A few questions from an intersted non-user :)

Enthusiast ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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Hi everyone,

I've recently completed a ~400pp book in InDesign; it had lots of varying content and I ran into some issues that (once again) caused some angst with design and development.

 

I've tried searching around but haven't found the answers here (and the Framemaker online help brings up WAY too many answers...)

So, here are a few things I'm hoping to find out about Framemaker:

 

1) How does it handle Styles in Book documents? ID only gives the option to synchronize to a single document, or import from an external document, but it must be done manually, and it's a one-way street. Ideally, there would be the equivalent of an external global CSS style sheet that a) allowed the user to modify it from within any document, and b) allowed the option to synchronize automatically, so changes in one Book file would immediately be applied to all files int the same Book document. Anything like global style sheet functionality in FM? How do you handle this?

 

This was really one of my main things because I didn't receive all the content at the same time, and some things I received later, believe it or not, required new/modified styles. 😉

 

2) If it allows programmatic re-ordering of Table of Contents items, so that they can be arranged by the user rather than by the order in which things appear on a page. (Same for Index, I guess!)

 

3) If there is more control over Endnotes than in ID, both in terms of where they appear (I'd prefer them to put them inline, for example) as well as conversion to standard content, if needed.

 

4) What makes it "Market-leading software for authoring and publishing technical content." ? I'm truly curious here as a lot of work I do (both design and content-wise) is technical documentation, but it's typically short-form, such as product specifications and installation instructions.

 

5) If you use both, what are your thoughts about the differences between the two? Are they ever used in the same project?

 

thank you!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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1) There is no automatic synchonization of styles (FrameMaker calls them formats) in a book. Any FrameMaker document can be used as a source for formats and formats can be selectively imported into any of the documents in the book.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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2) Tables of Contents and other types of "Generated Lists" (Lists of Figures, Tables, Paragraphs, etc.) always get their content in book/document order. Any reordering would have to be a post-processing step (perhaps with a script).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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3) FrameMaker has footnotes, but not endnotes.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 16, 2022 Jan 16, 2022

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Rick: 3) FrameMaker has footnotes, but not endnotes.

It's worth pointing out that FM claims to have ENs. The topic has been in the Help pages for several releases now.

But, it's just an elementary version of the same Xref hacks that framers have been using since the Corfield era. It's way far from automatic, but is wide open to custom implementations (per-chapter, all notes in own file, autonumber options, etc.)

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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Thanks @frameexpert  - looks like FM is a non-starter for me, then.

Hopefully these functions will be incorporated one day.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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@frameexpert is correct (as one would expect!)

From the InDesign viewpoint:

>>1) How does it handle Styles in Book documents? ID only gives the option to synchronize to a single document, ...

This is not accurate unless I'm misunderstanding your "single document" term. You can sync various settings to the entire book or just parts of the book at once. In general terms, this feature works similar to Frame.

 

>>2) If it allows programmatic re-ordering of Table of Contents items, so that they can be arranged by the user rather than by the order in which things appear on a page. 

This is not what I would call a TOC, but it's possible to use a few tricks to change the order. A little easier in ID than Frame, but both can do it. 

 

>>3) If there is more control over Endnotes than in ID, both in terms of where they appear (I'd prefer them to put them inline, for example) as well as conversion to standard content, if needed.

Not sure what you mean "inline". As FrameExpert noted, both support footnotes; InDesign supports endnotes at end of each chapter--not the book. 

 

>>4) What makes it "Market-leading software for authoring and publishing technical content." ? 

There are lots of differences, but

  • Frame's book file features are much better than ID's basic features.
  • Graphically and typographicly, ID's features are much better and much more powerful. 
  • Tables are more powerful in ID than Frame, and can link to Excel files. 
  • Both have variables and conditional text, but they are more powerful in Frame.
  • Both support XML, but Frame's handling is much, much greater. 

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. 

 

>>5) If you use both, what are your thoughts about the differences between the two? Are they ever used in the same project?

It wouldn't make sense to use both for the same project, but I have used them in the same company for different departments. I've done 1000-page books with each program. Just depends on what you want to do.

When using ID, I mutter to myself about how easy something would be in Frame; when using Frame, I mutter to myself about how easy it would be in InDesign. 

