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Seeking inputs on desired features in FrameMaker

Apr 2, 2012 1:51 AM

Tags: #framemaker #product #manager #feature #requests #planning
  Latest reply: ReneSteph, Apr 2, 2014 5:52 AM
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 28, 2012 7:09 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    Please, please, please 1) DO NOT ADD ANY NEW FEATURES UNTIL YOU HAVE REMOVED AND PATCHED ALL OF THE BUGS THAT CURRENTLY EXITS!!!! 2) Write useable and useful user documentation. What you have now is not intuitive, not informative, and lacking in meaningful procedural steps. It contains a lot of "what you can do with Framemaker" but hardly any concentrated useful instruction sets for how to do anything.  I still refer to to my old hard copy Framemaker 7 user guide because it is well written and useful.

     

    Framemaker, as well as Adober products and documentation in general, used to be top-of-the-line. No more. I've been a user since before Framemaker was purchased by Adobe, and a Robohelp user since the mid-1990s. The quality, predictability, and useability of both of these products has deteriotated in the past few years. I am very disappointed in Adobe.

     

    Please take the time to make the necessary repairs from the groiund up; then feel free to add new features after the product has returned to the high-quality I need to get my work done.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 29, 2012 8:03 AM   in reply to IDON\'THAVEONE!!!!!!!!

    IDON\'THAVEONE!!!!!!!! wrote:

     

    Please, please, please 1) DO NOT ADD ANY NEW FEATURES UNTIL YOU HAVE REMOVED AND PATCHED ALL OF THE BUGS THAT CURRENTLY EXITS!!!! 2) Write useable and useful user documentation. What you have now is not intuitive, not informative, and lacking in meaningful procedural steps. It contains a lot of "what you can do with Framemaker" but hardly any concentrated useful instruction sets for how to do anything.  I still refer to to my old hard copy Framemaker 7 user guide because it is well written and useful.

     

    Framemaker, as well as Adober products and documentation in general, used to be top-of-the-line. No more. I've been a user since before Framemaker was purchased by Adobe, and a Robohelp user since the mid-1990s. The quality, predictability, and useability of both of these products has deteriotated in the past few years. I am very disappointed in Adobe.

     

    Please take the time to make the necessary repairs from the groiund up; then feel free to add new features after the product has returned to the high-quality I need to get my work done.

     

    I'm really ambivalent about responding to an anonymous poster. Maybe that's just me.

     

    I'm also ambivalent about the points in the post. I'm for improving and evolving FM, and I'm against neglecting cleaning up old unfinished work.

     

    FrameMaker's got a tough position to fill - keeping up with the tumultuous expansion of new communications media technologies, while developing and enhancing the beloved "Good Old FM" that's informed how so many professionals have worked productively for so many years.

     

    The point about not neglecting making the "necessary repairs from the ground up." IMO it's as simple the classic economic dilemma of making "guns or butter." Economies need both guns and butter, so the problem is how to split production resources for the greatest good. In democracies, there's always contention among more-or-less equally-empowered interests, which usually resolves into a balanced compromise acceptable to most of the players.

     

    However, FrameMaker exists in an undemocratic environment. While user requests are often, democratically, incorporated into product development, how the development resources are apportioned among old-stuff improvements, and developing new stuff to survive by meeting and exceeding competitors' challenges. Without survival, there's no company or product to produce and improve, and no audience to serve.

     

    The long-standing bugs and shortcomings, that are so often requested to be fixed, and that seem to be consistently ignored, even if they are seen by those who allocate resources to be irritating inconveniences, rather than major bugs, are nevertheless serious issues to users. It's true that FM's been making huge steps in the areas of new media technologies, most competitive tools that have those technologies aren't complete replacements for FrameMaker. Yet. As more FrameMaker users find workable competitive tools, they'll move over, and as the competitors continue developing FM-replacement features, more FM users will migrate.

     

    The question is "will suffieint FM development resources be devoted to fixing these old problems?" And, the follow-up, "Will they get fixed in time for anyone to be left to care?"

     

    Because so many of us FrameMaker users have learned to expect better, it's especially disappointing when we have to learn to expect less.

     

     

    Regards,

     

     

    Peter

    _______________________

    Peter Gold

    KnowHow ProServices

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 30, 2012 1:04 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma
    1. H: Format report list
    2. H: Frame Anchoring Position: "Above Current Line"
    3. H: Cross-Reference format of
      Definition: [ <$markertext> ]
    4. M: Master pages of varying sizes, including
      Height: [ Unlimited ]
      Conditional master pages for extra credit.
    5. M: Pass SVG through as vector to HTML and XML.
    6. L: Real endnotes.
    7. - 10. <reserved for future use>
     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 1, 2012 11:11 AM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    I appreciate the opportunity.

     

    I am a very new user of TCS3.5 and FrameMake 10 in particular. We are moving from an unstructured authoring with Microsoft Office tools to structured authoring with FrameMaker /RoboHelp. We decided on TCS3.5 because we believe the suite will provide overall best set tools to move us in the right direction of structured authoring despite our apprehensive of a steep learning curve from where are coming from. Regardless of our authoring methods, we write a lot of user manuals and I am disappointed with the usability of FrameMaker's user guide. I currently don't have enough experience with FrameMaker to request too many improvements but below is what I would like to see:

     

    1. H = Better user guide with more detailed information and troubeshooting, especially for newer features like SharePoint connector. It seems some of the content of the user guide is written with the assumption that people are already familiar with FrameMaker and, as a result, leave out good information that could be taken for granted in that context that newcomers will be completely at a loss. And before anyone offfer the suggestions, the Adobe TV videos are wonderful but they offer tantalizing views of information that do not clearly or fully answer my questions.

