 
necessary bells and whistles to fully support an XML enterprise solution. 
Such a solution would have combined proven XML-based workflows and 
production solutions with highly sophisticated content management. Adobe 
dropped the ball, first in V6, and then even more disastrously in V7.

Now, Microsoft has done what it always does--Holding onto market share by 
corrupting the XML standard, thereby enticing the terminally clueless into 
a dead-end solution. Adobe has lost the opportunity to pick up a 
substantial portion of that market which will inevitably occur when the 
clueless discover  that Microsoft has led them once again down the primrose 
path to disaster. Meanwhile, Arbortext, and, more particularly, Corel with 
its acquisition of SoftQuad and the Xmetal product line, have been 
developing true enterprise solutions by teaming with XyEnterprise.

The future, almost certainly, will resemble the solution offered by 
Xmetal/XyEnterprise on Windows platforms. This solution provides a 
complete, end-to-end, automated XML infrastructure and environment for 
single-source publishing, combined with effective repurposing of XML 
content for high-quality, high-volume printing or Web delivery, as well as 
specialized tools for complex document editing and formatting. The result 
is a solution which can vastly increase productivity utilizing an 
integrated production workflow that yields reduced creation and delivery 
costs as well as greater efficiency.

The airline industry is already jumping on the Xmetal bandwagon. Government 
agencies, the military, and large private enterprises are sure to follow. 
And that, of course, is the core constituency for FrameMaker. Many of those 
organizations  will abandon FrameMaker with great regret, because, to them, 
it was the dream product for authoring and printing structured documents. 
But they realize that Adobe has dropped the ball, and they must move on to 
new, but perhaps less desirable, solutions.

Abandonment of the Mac platform was inevitable, not only for FrameMaker, 
but also for any company which offers enterprise software solutions. 
Neither Xymetal nor XyEnterprise, for instance, offer versions of their 
latest products for the Mac. The Mac has no future except as a small niche 
platform for boutique clients. No one is contemplating a future for the Mac 
as part of any enterprise solution.

Except for Acrobat, Adobe itself has lost all credibility as an enterprise 
solutions company, and its failure to beef up FrameMaker so that it could, 
as Thomas stated "completely dominate the document publishing market" is 
simply the latest proof of that.

FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
DW Emory <danemory@globalcrossing.net>

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