Skip navigation
cll-durango
Currently Being Moderated

FrameMaker vs. InDesign

Sep 14, 2009 8:55 AM

Good day everyone! I have a client that is considering going from FrameMaker to InDesign...because someone "within Adobe" said that FrameMaker was being phased out and that InDesign will be taking over the large document business. This client has many participant manuals that are text intensive with over 75+ pages, and all graphics are embedded in these documents. One of their products is almost 2000 pages and we use WebWorks to convert to the web.

 

Quite frankly, I have both products and use InDesign for projects that are graphic intensive and less than 10 pages. I've always considered it a good marketing product. But most of work I do for clients...FrameMaker is king, and never "breaks" like Word.

 

So the question(s) (you knew that there had to be a question): Is FrameMaker going to be around for awhile? Does anyone know if InDesign is slated to take over the FrameMaker business? What would you say to the client that may want to go from FrameMaker to InDesign?

 

Thanks,

Cindy

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 14, 2009 9:09 AM   in reply to cll-durango

    ROTFLMAO....

     

    Well, it's been a while since this (rumor / story / (Arnis, do you think it qualifies for Urban Legend yet?)) popped up.

     

    Aside from releasing version 8 and then 9; including it in the Tech Comm Suite 1 and 2, and continuing to expand Frame's capability (integrating SCL AUthor Assistant this April), I think your assessment of capabilities pretty much says it all. InDesign is design-driven; FrameMaker is the long doc champ and Adobe's XML power editor.

     

    As far as I know, the last Adobe VIP who was asked about this in a major interview was before 9, and maybe 8, shipped in 2007: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1741 but I think it's probably still accurate.

     

    Art

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 14, 2009 9:11 AM   in reply to cll-durango

    On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated ...

     

    We'd love to know who “within Adobe” claimed that FrameMaker was being phased out. If that was an actual Adobe employee, they could be terminated from their position by making such a blatantly untrue remark.

     

    FrameMaker continues under active development, marketing, and sales. Work is proceeding on the next major version of the product. That certainly is not “being phased out.”

     

    In terms of your choice of FrameMaker or InDesign, it very much depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Graphically-rich documents with ICC color management and transparency effects, InDesign is obviously the way to go. Longer, structured documents with sophisticated cross-references, equations, etc., you would most likely be much more comfortable with FrameMaker.

     

              - Dov

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 14, 2009 9:35 AM   in reply to cll-durango

    cll-durango wrote:

     

    Good day everyone! I have a client that is considering going from FrameMaker to InDesign...because someone "within Adobe" said that FrameMaker was being phased out and that InDesign will be taking over the large document business.

     

    It's not likely that any Adobe employee, contractor, independent developer, or beta tester, who might know this for a fact, could reveal it without severe legal repercussions. Anyone who might know it officially has to be under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA.)

     

    To calm your client, ask them to vet the reliability of the source of this specific instance of a very long-running and persistent history of such rumors about the demise of FM. So far, they've all been premature.

     

    Quite frankly, I have both products and use InDesign for projects that are graphic intensive and less than 10 pages. I've always considered it a good marketing product. But most of work I do for clients...FrameMaker is king, and never "breaks" like Word.

     

    This client has many participant manuals that are text intensive with over 75+ pages, and all graphics are embedded in these documents. One of their products is almost 2000 pages and we use WebWorks to convert to the web.

     

    ID CS4 has improved output for DreamWeaver Web use. However, if you also use WebWorks for creating Help systems with FM, currently there's no smooth solution for creating help from ID.

    So the question(s) (you knew that there had to be a question): Is FrameMaker going to be around for awhile? Does anyone know if InDesign is slated to take over the FrameMaker business? What would you say to the client that may want to go from FrameMaker to InDesign?

     

    Thanks,

    Cindy

     

    As InDesign continues to enhance existing long-document features and introduce new ones, it may become a close competitor to FrameMaker in workflows that it's been the wisest choice.

     

    Regarding moving one's workflow from any long-established tool set to another, newer, one, is never simple, clean, and painless. Adobe or a third-party developer would need to provide a conversion method, application, service, or combination, that would make migration of existing documents as transparent and painless as possible, to be attractive in any degree. User training, dual-workflows during the transition, new workflow methods for current third-party and customized follow-on processes, are all significant costs to consider when deciding whether to change or stay put.

     

    I would ask the client to list all shortcomings that they find with FM, what advantages they see in ID currently, and what they hope that ID will introduce in forthcoming releases that would fill important gaps for them, should they become realities. This would be a good place to start.

     

    I would also ask how much cost they expect to save in ongoing operations after a successful migration, and compare it to how much the cost of migrating as described above, plus the cost of licensing new software - InDesign plus any third-party tools - plus some multiplier to allow for the inevitable surprises.

     

    I would also ask if the current workforce would be willing and able to make the transition. Adjust the cost calculation by adding any increased costs for new or replacement employees, and subtracting any expected reduction in employees based on a realistic evaluation of increased efficiency.

     

    Then, I would ask if they have the money, and can justify the costs, and WILL actually spend the money.

     

    IOW, it's a normal business decision that should be based on thorough research.

     

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not connected to Adobe. I'm writing a book for FrameMaker users who want to move to InDesign.

     

    HTH

     

    Regards,

     

     

    Peter

     

    Peter Gold

    _________________

    KnowHow ProServices

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 14, 2009 11:43 PM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    Splendidly lucid, Peter – thanks! I'll bookmark this (or, even, save a local copy) for future use. Talk softly and carry a print-out ;-}

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 30, 2013 1:59 PM   in reply to Niels Grundtvig Nielsen

    This thread is really old but I think that asking about the differences in 2013 is still valid.

     

    I'm familiar with FrameMaker and have used it up to version 9... so I know its features (and somewhat familiar with the new features in version 11).

     

    But now I wonder if Indesign can do everything I require in writing technical manuals (up to 400 pages). I have it as part of my CC subscription. The question is, in the past three years, has InDesign improved enough where 400 page technical manuals is an appropriate use for InDesign?

     

    I really wish there was a side-by-side comparison of FrameMaker, Indesign, and other tools...such as MadCap Flare.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 31, 2013 10:55 AM   in reply to shawninvancouver

    The question is, in the past three years, has InDesign improved enough where 400 page technical manuals is an appropriate use for InDesign?

     

    Nope.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 31, 2013 11:37 AM   in reply to MichaelKazlow

    MichaelKazlow wrote:

     

    The question is, in the past three years, has InDesign improved enough where 400 page technical manuals is an appropriate use for InDesign?

     

    Nope.

     

    I think that a more accurate response would be “it depends!”

     

    If you are using structured FrameMaker, the variables features, and/or equations, InDesign is not going to be satisfactory at all.

     

    However, if your needs don't include those features (and if you need equations, you are willing to pay for and endure third party plug-ins) and if your needs include those for graphically-rich content including support for live transparency, then InDesign should work perfectly fine. The page count is not the issue. I have routinely exported PDF from InDesign with thousands of pages without any difficulty whatsoever although you probably will want/need a more robust system configuration than what you may have for FrameMaker to get reasonable performance.

     

              - Dov

     
    |
    Mark as:

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Answers + Points = Status

  • 10 points awarded for Correct Answers
  • 5 points awarded for Helpful Answers
  • 10,000+ points
  • 1,001-10,000 points
  • 501-1,000 points
  • 5-500 points