    2. H = Better and easier conversion and from unstructured and very popular document editing tools (i.e. Microsoft Office).

    3. H = Better workspace to use as an XML editor with DITA and other popular standards validation, without the style template overlay. Using Notepad (or other configured editor) is ok to look at XML code, but I would prefer the fuctionality to be in one tool if possible. In my limited experience, XMetal does a credible job in that type of workspace, and copy and past from Word to XMetal with DITA is much easier than with FrameMaker. This feature may be simply  a user preference but I like my tags on when coding, I even have my show/hide on when I write in Word for a similar reason.

    4. H = Maybe I am just missing the instructions, a drag and drop feature for building DITA maps would very useful.

    5. M = Direct to EPub would be nice too.

     

    Well, that is all for now. I am sure I will run into more challenges as I learn to use FrameMaker/RoboHelp while converting our legacy documentation and I will post accordingly.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2012 10:26 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma
    1. FrameMaker should be converted into a true XML authoring environment. There should be no structured or unstructured frameamerk. There should just be FrameMaker, which has XML files. When I upgrade to the latest version of FrameMaker, all my binary files should be converted into XML documents. You should publish a XSD that defines the XML doc structure and leverage the existing XSLT engine, so that out of the box any FrameMaker book can be converted into any publishing format the user would care to. And also allow the user to design their own XSLTS to convert into some other format that people haven't even thought of yet. That way I can truly single source all my content in FrameMaker instead of having to use the buggy Framemaker to Robohelp integration.
    2. In addition, provide a GUI that allows me to design a template and structure (similar to structured framemaker ) that allows me to perform schema validation of the structure and enforces controls on what the template may contain. Basically, this would just be a port of EDD more or less.
    3. Provide extensible framework for content management and SCM modules so anyone can plug in their favorite tool (mines SVN) and have framemaker's GUI natively support that so i can check in, check outs, get revision histories etc. If I can't get that, I'd settle for native SVN and GIT integration.
    4. allow me to assign my own hot keys to whatever action i want to take just like i can in robohelp. For example, I would love if control+b could be assigned to  a CHARACTER FORMAT that bolded text instead of being a character format override.
    5. Improve the atrocious documentation for extendscript.
    6. Allow the find and delete mechanism to find any type of format and delete it (e.g paragraph format, character format etc) across an entire or book of books. Also, allow me to indicate whether i want to delete only if its unused.
    7. Greatly improved grep/regex support in the Find method
     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 3, 2012 8:44 AM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    My current system is FrameMaker 8, so forgive me if I suggest something that is already in 10.

     

    1. H - Outline view, with expandable/collapsable/hierarchical outline view of headings only. It should have the ability to move, promote, demote or copy entire sections (including any collapsed/invisible headings/subsections, but not including any expanded/visible subsections) by moving, promoting, demoting, or copying the heading. Outline levels should be linkable to paragraph styles, with the ability to assign more than one paragraph style to the same outline level. Outline view would probably need to show all conditions, for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that Conditional Text markers often get plastered onto the fronts of subsequent headings when you hide a conditional section. As FrameMaker is designed for long documents, I have been continually disappointed and amazed that (for over 20 years now) FrameMaker doesn’t have an outline view. (And before you tell me to try Structured FrameMaker, I’ve tried it. The Structure view isn’t even remotely close to an outliner.) In my opinion an outliner is one of the most useful and powerful authoring tools ever invented, and is the last major critical feature that FrameMaker doesn’t have.

     

    2. H - For conversion of a document and its hotlinks to PDF, add support for the "matrix" and "popup" commands in hypertext markers. These don’t currently make it through to the PDF. The matrix implementation would probably be straightforward. But for the "pop-up" implementation I don’t even know if the current PDF format can handle links in the form of popup menus; perhaps someone can enlighten me. The matrix command is extremely useful for making self-maintaining navigational buttons on master pages, because the matrix hypertext commands come from a text flow on a Reference page, which in turn can come from auto-updated cross-references which echo chapter numbers and such, or from an alternative imported Reference page. When I started to distribute my 60-manual set of books in PDF format (previously distributed in FrameViewer format) I had to replace a set of self-maintaining matrix buttons with hardcoded gotolink buttons that are labour-intensive to maintain. If I could use matrix buttons again (even a simple 1x1 matrix that consists of one cell) it would save a lot of time in my document finishing procedure, and reduce the potential for error.

     

    3. H - Macro recording and playback, integrated with scripting. It has to be dependable. I do my writing in Windows FM8, and my semi-automated document finishing procedure in UNIX FM8 because of its macro and fmbatch scripting capabilities. Now that Windows FM 10 has scripting I have the opportunity to replicate my UNIX scripts on Windows (and be ready for when my UNIX box eventually dies), but I am dreading the migration. After hearing about problems with moving the focus between the document window and pop-ups (and rather crucially back into the document window) on Windows I am fearful that the automation will simply stop or abort at some point. On UNIX I can type a single command (which in turn launches a series of unattended fmbatch commands) and come back 8 hours later to a collection of 60 large PDF files. I don’t want to replace that command with a two-week interactive waste of time, so the macro and scripting playback on Windows will have to be rock solid, like it is on UNIX.

     

    4. M - In the File menu, make the list of recently opened files longer. In FM8 it holds 5, when I need about 50. And the filename should be followed by the name of the parent folder. Like many managers of very large manual suites, I use the same standard names for many files (manIX.fm, etc.) in order to standardise my stylesheet’s navigation buttons, and the files reside in different directories. In the File menu listing I can’t tell them apart.

