[mail.framers] FrameMaker

framers-request (07/19/90)

In article <12980002@hpspdra.HP.COM> on comp.text.desktop 
   howeird@hpspdra.HP.COM (Howard Stateman) writes:
>>I'm a new FrameMaker user. The product is easy to use, but for some specific
>>things (like importing troff) it's not trivial.
>>My question is : is there a group (or mailing list) of Frame users ?

>Me too!

I'm installing FrameMaker on a SparcStation cluster, and we need to
migrate a stack of existing documentation part of which is done in
Microsoft Word and part of which is done in pic/tbl/troff/postscript
using a homegrown macro package (extensions to -me).

We are having problems getting the Frame import filters to work, and
Frame's support group is *very* hard to get in touch with (like several
days to call back :-( :-(). So far, the only other person I have talked
to about troff import filters, had tried but given up.

(1) Has anyone successfully used filters to migrate from a troff
    environment to a Framemaker environment?  

    I'd be interested to hear what works and what doesn't work.

(2) Would you pre-process the macros to "raw" troff, or is the filter
    supposed to "know" -me macros and translate them to equivalent
    structures ?
    If the translation is done AFTER the macro pass, how editable is the
    resulting FrameMaker document ?

(3) Also, what filter packages are available and what are their merits
    and their problems ?

(4) Are there any conversion utilities available from 3rd parties or
    from net.people ?

(5) Same questions about Microsoft imports ?

I have crossposted to both comp.text groups and also to alt.sys.sun with
followups to alt.sys.sun; the choice of the latter for followups, is
because as a system manager, I hardly ever get time to get down to

If you email me responses, I'll summarize to comp.sys.sun and
comp.text.desktop when I've learned something.
/ Debra Tivetsky           805-963-9431                  debra@ACC.COM
  Advanced Computer Communications, 720 Santa Barbara St, SB, CA 93101
/* Opinions ?  My employer has no opinions that I'm responsible for */

framers-request (09/20/90)

Many thanks to all those who took the time to share their 
knowledge of FrameMaker.

Special thanks to Mark Lawrence (mark@DRD.Com) who forwarded 
the original article to the FrameUsers' Mailing List 
(framers@DRD.Com) which generated most of the response.  If
you are a user of FrameMaker and want to subscribe, send a 
request to framers-request@DRD.Com.

Here's an overview of FrameMaker as seen by the respondents:

     Strengths                         Weaknesses

auto-referencing                  table generation (3)
picture import by reference       drawing tools
auto section numbering            picture positioning
Book Building                     help system
FrameMath (equations, etc.)       hanging indents
multiple dictionaries             non-Mac user interface
multiple platforms                limited file export

Plus some other comments in no particular order:

-  FrameMaker's user interface is nearly identical across 

-  The Mac version is a full implementation of say, the Sun 
version, and should be completely file-compatible with the 
workstation version.

-  Everyone who mentioned it was using a Mac IIcx or better.  
An SE probably wouldn't cut it, although one person 
mentioned that an SE/30 with a second monitor might work.  
In fact, a 19" monitor seemed to be the display of choice 
(even a full-page monitor is unable to accomodate all of 
Frame's floating windows).

-  From a practical point of view, 4MB of memory is probably 
minimum, and one person reported a noticeable increase in 
speed (when editing large files) on a Mac IIcx with 8MB.

 -  Whereas Word for example, is stable, FrameMaker on the 
Mac is not.  Several bugs were reported:  1) the drawing 
tools; 2) search/replace; 3) importation of Word files.

-  FrameMaker is generally more powerful than Word, but a 
number of people commented on FrameMaker's inability to 
generate tables, a feature Word users typically boast about.  
One person remarked that PageMaker (on the Mac) was the 
closest thing there was to FrameMaker, but that PageMaker 
had nothing like FrameMath (the name given to FrameMaker's 
equation typesetting facility).

-  Frame Technologies can be reached by email at


and demo versions of FrameMaker 2.1 are available.  Although 
this offer does NOT include the Mac, a timed-out Mac version 
IS available (at least for those in the educational 
community) if you're willing to send the company seven 
(count em!) blank diskettes.

-  There is a review article in a recent issue (sometime in 
the last couple of months?) of _Desktop_Publishing_ which 
I've yet to get my hands on.

I still haven't gotten any detailed feedback on FrameMath.  
Are there any technical writers out there using this feature 
who know good mathematical text when they see it?  How does 
Frame measure up with TeX, for example, in terms of output?


Tom Scavo  <scavo@cs.uoregon.edu>