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Arbortext+DocBook vs. FM+DocBook vs. Scriptorium DocFrame

Hello framers!

My company switched from Word/RoboHelp about a year ago to "free," low-cost, and open-source DocBook XML/XSL tools.

I've been with the company for about four months, and I'm finding that it's impossible to achieve the level of output quality I'd been getting by single-sourcing from FrameMaker for the previous seven or eight years. (Imagine print and PDF deliverables that lack keep-with settings!) Despite the personal satisfaction I've found in working with open standards and bleeding-edge technologies, I'm spending far too much time developing and maintaining my authoring system, rather than developing content.

I'm considering several commercial alternatives to our current approach, including parts of the Arbortext suite, "plain-vanilla" Structured FrameMaker, and Scriptorium's DocFrame package. I'm aware of Structured FM's strengths and weaknesses, but I'm particularly interested in how each of these packages compares to the others.

For example, how easy (i.e. time-consuming) is it to customize the templates and/or style sheets in each of these packages? Is doing so as challenging as creating a DocBook XSL customization layer from scratch? Does Arbortext have the kind of active user community FrameMaker does? Is one package more appropriate for a solo writer or small team than another?

Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Andrew Becraft
Senior Technical Writer
Singlestep Technologies
Connect. Simplify. Manage.

2601 Fourth Ave Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98121

P: 206.838.7982 direct (message sends email)
E: andrewb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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