     

    5. M - Fix the "None" cursor blink rate bug. You know, the one that makes FrameMaker freeze at 60 minutes (or the autosave time, whichever is sooner) if you set the cursor blink rate to "None" in the Windows keyboard settings. Putting aside the questionable logic of designing a visible insertion point indicator that is in fact invisible 50% of the time, I work fast, and when my eyes are flitting quickly between three screens and umpteen windows thousands of times a day, half a second is a long time to wait for the cursor to show up just to see where I’ve left it. All the little delays add up to one big annoyance and it slows me down. Making it blink faster just adds to the animation noise that I try to keep to a minimum so I can concentrate on my work. Have you ever tried reading a book while a friend flicks their fingers at your face? Distracting isn’t it? Would it really be so hard to make the cursor just sit still quietly with a solid user-defined colour and thickness so we can still see it without all the hyperactivity?

     

    6. L - Add the ability to interrogate the properties of a highlighted character to see exactly what it is (Unicode slot number and UTF-8 slot number). Many a time I have tried to tell the difference between different characters that look identical (quotes, rings, certain English and Russian characters, etc.), and I end up entering a hex code guess into the Find facility just to see if it can find the character that I’m looking at.

     

    7. L - Add the ability for ordinary international power users to see and use FrameMaker’s existing Asian language features (menu option Format > Document > Combined Fonts). This feature exists - why hide it? Many of us work on global documents nowadays. We shouldn’t have to use a localised operating system or hack the AsianFonts parameter in the $FMHOME/fminit/configui/cmds.cfg file just to get the menu option to show up in the interface. I gave this a Low priority because I already have a workaround - I hacked the cmds.cfg file myself because I needed to produce some Chinese documents on my English system.

     

    8. L - Add a paragraph attribute for right-indenting the Last line of a paragraph independently of the paragraphs’s general right-indent. This could be similar to the "First" line left-indent capability, but would work as a right-indent on the last line. This would be useful for entries in the TOC so that the page number area on the right-hand side doesn’t get cluttered up with the preceding text, for entries that are more than one line long. I gave this a low priority because I can get similar behaviour by using certain insane values for Word Spacing in the Advanced paragraph attributes, but it feels risky to do it this way and is not as reliable as a dedicated feature would be.

     

    9.-10. Reserved for some other major forgotten issues that are sure to come to me a few seconds after I submit this.

     

    Thanks for collecting all this feedback.

    It increases my respect and future hope for the product, even if not all of my ideas get implemented.

    Unless of course you ignore the request for the outliner. ;-)

     

    Email address: dhayes at geotrace dot com

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 3, 2012 9:01 AM   in reply to jaloren28

    "FrameMaker should be converted into a true XML authoring environment. ... When I upgrade to the latest version of FrameMaker, all my binary files should be converted into XML documents."

     

    No way. Most FrameMaker templates I've worked on could not possibly be converted to XML automatically. Even my own templates, which I designed to be easily migrated to DocBook or DITA, could not be automatically converted.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 3, 2012 3:17 PM   in reply to rlauriston

    "No way. Most FrameMaker templates I've worked on could not possibly be converted to XML automatically. Even my own templates, which I designed to be easily migrated to DocBook or DITA, could not be automatically converted."

     

    While I acknowledge I could be wrong about this, I am highly skeptical that that is the case. If you know the data model, and the structure is static and predictable, then there is no reason in principle that that structure can't be mapped to some other data model, which is also static and predictable.  However, even if you are right about that, then all that means is that FrameMaker needs to support a legacy environment that is turned on by default so that when you upgrade nothing is converted over but if you enable an option then the conversion starts happening automatically.

     

    In any case, the point is that FrameMaker fundamentally needs to be an XML authoring environment instead of XML authoring kinda sorta supported if you are willing to bite the bullet and convert to structured FM (which increasingly few people can do because the cost is so high, its hard to make a business case for most people. I know I can't and I have looked into this extensively.  Adobe has tried to pretend that converting over to structured authoring is easy but in order to do this they have to have SEVEN webinars or a 7 hour training session just to give the basics.). While a huge change, I believe this one architectural change will provide the framework to address many of the other problems and competitive disadvantages framemaker has with other products out there.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 3, 2012 4:14 PM   in reply to jaloren28

    "If you know the data model, and the structure is static and predictable, then there is no reason in principle that that structure can't be mapped to some other data model ..."

     

    Most of the FrameMaker docs I've inherited over the years have an insane number of styles that are not used consistently. Picking one large old book at random, there are around 100 paragraph tags and 20 character tags. No algorithm could figure out how to map most of them to DITA tags.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 3, 2012 5:41 PM   in reply to rlauriston

    "Most of the FrameMaker docs I've inherited over the years have an insane number of styles that are not used consistently. Picking one large old book at random, there are around 100 paragraph tags and 20 character tags. No algorithm could figure out how to map most of them to DITA tags."

     

    This is getting a bit far a field so I'll just end with this note. I wasn't talking about DITA's structure, which is incredibly restrictive (there's a reason I haven't adopted that myself). I am talking about a native XML authoring enviornment for FrameMaker. I don't care what that structure per se is as long as its an XML structure that conforms to a schema. Adobe should presumably be able to create whatever XML data model they want and then convert the binary FrameMaker data model to the XML model. They should be able to do this because its their data model. I am not saying it would be easy but I don't think there's any technical reason why it couldn't be done.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 4, 2012 3:17 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    Some suggestions for improvement of FrameMaker

     

    1. The Find/Change dialogue box is both too small & the displayed characters

    are too indistinct to pick up errors e.g. if you type "Cornfield" it should

    ALWAYS be clearly distinguishable from "Comfield"

    The quotation marks are not uniformly displayed. I know one can change the

    windows setting, but this fix changes everything. Perhaps a special 16 pt.

    fixed pitch serif font might work.

