5 Replies Latest reply on Nov 16, 2007 10:51 AM by (Timothy_Heck)

    "Light" version of FrameMaker

      To avoid the time-consuming and costly task of converting to and from FrameMaker (usually with Word at the other end), could we get a "light" version of FrameMaker that allows Subject Matter Experts to create content without designing styles or layout? For unstructured FrameMaker, this would mean giving them access to the paragraph and character format catalogues, but not the paragraph and character format designers. For structured FrameMaker, you could think of the light version as an XML editor; they can use the defined structure but not change it. If you then sold the "light" version for half the price or less than the full version, you'd make a lot of sales. You might even give Word some stiff competition.

      Fei Min Lorente

      p.s. I realize that structured FrameMaker allows one to save the file as XML and SMEs can use any XML editor, but some of them prefer a WYSIWYG environment, and that's hard to set up for most XML editors if one has created a customized structure. This is less of a problem for people using DocBook or DITA that might be predefined in the XML editor, but not everyone uses DocBook or DITA.
        • 1. Re: "Light" version of FrameMaker
          Arnis Gubins Adobe Community Professional & MVP
          Fei Min,

          FWIW, you already can turn off any features that you don't need via
          the config files (found in the fminit\configui folder) - this
          includes standard menu items, context menus, keyboard shortcuts,
          toolbar items, etc. For example, try the View > Menus > Quick option
          and check out the GUI after that's applied.

          The online manual "Customizing_Frame_products.pdf" describes how to
          modify the GUI. Also, Shlomo Perets' ToolBarPlus Express available for
          a nominal fee at http://www.microtype.com/resources.html, is an
          excellent starting point to give you a customization environment.
          • 2. Re: "Light" version of FrameMaker
            I would like to second Fei Min's request. This is the second most requested feature request I've encountered over the past 19 years. If Adobe had a "chopped" version of FrameMaker (that could not be tricked into giving you a full license), there are a lot of SMEs that would use the LITE version for simple edits and corrections.

            I have seen many sites where 9 or 10 full FrameMaker licenses are sold, and there are 40-50 SMEs who need to edit final content. The SMEs all stay in MS Word, and production is constricted by lack of an affordable, entry-level product (with no style/design creation capabilities.) I think that a LITE version of FrameMaker would significantly increase the customer base by allowing roundtripping to/from SMEs.
            • 3. Re: "Light" version of FrameMaker
              peter minneapolis Level 4
              In the olden days, FM offered a "floating license" option on UNIX. In Maxwell's example, the 10 licenses allow 10 simultaneous FM users. Licenses can be set to time out after x-amount of idle time. In addition, all users can see a list of current users, so it's possible to send email asking for anyone whose not actively using FM, to release the license.

              There are licensing tools for Windows software that could provide similar behavior. It's not likely that Adobe would re-engineer a FM floating-license model. FM on UNIX was sold with a single-user license at one price, and a nearly-double price for one floating license, making it economical for three or more users.

              HTH

              Regards,

              Peter Gold
              KnowHow ProServices
              • 4. Re: "Light" version of FrameMaker
                I'll mention that I once went through the exercise of creating a parallel Word template that would, at least in theory, allow non-FM users to create "Frame ready" content for import.

                But the engineers for whom the Word templates were designed found it too difficult and time-consuming to use named styles.

                Similarly, my experience is that unless it's aggressively enforced from the top of the organization, many SMEs have no desire to have to learn and use a particular tool, including Acrobat for reviewing purposes, for the sole purpose of interacting with FM-using writers.

                So I sceptical that a light version of FM would in the end add much value.

                One final note. I rely largely on exporting FM chapter files as Word RTFs for purposes of collecting review comments and input. As such, I'd just like to see the export filters work better. Moreover, I'd like to see FM export filters for the Open Document format used by OpenOffice 2, etc...
                • 5. Re: "Light" version of FrameMaker
                  Level 1
                  I agree with RvD: my experience has been that casual writers would rather just do things in Word, which they already have and know how to use (more or less).

                  A better import/export mechanism (e.g. with automatic mapping of standard and unexpected MSW formats to predefined Frame formats) would be much more relevant to my workflow.