Adobe Framemaker V Indesign

Explorer ,
Sep 07, 2010 Sep 07, 2010

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Hi,

Probably a daft question, but:

What can Framemaker do that cannot be done in Indesign?

Reason I ask is that I am proficient in Indesign for years now, and I am doing a Masters degree at the moment.

The application that is being used in the course is Framemaker, so I am simply wondering what is the difference between them?

I have installed the trial version of Framemaker and I cannot see what the target audience would be for this application.

Any insight into the intended users of Framemaker would be appreciated so I can understand it better.

Regards

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Mentor ,
Sep 07, 2010 Sep 07, 2010

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Macnimation wrote:

Hi,

Probably a daft question, but:

What can Framemaker do that cannot be done in Indesign?

Reason I ask is that I am proficient in Indesign for years now, and I am doing a Masters degree at the moment.

The application that is being used in the course is Framemaker, so I am simply wondering what is the difference between them?

I have installed the trial version of Framemaker and I cannot see what the target audience would be for this application.

Any insight into the intended users of Framemaker would be appreciated so I can understand it better.

Regards

No problem with the question. However, it raises others you may want to look into:

* If you're very comfortable in InDesign, why consider changing to a product you're unfamiliar with?

* Does your project (thesis in this case) require anything that your current version of InDesign can't do with built-in features, free or inexpensive scripts, free or inexpensive plug-ins? If you find that InDesign  CS5 lacks features, you'll have to wait for a new release that might offer them; if you are using an earlier release, CS5 may have them already.

Have you searched with Google? Here are some good starting points:

* Search for "framemaker's market" without quotes.

* Search for "framemaker thesis" without quotes.

* Search for "framemaker <specific feature name>" without quotes for more information on a feature that's present or missing.

* Search for "compare framemaker indesign <specific feature name> without quotes.

* http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=convert+InDesign+to+FrameMaker

* http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=convert+FrameMaker+to+InDesign

* http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=differences+between+FrameMaker+and+InDesign

* http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=compare+FrameMaker+to+InDesign

After you do your research, if you have questions about specific features present or missing in one or the other application, please start a new thread with the specific question as the topic.
HTH
Regards,
Peter
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Explorer ,
Sep 07, 2010 Sep 07, 2010

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Hi

thanks for the response.

I have indeed googled Framemaker etc and even purchased the VTC Video Training on Framwemaker 9.

That program simply seems to explain the working of the Application and how to use the toolbars etc, but does not explain who would use it or why.

The reason why I cannot use Indesign, is that the projects must be done through Framemaker, as this is the application being used in the Course.

I did ask if I could use Indesign but was told no, it must be Framemaker....

Unless of course there is a way to save Indesign files as .fm??

I asked the question to ask why would someone use Framemaker over Indesign as they both seem to be Desktop Publishing tools.

Framemaker seems to target Technical Writing, would that be correct (from what I deduced since I started this thread)?

Regards

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Mentor ,
Sep 07, 2010 Sep 07, 2010

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Macnimation wrote:

Hi

thanks for the response.

I have indeed googled Framemaker etc and even purchased the VTC Video Training on Framwemaker 9.

That program simply seems to explain the working of the Application and how to use the toolbars etc, but does not explain who would use it or why.

The reason why I cannot use Indesign, is that the projects must be done through Framemaker, as this is the application being used in the Course.

I did ask if I could use Indesign but was told no, it must be Framemaker....

Unless of course there is a way to save Indesign files as .fm??

I asked the question to ask why would someone use Framemaker over Indesign as they both seem to be Desktop Publishing tools.

Framemaker seems to target Technical Writing, would that be correct (from what I deduced since I started this thread)?

Regards

You're correct that FrameMaker aims at technical writers. There are links to this idea in the framemaker's market query results.

If the thesis files you submit are required to be in FrameMaker, you have little choice. If the thesis will be submitted in some other format, such as PDF intended for printing on desktop or professional printers, and/or PDF intended for interactive use (links, buttons, etc) you may be able to create in whatever you prefer, providing you meet the requirements for the deliverable.

If you haven't looked through the first page of links returned by these queries:

* Search for "framemaker's market" without quotes.

* Search for "framemaker thesis" without quotes.

I suggest that you do. There are several links that offer more detail and resources than we can do in these quick forum replies.

If FrameMaker is the required tool, as you'll see in the results of the framemaker thesis query, there are free templates already available from Adobe and elsewhere. Also, it's likely that the course provider may offer a template, or links to a preferred one.

Briefly, until CS4,  InDesign didn't offer built-in cross-references, often a requirement of theses as well as technical documents. They can be adapted for use as endnotes, often also a requirement. Text variables for running headers were added in InDesign CS3, but even in CS5, they don't quite equal those that FrameMaker has had for nearly 20 years.

You might find the best information about reasons for using FrameMaker for your thesis, and how to best employ it, by discussing it with the course provider, as well as current and past degree candidates who are using it and have used it for the purpose.

HTH

Regards,

Peter

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KnowHow ProServices

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Enthusiast ,
Sep 07, 2010 Sep 07, 2010

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Macnimation wrote:

I asked the question to ask why would someone use Framemaker over Indesign as they both seem to be Desktop Publishing tools.

Framemaker seems to target Technical Writing, would that be correct (from what I deduced since I started this thread)?

This is what can currently be found on the web:

http://www.adobe.com/ap/products/framemaker/comparison.html (old, FM8 vs. ID CS3)

http://lists.frameusers.com/pipermail/framers/2009-October/018297.html (newer, FM9)

Actually both comparisons aren't complete and/or still completely correct. With about two major InDesign version updates for each FM version update, ID comes closer. Often with features former FM (Mac) users requested . Each new version of ID has some features which were "taken" from the FM feature set (this time headers spanning columns, in previous versions there were cross references, variables, paragraph numbering, automatically adding new pages when required, etc.).