     

    1. New Feature: It would be useful to have guides which "grow" from the top

    or side as in Photoshop.

     

    1. A fuller explanation of errors, e.g. "FrameMaker has encountered a

    problem and needs to close" is not good enough. What do the numbers mean?

     

    1. New Feature: The ability to generate a flight of endnotes

     

    1. <cntrl> L does not always work. Footnote separator line sometimes

    appears, sometimes not.

     

    1. Frame needs better page logic, footnotes should be able to break and not

    <sometimes> appear on the page following the footnote call. The easiest fix

    would be the ability to have several footnotes on the same line. Thus

    '                             1 Ibid                            2 Ibid

    3Shell, "Suggestions".

     

    1. The color selection dropdown list is very slippery. If one has somehow

    imported many colors it is very hard to isolate colors which are redundant.

    The cursor skids to top or bottom.

     

    1. The paragraph format dialogue is sometimes shy about appearing. The Para

    designer is probably the most used (for me anyway) and any stability issues

    here are disconcerting.

     

    8 The dialogue boxes in the advanced <T> screen of the para designer does

    not sort it's call topics

    If you have many call topics it's a pain to find one. Instead they are

    listed in order of placement. Thus, if you have a picture of a zoo which you

    use often and placed first. Zoo remains at the top of the list.

     

    1. New feature: a preflight test run for books or long documents. It's not

    useful that on printing page 1,000 I am told there is an error, or no

    1. PageMaker did this very well.

     

    10 New feature: FrameMaker should be able to make use of multiprocessors.

     

    1. The multiple screen display is also poor when using a dialogue display

    which stretches across both screens.

     

    1. Get rid of the "The font has changed" message. It hasn't, it won't.

     

    Rob Shell

    Windows Seven

    FrameMaker 9 patched

    4 GB RAM

    3 TB hd

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 4, 2012 3:41 PM   in reply to Rob from Mustang land

    "I am talking about a native XML authoring enviornment for FrameMaker. I don't carewhat that structure per se is as long as its an XML structure that conforms to a schema. Adobe should presumably be able to create whatever XML data model they want and then convert the binary FrameMaker data model to the XML model."

     

    It would be trivial to convert FrameMaker documents to an XML model derived from MIF, but what would be the benefit of converting a mess of FrameMaker tags to a mess of XML tags?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 4, 2012 5:09 PM   in reply to rlauriston

    Version control, data structures, and publication formats.

     

    I currently place framemaker files in SVN and that works decently but because they are binary files I can't ever do diffs and FrameMaker's built in diffing capabilities is incredibly clunky and doesn't scale well at all. Furthermore, hello binary bloat ini the source control repository.

     

    In my opinion, FrameMaker's core competitive disadvantage is that the Book to PDF paradigm is dead. By that I do not mean PDFs and user guides are dead, I mean that instead of having only one format to publish to (PDF) and data structure (user guide or book) there are many other publication formats and data formats (e.g knowledge base) that are of co-equal importance.

    As long as one stays strictly within book-to-PDF only paradigm, FrameMaker is awesome. The moment you go outside of that FrameMaker becomes very, very clunky, where you need to either use special tools (like Mif2Go) or use RoboHelp as a publishing engine (which has its own pain let me tell you).  One of the things i love most about FrameMaker is its powerful single sourcing capabilities. I want to use FrameMaker to be a single repository of all my content and I want to be able to publish that content in whatever format i choose. I believe one way to do this is to make FrameMaker a true XML authoring environment and use a powerful XSLT engine to convert the content into whatever format I want. The benefit of this particular approach is that its not just a solution but its an extensible framework. In theory, if the next hot format and data structure comes out tomorrow, I should be able to contract out,  design myself, or buy an XSLT that will generate the output that I desire.

     

    Put another away if I didn't need acrobat professional to handle PDFs, I would have switched to a tool like Flare a long time ago. If there comes a day when my audience no longer needs or cares about PDFs, that's the day I get rid of FrameMaker. That day isn't now but that could quite easily happen in the next 5 to 10 years. I really like FrameMaker but it has failed to stay current with needs of technical communication industry and its only stayed alive because of a currently large dedicated user base and because PDFs are still one of the primary modes of communication.  I predict that when the later goes away, so will the former unless Adobe can present a value proposition that no longer relies on vendor lock in and PDF usage.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 5, 2012 2:04 AM   in reply to Mike Wickham

    Mike Wickham 29. Apr 22, 2012 11:17 PM

     

    12. (M) I'd like to be able to change the default marker color. More than once, I have deleted text and accidentally deleted an unnoticed marker in it. If the marker color was different than the text, it would stand out more and help prevent this error.

    Among all the other requests presented on this forum: this is an old desire for me. For FM-8 i had modified th FM-internal cursors (see my website). There is, however, no chance to modifiy the location cursor (single pix vertical line). This is generated on the fly depending on the font hight (or equation hight). My request would be to have a setting in maker.ini (2 pixels wide, colour magenta):

    LocationCursor = 2, magenta

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2012 1:01 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    Hi Kapil,

     

    Nice talking with you and Tom at CMS/DITA North America!

     

    Lots of great suggestions and requests here. I have only three:

     

    • Please, please, please buy IXGen from Frank Stearns and incorporate it into FrameMaker, as John Sgammato and others have so wisely suggested.
    • Please buy Enhance for FrameMaker from Sandy Brook Software and incorporate it into FrameMaker to add an outline view, a la Microsoft Word.
    • Please fix the "phantom table" problem once and for all. If a table spans several pages, FrameMaker (yes, even version 10) sometimes makes a duplicate of it, but you cannot edit the "ghost" image of the table. You can tell this happens if the document's page count suddenly increases unexpectedly. The only solution is to highlight the real table, press CTRL-X (cut), and paste it back into the document again.