 

David Creamer
Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Certified Professional, and Adobe Certified Expert (since 1995)

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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Hi David - fancy seeing you here!

 

>>1) How does it handle Styles in Book documents? ID only gives the option to synchronize to a single document, ...

This is not accurate unless I'm missunderstanding your "single document" term. You can sync various settings to the entire book or just parts of the book at once. In general terms, this feature works similar to Frame.

 

I mean the Style Source document within a book.

Within a book file, there is obviously a document that's selected as the Style Source. This is the only document to which all others will sync, but only when instructed by the user to do so. So, theoretically, we could have a book with five chapters, the last four of which have never been synced, and have modified styles that don't match the ones in the style source.

 

Worse, if we add styles to any other document in the book, they must then be manually imported to the style source, then all chapters must be re-synchronized. This is, in my case, extraordinarily cumbersome and could be addressed by keeping a single, live style source referenced by all chapters in a book.

 

From a design standpoint, it would be a huge benefit to be able to keep multiple documents open to instananeously see how style changes in one appear in the others. I know that can be done manually, but with, say, 40 styles, all the manual back-and-forth is not only time consuming but also prone to user error. (Me.)

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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Oh, forgot the others 🙂

 

>>2) If it allows programmatic re-ordering of Table of Contents items, so that they can be arranged by the user rather than by the order in which things appear on a page. 

This is not what I would call a TOC, but it's possible to use a few tricks to change the order. A little easier in ID than Frame, but both can do it. 

 

Well, for example, there may be a need to reverse an author's name and a story title. It's still a TOC.

 

>>3) If there is more control over Endnotes than in ID, both in terms of where they appear (I'd prefer them to put them inline, for example) as well as conversion to standard content, if needed.

Not sure what you mean "inline". As FrameExpert noted, both support footnotes; InDesign supports endnotes at end of each chapter--not the book. 

 

Meaning I can simply generate it wherever I like - if I have a chapter with multiple stories, I only want endnotes at the end of the related story. Maybe there's a way to do this with footnotes, but it would be a workaround.

 

>>4) What makes it "Market-leading software for authoring and publishing technical content." ? 

There are lots of differences, but

  • Frame's book file features are much better than ID's basic features.
  • Graphically and typographicly, ID's features are much better and much more powerful. 
  • Tables are more powerful in ID than Frame, and can link to Excel files. 
  • Both have variables and conditional text, but they are more powerful in Frame.
  • Both support XML, but Frame's handling is much, much greater. 

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. 

 

Got it - sounds like even for technical stuff, I'll be sticking with ID.

 

>>5) If you use both, what are your thoughts about the differences between the two? Are they ever used in the same project?

It wouldn't make sense to use both for the same project, but I have used them in the same company for different departments. I've done 1000-page books with each program. Just depends on what you want to do.

When using ID, I mutter to myself about how easy something would be in Frame; when using Frame, I mutter to myself about how easy it would be in InDesign. 

 

Been there... thanks again

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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>>>Within a book file, there is obviously a document that's selected as the Style Source. This is the only document to which all others will sync, but only when instructed by the user to do so

That's pretty much how most modern programs work. As I like to say--that's why they call it "work" 😁.

If I recall correctly, Ventura Publisher and Interleaf used to use an external style sheet, so I know what you mean. And, HTML uses an external CSS file like that too. 

 

>>>and could be addressed by keeping a single, live style source referenced by all chapters in a book.

That's actually what I do--I keep a "Style Sheet" file as the last document in the book. In Frame, I can mark it not to output; In ID, I either remove it when generating the book or just delete those pages from the PDF afterwards. It's also useful in Frame because it doesn't use based-on styles, so I can select all the heading styles and change a global format. 

 

>>>Well, for example, there may be a need to reverse an author's name and a story title. It's still a TOC.

I see--I thought you wanted to change the order they occur on the page from one heading to another. What I've done in ID is to put a nonprinting box at the top of the page and use special styles for the TOC. The content is set up with variables linked to paragraph styles (similar to headers & footers). The TOC picks up the styles in the nonprinting box, not the ones on the page. 

David Creamer
Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Certified Professional, and Adobe Certified Expert (since 1995)

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