Los Angeles InDesign User Group

Cage Match: InDesign vs. FrameMaker

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Gensler, 500 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, California 90071

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By Alvin Takamori


The Los Angeles InDesign User Group assembled in downtown L.A. at the office of international architectural design firm, Gensler, for its March 21, 2019 meeting. It was an attractive presentation space with stadium seating and a backdrop of huge windows looking out on the downtown skyline and a full moon.


To accompany this awesome space, the group had an awesome door prize. Everyone who attended the meeting received a free FrameMaker T-shirt.


The speaker for this setting was Matt Sullivan, founder of Tech Comm Tools and an Adobe Certified Trainer for over ten different products. That evening he discussed the use of FrameMaker versus InDesign.


Adobe FrameMaker is not part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. It is part of the Technical Communications Suite. It's a document processing, layout program that has been surpassed in the marketplace by InDesign. However, it has some capabilities that make it a better choice for certain situations.


Matt pointed out that InDesign is the clear choice for commercial marketing. But if you have a thousand page document with technical information like those used in aerospace and government documents, FrameMaker is the better option. A typical FrameMaker documents has a consistent format where numbering and references are important, and content and data mean more than appearance. Matt equated FrameMaker to a truck and InDesign to a sports car.


Unlike InDesign, graphic objects in FrameMaker automatically anchor to their position in amongst the type. So if the type changes, the graphics move and maintain their relative location. This can be good for control buttons, which can be set inside the text. FrameMaker is really a template-based software, as opposed to a desktop publishing program. So, editing changes have a more universal effect. For example, change a heading and you can change all the headings in the document.


InDesign is far more versatile when it comes to creating and handling fonts. The FrameMaker type engine is limited. On the other hand, it is very good at creating conditional text. If a document needs to be output in multiple versions with slight changes, those variations are easier to create in FrameMaker. A good example is government documents where you have one version for one state or country, but different versions for other states or countries. FrameMaker can generate these changes from a single template.


Translations are also easier to create using FrameMaker. Translations for repeated phrases can be stored in memory. Also RTF languages are supported.


Another advantage FrameMaker has over InDesign is the ability to easily convert files to HTML 5. With responsive HTML content can react and reflow to fit the size of the screen it appears on. Also navigation and controls can change according to the output device. FrameMaker can also publish documents as EPUB or mobile apps.


For online tutorials about using FrameMaker go to techcommtools.com



Special Raffle Prize


KC 32" LED TV, model KC32V2—Rocie Carrillo



Farthest Attendee Prize Winner


Mighty Deals—Waverly Reed



Raffle Prize Winners


GoProof from Oppolis Software. 3 month subscription for 2 users—Rick Torres

PDF2DTP from Markzware. 12 month subscription—Mark Giffin

Expo Creative Asset Manager for Mac from Insider Software—Jacob A. Lapez

Suitcase Fusion 8 from Extensis. 12 month subscription—Rick Torres

Font Agent Pro 8 from Insider Software—Mark Giffin

InMotion Hosting. Web hosting and free domain—Waverly Reed

DTP Tools Cloud for InDesign. 6 month subscription—Mark Giffin

Multi-Find/Change 3.0 from Automatication—David Meza

Adobe Stock. 15 image licenses—Dave Snow

InDesign Magazine. 6 month subscription—David Meza

LA Web Professionals Group meeting tickets—Jesse Fregozo, David Meza, Henry Poon, Hazel Rider


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