     

    Thank you for asking,

    Lance

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 5:31 AM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    Hi everyone. I am going to have 2 posts. The first is my list of the bugs that drive me nuts and that I spend far too much time dealing with. I am still using FM9, but I highly doubt these issues have been fixed...unless someone can tell me otherwise. I read through all the other requests and suggestions and as far as I could see no one else mentioned these:

     

    1. Conditonal Text, when you press enter the conditional text is not saved on the hard return.When we bought FM9, this became a problem. I did submit a bug a long time ago. Basically, when you are in the middle of a section of already conditionalized text, and then add something and press enter, the hard return does not retain the conditional text. This is a huge pain because we have many different products and once you have set up a paragraph to have X and Y conditional text, I want the hard return to keep that same conditional text.

     

    2. Probably related to the GUI usability issues, but I have huge problems with FM9 crashing when I click a tab/pod in some mysterious wrong order. I have not even found the pattern for this, but essentially, I might have a bunch of documents open, and I realize I need to apply conditional text. Then I click the pod and the 'Framemaker has detected a serious error and must close' message comes up. And of course all the open files are closed and locked and I often have to go hunting for those files again because when I reopen FM it does not recover/open the files that were open.

     

    3. I want a STOP button. We have lots of text insets over a network and sometimes there is absolutely no way to know if FM has stopped working or if it is just taking a long time. The only way to stop this is to close FM. It would be fabulous to be able to stop an update or stop a process, especially when you cannot tell what is going on in the background. Perhaps a progress log, a progess bar or anything to help with this.

     

    4. Text insets - Cannot start a text inset with a header paragraph font, for example. When you update the text inset this header tag is appended to the end, creating an empty paragraph tag, when when we conver to HTML brings up empty pages...I have to manually go through every single page of every document when we are preparing for a release to hunt for these extra hard returns, and I have to do fancy things (like add a body text tag at the beginning of a text inset) to make it work temporarily until we 'flatten' the text insets. Again, some kind of clean up program would be an option.

     

    5. Text insets bleed into the cross reference markers and make them disappear or remove them entirely. If you don't add a hard return at the end of a text inset, it hooks onto/bleeds into the heading on the next page, and if there is a cross reference marker there, it can easily be lost. I have another fancy fix for this. I have to manually cut and paste the marker and move it in from the margin onto the text so that it doesn't get lost or deleted with the text inset before it.

     

    6. Save as PDF - super duper problems with this trying to prepare for print. I have finally figured out the recent issue that crashed my system over and over. I had to copy all my files to my hard drive and create a non network login. The problem seemed to be related to the roaming profile that was searching for my job options in different places (I guess).

     

    7. Much much more control over all the format importing and searching and updating....when I import a new set of paragraph formats, for example, I should be able to replace all the old ones, and not retain unused styles. You have to manually go into every document to remove the ones that are not used anymore, and thus to make sure that people do not use these in error (problematic for html conversion for example). I would like to be able to search for and remove these unwanted/unused formats in a much more controlled way.

     

    8. Book in a book bug. I have set up books within books to enable quick and easy navigation. This is fine by itself, but I have discovered that if that book is open at the same time as a standard book with documents, and I do an update, it opens EVERY SINGLE BOOK in the book within book file, and then because we are on a network, it basically freezes everything because it is trying to open all the cross references, all the text insets, everywhere....and then I cannot stop this process and then I have to go to every single folder to delete the locked file that has now been created by this book in a book ....

     

    9. I also concur with the complaints about the document prompting to save because it thinks there were changes, when all that happened was you opened it. Along these lines, it would be nice to be able to skip messages like this, for example, if I am updating styles across 200 documents, I don't want to have to click OK every time I am asked if it is okay to save/history etc. I cannot leave my computer when I do a global thing like this because it is waiting for me to click ok for every document.

     

    10. I also would like the popular plugins put into FM, like the Silicon Prairie paragraph tools. But this is for the next post where I list the feature requests!

     

    you can reach me at amandawood@comsol.com

     
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    May 9, 2012 8:00 AM   in reply to Amanda Wood

    As an addendum to my post, I have just had a demonstration about FM10 and items 9 seems to have been addressed. Item 7 is partially addressed (for a document by document basis). However, I still see a value for global updates and replacements by book.

     
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    May 9, 2012 9:57 AM   in reply to Amanda Wood

    Dear Amanda:

    Thanks for the excellent post. If everyone wrote as clearly as you, FM9 would be as smooth as silk.

     

    You write about “save as pdf”

    I have used every Adobe product back to PageMaker and I can assure you, it simply does not work, except for short files, such as a letter.

    Print to .ps and then use distiller. NEVER use save as ,pdf.

     

    Second, you write about a progress bar. This is an excellent suggestion,

    Are you using graphics which are embedded?  This is another VERBOTEN process I have learnt to my great disadvantage.

    If you use referenced graphics the wait time is reduced 20x. The links are stable.

     

    All the best and keep writing

    Rob

     
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    May 9, 2012 9:59 AM   in reply to Rob from Mustang land

    "I have used every Adobe product back to PageMaker and I can assure you, it simply does not work, except for short files, such as a letter. Print to .ps and then use distiller. NEVER use save as ,pdf."

     

    I've had no problems with saving as PDF since maybe FrameMaker 6, not even with 2000-page books.