In my personal experience FM is still faster, more stable and reliable for really big documents/books with many graphics, a better and more complete index/list generation, is better supported by translation memory applications. But in the end the gap gets smaller, as far as only DTP is required. And FM has its quirks, too.

Bernd

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New Here ,
Feb 17, 2011 Feb 17, 2011

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IMHO, the difference is largely in the presentation of the UI, and the complexity of the software.

After all, they're both Adobe products and they're both tending to acquire each other's clever features more and more with each release.

I used PageMaker 5 for a couple of years (hated it), then we ditched it in favour of FM7, which I have used daily for about 7 years, for producing technical manuals of 200-300 pages.

Recently, we bought CS5 with ID and FM9. I only use the most basic functionality of ID (long story...).

I still find FM a joy to use - it does exactly what we want, and all the important tools are right there on my panels.

ID has enormous capability for precisely customising stylish, colourful layouts, but for technical, text-heavy books it's a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. On my 5-yr old PC, it's slow, crash-prone, and unforgiving. The file sizes are much larger.

FM on the other hand was always very slick, quick, lean and clean, and version 9 seems bomb-proof so far.

FM is the cure for Microsoft Word-induced stress (but don't get me started on that subject ...)

Roger Cook

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Explorer ,
Feb 17, 2011 Feb 17, 2011

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Hi,

thanks for the reply, it is very useful.

My problem I suppose was that I was coming from the otherway. I use ID a lot for Brochure design etc so I was used to it. Also I use Photoshop, Illustrator and other Adobe apps on a daily basis so I was familiar with the key shortcuts and other simularities.

I then had to use Framemaker, and I found it very un user friendly and frustrating.

It took a while even to realise you had to create a different master for each page design etc...

But I now see the uses for text heavy Technical documents.

Thanks again for your input

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Mentor ,
Feb 17, 2011 Feb 17, 2011

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Macnimation wrote:

Hi,

thanks for the reply, it is very useful.

My problem I suppose was that I was coming from the otherway. I use ID a lot for Brochure design etc so I was used to it. Also I use Photoshop, Illustrator and other Adobe apps on a daily basis so I was familiar with the key shortcuts and other simularities.

I then had to use Framemaker, and I found it very un user friendly and frustrating.

It took a while even to realise you had to create a different master for each page design etc...

But I now see the uses for text heavy Technical documents.

Thanks again for your input

It's interesting to hear from someone coming from InDesign to FrameMaker. Your comments illuminate the different user-mindsets from "the other side."

Can you clarify "It took a while even to realise you had to create a different master for each page design," please? What technique are you comparing? Perhaps InDesign's "master page based-on master page" ability? Or are you comparing InDesign's default way of working - nothing on the document page of a new blank document that's not made from a template, and does not have master page text frames defined in its document preset?

FrameMaker's default document displays a "live" page frame that accepts typed or imported text, pasted or imported graphics, and it creates new pages as the text frame becomes overset. This is the main way that folks use it.
However, it's not commonly known that FrameMaker can create a document that has no content on its master page(s), and no content on its default document page - IOW, a blank page layout. It's possible to add disconnected pages - similar to InDesign's add pages feature. It's also possible to draw text frames on contiguous or non-contiguous disconnected pages and thread them across contiguous or non-contiguous pages (such as for story "jumps,") or unthreaded. In addition, when overset, these frames can have the property to generate new pages with threaded frames, AKA "Smart Text Reflow" in InDesign.
Considering that FrameMaker has had these features dating back to at least 1989, pre-dating Adobe's acquisition around 1995, FrameMaker's page-layout abilities were then, and still is, limited in comparison to dedicated page-layout applications. Feature enhancement requests for improved page-layout abilities are rare among FrameMaker users, probably due more to the lack of need or interest among the main user base of technical-documentation writers and publishers, than a preference for dedicated layout applications. IOW, if the audience needed and requested the features, there likely would have been consideration at the product-management and -development levels, at Frame Technology, the original developer. After Adobe's acquisition of FrameMaker, and with its PageMaker page-layout product facing growing competition from QuarkXpress, it's unlikely that there would have been any further FrameMaker page-layout development. FrameMaker users criticized Adobe for ignoring FrameMaker technical-documentation feature development for its main user base for some time after the acquisition, so it's no surprise that enhancements to page-layout features were also ignored.
Regards,
Peter
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KnowHow ProServices

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New Here ,
Jun 07, 2022 Jun 07, 2022

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This is a good comparison by feature to an ongoing question. 

FrameMaker vs. InDesign Product Comparison by Adobe 

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Enthusiast ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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I believe InDesign can do all of FrameMakers stuff and better and less buggy, but two features is where my choice always goes to FrameMaker. The Book file and speed. InDesign has a book file feature which is super detailed and can handle really complex features, but it is slow. And generally operating long documents/books in InDesign is slow. It works, but slooowly!

I for one, really wish to have the excellent type rendering,  handling of images, pdf quality, hyperlinking and lots and lots of really nice features in FrameMaker.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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LATEST

In general terms, they can do the same thing--it comes down to the feature-by-feature details.

Frame:

Book features are much better than InDesign's.

Setting up the TOC/lists is more complicated but has more features.

Multiple indices.

Variables are more flexible.

Conditional text has more features.

XML-based features are much better than ID's.

 

InDesign:

Stronger typographic features.

Better table features, inclding importing/linking to Excel files.

More third-party plugin support.

 

The list goes on...

I've attached an old PDF that compares the various DTP apps (I stopped with Frame 11), but many of the comparisons are still valid. One of these days, I'll have to update it...

 

David Creamer
Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Certified Professional, and Adobe Certified Expert

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