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Re: Rumour: FM really is dead

> The baffling thing is that Adobe doesn't consider FM
> worthwhile.  How can that be?  ...

I'm not quite ready to carve Frame's headstone just yet,
but in some ways Frame is becoming less relevant.

I think Ronald Pierce has it right: the needs of many
technical writers have moved out from under Frame. In
many industries, long technical manuals are being
replaced by shorter topic-based documents with hyperlink
and search capabilities, printed manuals are an after-
thought if that. [I realize that for many industries,
this isn't the case... yet.]

In a world where documentation consists of a series of
short, loosely-connected topics, Frame is not quite as
compelling -- heck, even Word can handle short docs
most of the time. :-)  In a world where layout is no
longer nailed to a particular page size, indeed where
a reader might resize a window and expect the document
to reflow automatically, the whole WYSIWYG paradigm
becomes irrelevant and even burdensome. In a world
where documentation can be assembled from a database,
extracted, transformed, and displayed on several types
of media, binary file formats are a problem.

I have to hand it to Adobe's developers -- they've
probably done the best they can to keep Frame useful
in a changing world, despite an aging code base and
too-tight budgets. Worst-case, 7.0 has enough XML
support to migrate structured documentation to newer
tools. Best case... Adobe announces Frame 8 with
Unicode support and seamless XML capabilities, running
on every platform out there. Reality is probably
somewhere in between.

Larry Kollar, Senior Technical Writer, ARRIS
"Content creators are the engine that drives
value in the information life cycle."
    -- Barry Schaeffer, on XML-Doc

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