     
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    May 9, 2012 11:15 AM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    Hi, I would really like to see the following items implemented:

     

    1. Add Global variables to the program.  I can't believe that FM dosen't already have this.

     

    2. When a PDF is imported as a graphic, automatically create an eps, in the same directory as the graphic, to use in the display.  This will improve the display speed.  Displaying a single PDF in FM can cometimes take several minutes.  Two back to back pdf graphics (or other non-eps graphics) can sometimes lock the program up.

     

    3. Try to create a common menu system between adobe programs.  I know your latest PR says that you have, but I don't see it.  Even in something as easy as the "File" menu, where there are a lot of commonalities between the programs, the differences are huge and unnecessary.  It would be fantastic is things as simple as File Save, Open, Close Previous, Zoom , Pan, etc could be in the same place in all programs.

     

    4. The changes you make in the next version should focus on ease of use, not adding new features.  There is a fringe group that will always want more features, but your market base, which is where your money comes from, just want it to be easier to use.

     

    Good Luck!

     
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    May 9, 2012 12:40 PM   in reply to StreamFlow

    Dear FM:

    1.     I can heartily endorse a progress bar for all lengthy jobs.

    2.     Make FrameMaker like other Adobe programs in file menus (endorsing previous post),

    3.     colour libraries and calibration and libraries of clipart should all be common.

    Rob Shell

     
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    May 9, 2012 2:26 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    I have already posted but i feel this deserves a separate post. Please, please, please get rid of your adobe community help. The help system integration is a living nightmare that SIGNIFICANTLY AND NEGATIVELY impacts my productivity on a daily basis. I would settle for a complete removal of the help system and instead when I click the help topics button a PDF of the help just comes up. Or alternatively just provide a generic web help with a link to the pdf. However, what I loathe with a fiery passion, is that when I select the help topics button, it takes literally MINUTES to load the community web help and many seconds to do any navigation or searching.

     

    I don't care about web 2.0.

    I don't care about collaborative authoring and help.

    I don't care abou forums.

    I don't care about instantly updated help.

     

    All i want is a PDF or web help that comes up when I click on it and does not lag noticeably when I navigate through or search through it.

     
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    May 9, 2012 11:11 PM   in reply to Rob from Mustang land

    Hi Rob! Thanks for the kind words...For basic PDF I use the print to PDF no problem (well, never say no problem...). But we have these fancy books with pretty colors that require the CMYK conversion stuff and, at least for FM9, saving as PDF is the only way to do this. I recently saw a post on this forum about a freeware program to help with this very soon (http://forums.adobe.com/message/4364571#4364571) but when I had a look at the information, it confused me even more....

     

    Another note about Saving to PDF. I am on Windows 7, FM9, 64 bit machine. To make the Save as PDF work in a reasonable amount of time, I copy absolutely everything (I always use referenced graphics) onto my c:drive, remove all text insets, and then when I redirect the file path to the new local image folder, the Save as PDF seems to take less time. I did, as mentioned, have to detach myself from the network (this was a recent need) in order to eliminate the roaming profile issue, but I did make it work! Something else I learned about this process, again, just an FYI for everyone, is that if you go to the folder in Windows where you are generating the PDF, you can watch the tps (temporary ps) file be created, which then confirms that the process is working. Then there is a tpdf (temporary pdf) file that displays and finally your end PDF. If you just sit and watch Framemaker's hour glass, you will never know if it is working and perhaps will close it down in frustration.

     

    I will be back later with some additional suggestions.

     
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    May 10, 2012 7:14 AM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    Hi Kapil,

     

    A simple request, and perhaps this is already possible?

     

    I would like to have custom building blocks for autonumbering.

     

    Currently we have three choices (for non-Asian numbering): <n>, <a>, and <r>.

     

    I would like the ability to define my own base numbering system, for example <h> for hexidecimal or <o> for octal, and then have that choice show up in the numbering panel of the paragraph designer.

     

    Is this possible?

     

    Thanks,

     

    Jason

     
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    May 10, 2012 7:35 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma
    • Hi Kapil,

     

    High Priority - introduce style inheritance for unstructured documents. The simplest presentation (from a document creation/maintenance POV) would be a style list with graphical linking; a tree structure showing the basic style elements, and the pertinent variations.

     

    Example:

     

    Body [MinionPro 11 pt, 0 lines above, 0.5 lines below, US English]

         |---> Bullet1 [Bullet, indent 6mm]

         |          |---> Bullet2 [indent 12mm]

         |---> IndentedBody [indent 6mm]

         |---> List 1. [autonumber: < ><n+>\t< =0>< =0>< =0>< =0>, indent 6mm]

         |          |---> List (a) [autonumber: < >< >< >(<a+>)\t< =0>< >, indent 12mm]

         |          |---> List ( i) [autonumber: < >< >< >< >\t(<r+>)\t< ><, indent 18mm]     

         ...

     

    This gives the user the ability to:

    • make global changes based on known consequences,
    • easily spot anomalies,
    • introduce new styles without unintentionally impacting existing styles.

     

     

     

    Laurence Burrows

     
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    May 11, 2012 7:52 AM   in reply to Laurence Burrows

    Laurence Burrows wrote:

     

    • Hi Kapil,

     

    High Priority - introduce style inheritance for unstructured documents. The simplest presentation (from a document creation/maintenance POV) would be a style list with graphical linking; a tree structure showing the basic style elements, and the pertinent variations.

