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Re: Frame - The Future

At 05:39 PM 12/5/03 +0100, Jan Henning wrote:

>I'd like to point out that I initially heard about this on the Tekom 
>conference, two weeks or so before the FM 7.1 release.
>In case you are wondering about my reliability (for which I wouldn't blame 
>you), the gist of the comments heard there can be checked with everybody 
>who attended session FP36 "InDesign for technical documentation" - about 
>40-50 people.

A PDF (official Adobe document) outlining the content of the FP36 
conference described by Jan is available at:


FrameMaker is not mentioned anywhere in that document. However, the 
presentations, all touting InDesign as the ultimate solution for technical 
documentation, extol precisely those features of InDesign where FrameMaker 
is weakest, particularly Unicode, XML support, single-sourcing, translation 
capabilities, etc.

In other words, the presentation matches what a FrameMaker competitor would 
emphasize in a marketing strategy designed to promote migration from 
FrameMaker to the competitor's product.

One would think that, since it was an Adobe show, there would be a 
comparison of Frame with InDesign, emphasizing that each has advantages for 
different types of technical documentation--that's been the Adobe line in 
the past. The absence of such comparisons would suggest that Adobe is not 
interested in selling FrameMaker into new markets--even those where 
FrameMaker is now superior to InDesign.

Which indicates that Adobe's plan is to wean customers away from FrameMaker 
and into InDesign, because expansion of the InDesign customer base to 
include many who use it primarily for technical documentation is likely to 
be the essential step needed to justify the addition of the features now 
missing from InDesign. That way, Adobe can have it both ways. If they're 
successful in moving many of its customers from Frame to InDesign, more 
development money will be made available to add the missing features in 
InDesign. But if most Frame users refuse to abandon Frame for InDesign, 
then InDesign will evolve more slowly into a viable technical documentation 
product, and they'll keep FrameMaker around awhile longer, and stretch out 
the development of InDesign into an all-purpose DTP.

Moreover, Adobes's abandonment of The Mac platform for FrameMaker, combined 
with its announced commitment to long-term support for InDesign on the Mac, 
is further strong evidence of which way  the wind is blowing.

If the above scenario is plausible, then it is also entirely plausible that 
someone representing Adobe made the declaration at the FP36 conference 
about phasing out FrameMaker, in the hope that it would help nudge European 
users of FrameMaker into switching to InDesign. In other words, it was a 
trial balloon whose purpose was to see if it would nudge a couple of 
companies with large numbers of Frame licenses into making the switch.

I am not, I should emphasize, someone who believes conspiracy theories can 
explain most of what goes on in the universe. What Adobe is doing is 
testing the waters in the careful, have-it-both-ways manner that prudent 
companies zig-zag toward a favorable marketing outcome.

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

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