Re: Software Application

Subject: Re: Software Application
From: Tim Merrick <TimM -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 08:38:36 -0600

Howard Rauch wrote:

> I am revising a product catalog for a firm that manufactures and
> distributes products for the building construction industry. The
> portion of the catalog we are currently working on consists of minimal
> text, a simple line drawing showing the product configuration, and
> complex tables presenting US and metric values for each construction
> variable. The firm has presented a prototype table to several of its
> customers for evaluation. We've been on hold several months while
> this is going on.
> My client has a number of requirements. Among them: (1) he wants the
> ability to open the files and tweak the tables or manipulate the data
> for specific situations; (2) long-term, he wants to publish the
> catalog
> on CD-ROM.
> My client wants the catalog done in FrameMaker because of its table
> management capabilities (no argument there). FrameViewer bundled on a
> CD-ROM would enable viewing by their customers.
> My concern is that my client would be a casual FM user and would be
> frustrated with this complex software. I would be actually be doing my
> client a disservice by not recommending other software if a better
> alternative were available. (Bear in mind - not too long ago he was
> still using WordPerfect 5.1 and FrameMaker Release 4 was still in the
> box. I'm using FM5.) I've tried doing the tables in WordPerfect 6, but
> it doesn't seem to have the table management capability needed
> (maybe I don't know the software well enough).
> Would any of you know of other software I could recommend for this
> application?

IMHO, FrameMaker is the most appropriate tool for the work and
requirements you've described. I would work hard to convince the client
that you or someone equally qualified make any necessary changes.
Perhaps you could arrange to train one of the clients employees and set
up a support agreement. Use the tradesman analogy. Would this client
want to tweak his electrical wiring or plumbing? What would the likely
results be if he or she did so?

As far as publishing on CD-ROM, Frame Viewer may be an adequate
solution, but I would recommend that you consider using Adobe Acrobat.
You can distribute the Acrobat Reader freely on CD-ROM, and Acrobat will
give you greater flexibility for formatting and linking.

Tim Merrick
Senior Technical Writer
ILE Communications Group
timm -at- ile -dot- com

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