     

    Example:

     

    Body [MinionPro 11 pt, 0 lines above, 0.5 lines below, US English]

         |---> Bullet1 [Bullet, indent 6mm]

         |          |---> Bullet2 [indent 12mm]

         |---> IndentedBody [indent 6mm]

         |---> List 1. [autonumber: < ><n+>\t< =0>< =0>< =0>< =0>, indent 6mm]

         |          |---> List (a) [autonumber: < >< >< >(<a+>)\t< =0>< >, indent 12mm]

         |          |---> List ( i) [autonumber: < >< >< >< >\t(<r+>)\t< ><, indent 18mm]     

         ...

     

    This gives the user the ability to:

    • make global changes based on known consequences,
    • easily spot anomalies,
    • introduce new styles without unintentionally impacting existing styles.

     

     

     

    Laurence Burrows

    This makes me think of asking for a structured FM feature in ununstructured, namely context formatting rules built into paragraph formats (and perhaps others.) The main one I have in mind is a paragraph format property for numbered or bulleted lists that is enabled when a paragraph it's applied to meets the rule's criteria for first-in-list, last-in-list, notfirst-notlast-in list. This relieves authors from having to manually retag list items, to maintain whatever special properties are defined for first, middle, and last paragraphs, that use the same series identifier, when they change positions in a list.

     

     

    Regards,

     

     

    Peter

    _______________________

    Peter Gold

    KnowHow ProServices

     
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    May 15, 2012 1:03 PM   in reply to rlauriston

    I am using FrameMaker 9. So, maybe this was corrected in v10.

     

    It is very convenient to use Ctrl+Alt+click to follow a cross-reference to its target. This works just fine.

     

    But when I Ctrl+Alt+click a cross-reference to a target in ANOTHER document, FrameMaker CLOSES, the document with the cross-reference, opens the other document, and scrolls the second document to the target of the reference. In general, I do NOT want the FIRST document to close, because I also want to check other cross-references in that document. A good example is checking the links in an index. Just leave the first document open and let me close it when I want.

     

    Thanks,

    Van

     
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    May 17, 2012 10:59 PM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    Peter,

     

    I'd support your ideas as well.

     

    What I find frustrating is using Lotus WordPro 9.8.6 (last upgraded by IBM in 1998!) and seeing that style inheritance couldn't be easier!

     

    WordPro was a development from AmiPro and included many FrameMaker features (including frames). Not surprisingly, many of the developers had worked on Frame....

     

    See the WordPro screen snap below:

     

    WordPro Styles.jpg


    Regards, Laurence Burrows

     
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    Jun 13, 2012 5:41 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    Hi Kapil,

    Many thanks for the opportunity to provide input. Most of the writers in our group use Frame 9.  Here are our 10 requests, condensed from a list of 30:

    1.  More stability!!!  In version 9, FrameMaker crashes have increased quite a lot (“FrameMaker has detected a serious error and must close” message.) It happens quite often when doing a lot of copy/paste, or many files are open at the same time.

     

    2.  During spell checks, support some way to deal with ":" ".name" and other syntax (/-* etc.) without getting flagged every time.  Rather than always telling you that you cannot "OK" that item, it should either allow singletons to be "OK'd" or let you  create custom formatting (such as "<char> <sp> .<char>" for example).

     

    3.  Support Docbook again!   ~(:-o

     

    4.  Add “repeat last action” capability.  Keyboard shortcuts are good, but they are specific. It would be great to have a quick way to repeat any action.

     

    5.  Add more options for creating and formatting tables.  For example, there should be an option where you can right click on any table cell and create a table within it, and other options that join tables together, split one table into two, change heading row to body row, and vice versa.

     

    6.  Enhance native graphics features to ease creation of illustrations.  The Frame drawing tools are terrible!  The whole thing can do with a revamp.  This would include:

        - Support for a shapes library with some standard shapes that we can drag and drop (think Visio stencils)
        - The ability to move objects using only arrow key instead of alt+arrow
        - When an object is selected, display the properties in the toolbar instead of having to view object properties
        - Ability to choose a fill color and a different color for the outline of a shape in the same step

     

    7.  Support for capturing keyboard Macros (similar to Microsoft Word), both at book level and file level.  Oh yeah.

     

    8.  Allow a single row to break across pages.  We sometimes want to create a new row for the next page and split the contents but, when we conditionalize and hide some of the content, the two rows appear on the same page and it makes the table messy. Ideally, they should be in the same row.

     

    9.  Revert to using Magenta for the color for all overlapping condition tags.  In Frame 9, it generates weird colors for all unique combinations of condition tags.  The many “fm_gen_<number>” colors in the color list are meaningless and really gum up the works.  At the very least, move all Frame-generated colors to the very bottom of the colors list.

     

    10. Allow us to set a paste choice as the new default; we want to set the default without closing the tool to edit fminit (maybe through the Paste Special dialog or the Preferences window?).

     
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    Jun 27, 2012 10:37 AM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    X to close the book window

     

    Add an X to the book window tab or to the icons below the tab, for closing the book. This would be a small change, but very helpful. I know you can right-click and select Close, but an X would be faster because it's one less click. I feel like I'm always looking for an X, but it's not there.

     
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    Jun 27, 2012 11:18 AM   in reply to Bill at HNS

    Move graphics files with text

     

    I assume most users do what we do and import graphics "by reference." This means if you copy text that includes graphics from one book to another, you have to (1) copy the text, (2) move the graphics files, and (3) reimport the graphics into the chapter. So, if you want to move a section or multiple paragraphs to another book, and this text includes graphics, it's a real pain.

     

    If Frame had a Copy with graphics option that you could toggle on or off, this would be a huge improvement. What I mean is, Frame would copy the actual graphics files to a folder you specifiy. And when you're done the links to graphics in the text are maintained. You could seamlessly, painlessly move both text and graphics in one operation.

