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Re: FrameMaker 5.5.6

Dan Emory wrote:

> An Adobe apologist from "down undah" whose name shall go unmentioned here,
> equated the complaints of the originator (Godwin) of this thread (as well as
> several others who chimed in with similar complaints) to those of "a kindred
> spirit," meaning me.

Not even close - a) an "Adobe apologist" was what I said I wasn't, b) I made no
reference to Joanne Godwin or anything she said, or c) anything that anyone said
about what she said. You did get two parts right - I do live (happily, thank
you...) in Australia and the kindred spirit remark was indeed a reference to you. I
doubt if I'm the only one who wondered if you had adopted a non de plume, as the
style of writing was somewhat reminiscent of your own. It's no good getting
thin-skinned now Dan - if you adopt a memorable style, you shouldn't be surprised
when people associate you with it.

> I have never challenged the adequacy of FrameMaker as a tool, only the fact
> that the latest release has more bugs than Starshop Troopers, plus Adobe's
> failure, after four bug releases in 12 months, to fix at least the bugs in
> those pre-existing features that worked ok in the previous release. I have
> also complained about the deteriorating quality of Adobe's support for the
> product.

I think many people might interpret the above comments as being a challenge of
FrameMaker as a tool, whether you intend them to be or not. Perhaps it's just that
you come across in email as being more critical than you intend - I don't know.

> Joanne Godwin's problem centers on trying to understand FrameMaker by
> reading the user manual and the on-line help, both of which went to the dogs
> in Release 5.5.

I'm not a fan of the on-line help, though I haven't used it enough to comment on it
relevant to previous versions. I don't generally like on-line help for anything
unless I'm searching for a word or phrase, in which case even a bad version is
better than paper.

> Someone who responded to this thread suggested that, to understand a product
> like FrameMaker, you've "got to think like the software." I agree completely
> with that. You can't acquire that mind-set from the documentation in its
> present state, nor can you get it by attending a 5-day formal training
> course. You can only acquire it through systematic experimentation--trying
> things out, making mistakes, learning from them, and storing all those
> experiences up for future use. It's also important to learn about
> third-party add-ons to FrameMaker that you might need on a particular project.

Very sound advice.

> The most fundamental benefit that comes from thinking like the software is
> that it arms you with the conviction that, with FrameMaker, there's almost
> always a way to solve even the most intractable problems. That's what
> distinguishes it from almost any other comparable product, except, perhaps,
> Interleaf.

I don't completely agree with that - I've been involved with data conversion for
many years, so I'm perhaps quicker than some to temporarily abandon an application
in favour of a programming language. In some cases, I might be better off
investigating solutions in FrameMaker more deeply, but in others, I may be saving
energy and maintaining a modest blood pressure by saving as mif and writing code to
produce the result I need.


Marcus Carr                      email:  mrc@allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
       - Einstein

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