     

    If most users don't import graphics "by reference," Adobe might not have much incentive to do this, but if this is what most users do, Copy with graphics would be a huge improvement.

     
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    Jul 6, 2012 9:05 AM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    You absolutely need to add a Packaging feature, exactly like the Packaging feature in InDesign.   There's the Bruce Foster's Archive plugin but Bruce has passed away and his website, where you could download the plugin, is no longer in existence.  The fact that InDesign has this packaging feature, a fellow Adobe product, and Framemaker doesn't, is absolutely insane. 

     

    When will Framemaker 11 be released?

     
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    Jul 6, 2012 10:07 AM   in reply to StreamFlow

    I recently discovered what I can only assume is an awful bug in the FrameMaker API. I have learned that there is no way through an API to programmatically control the PDF settings (e.g default Zoom level, bookmark hierarchy etc). Consequently, to control those things, you must write a script that converts the FrameMaker file to MIF, modify the MIF file, and then save file back as a FrameMaker file. This makes writing a batch PDF script a living nightmare.  So I am requesting that the ExtendScript be enhanced so that I can control these settings by updating properties in the Book Object.  Thanks, Joe

     
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    Oct 26, 2012 6:16 AM   in reply to jaloren28

    I'll add a few items. The first are my highest priority items. Any of these would probably persaude me to upgrade from FM 10. The first three have already been requested:

     

    • An outliner.
    • Style inheritance
    • Better Word import/export
    • Regular expressions in find and replace
    • Expand/collapse markers inline (better yet, just buy and integrate IXgen!)
    • A real dialog box for building index expressions (similar to Word's)

     

    The following items are lower priority for me:

     

    • Text-only view (no headers/footers) in unstructured mode (like Word).
    • A skin designer for the FM interface.
    • Coloured icons in the toolbars (that grey look is depressing and hard to use).
    • Multi-select on PDF bookmarks selection dialog.
    • Copy one or more paragraph or character styles between documents.
    • Fix the screen refresh. No more CTRL-L!
    • Smart cross references (like Flare’s).
    • A count [object] marker.
    • Easy page x of y.
    • A general numbering marker like Word’s SEQ field that could be used anywhere.
    • Better HTML export.
    • Direct EPUB output (without RoboHelp or TCS 4)
    • Different symbols for different markers or ability to colour markers.

     

    I will also second the general requests for more and better documentation, especially of ExtendScript.

     

    Regards

    Keith

     
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    Oct 26, 2012 2:45 PM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    Support book-level settings that would override ALL formats for all documents in a book.

     

    Ideally those formats would be stored in the .book file.

     

    If that's not possible, have a document setting that would disable the local formats and use those for a specified file, and make it possible to set that for all documents in a book with one command.

     
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    Nov 5, 2012 8:08 AM   in reply to Kapil_Verma

    I would like some productivity enhancements based on long-standing features of other Adobe page-layout programs.

    1. Linked graphics panel. A list of all graphics in a file, with page numbers and file format. Users should be able to update individual instances of graphics (including linking to a different file) from this panel.

    2. Export linked graphics. Users should be able to export all graphics in a file to a new location.

    3. Updating graphics when opening a file. Framemaker should recognize all linked graphics in a folder when one is updated, no matter in what order the graphics appear in the file.

    4. Saving link locations. Once the user has told Framemaker where to find linked graphics, it should not ask again on subsequent openings of the file unless files are missing, have been moved, or have been modified.

    5. Zoom with control +, control -, and control 0. It's standard in every other Adobe program I use, why not Framemaker?

     
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    Nov 5, 2012 9:25 AM   in reply to zepvideo

    I'd vote for these.


    zepvideo wrote:

     

    I would like some productivity enhancements based on long-standing features of other Adobe page-layout programs.

    1. Linked graphics panel. A list of all graphics in a file, with page numbers and file format. Users should be able to update individual instances of graphics (including linking to a different file) from this panel.

    2. Export linked graphics. Users should be able to export all graphics in a file to a new location.

    3. Updating graphics when opening a file. Framemaker should recognize all linked graphics in a folder when one is updated, no matter in what order the graphics appear in the file.

    4. Saving link locations. Once the user has told Framemaker where to find linked graphics, it should not ask again on subsequent openings of the file unless files are missing, have been moved, or have been modified.

    5. Zoom with control +, control -, and control 0. It's standard in every other Adobe program I use, why not Framemaker?

     
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    Nov 5, 2012 9:35 AM   in reply to zepvideo

    @zepvideo: I agree with 1, 2, and 5 completely. 3 and 4 I believe are

    already present but hard to find/use and sometimes behave inconsistently.

    For example, graphic links will occasionally be lost (might have something

    to do with FM mixing relative with absolute links).

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 8:06 AM   in reply to kmacdowe+brdcom

    1. Change to XML natively. Some of us worried about Framemaker's future would like an ability to use other XML editors to open our programs if FM goes away. It also allows us MAC users to author in boot camp but use some MAC program to open the files.

    2. Along that line: Mac version

    3. ePub and XHTML output without Robohelp.

    4. Develop PDF like format that allows font embedding but has text reflow capabilities. This format, like PDF, should have vector image embedding capabilities (but not SVG only)

    5. Make docking more like InDesign. I frequently have to go through hoops to expand the structure and elements view because I opened up some other tool and they got squished. Despite the tab views, I think this got worse with recent versions (v11)

    6. Project packaging

    7. Better word output without having to use mif2go

    8. Paragraph styles based on other styles, and I would second request for ability to define style behavior by rules, as can be done in structured fm with bullet paragraph styles, numbered styles, etc.

     
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