Discussion:
Arbortext v Frame
(too old to reply)
ROSS, Chris
2018-11-20 00:33:56 UTC
Permalink
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would appreciate any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
Currently:

* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver usually as PDF.

* Use structured Framemaker 17.

* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be modified if required.

* Use defence standards.

* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.

* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.

* Conditional text is often used.
The main questions I have are:

* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?

* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?

* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in Arbortext and modify them?

* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?

* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?

* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?

* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?

I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not changing over.
Thank you.


Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia

T: 0884807884 | M: 0425288631 | E: ***@baesystems.com<mailto:***@baesystems.com>

BAE Systems Australia
Registered Office: Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks, EDINBURGH SA 5111
Registered in Australia No: 008 423 005
www.baesystems.com<http://www.baesystems.com/>

This email has been sent on behalf of one of the following companies within the BAE Systems Australia group of companies:

BAE Systems Australia Limited - Australian Company Number 008 423 005
BAE Systems Australia Defence Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 006 870 846
BAE Systems Australia Logistics Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 086 228 864

Our registered office is Evans Building, Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks,
Edinburgh, South Australia, 5111. If the identity of the sending company is
not clear from the content of this email please contact the sender.

This email and any attachments may contain confidential and legally
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, do not copy or
disclose its content, but please reply to this email immediately and highlight
the error to the sender and then immediately delete the message.
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
Scott Prentice
2018-11-20 01:08:55 UTC
Permalink
Are you working with XML files in FM or structured FM files? Arbortext
is an XML editor, FM can edit XML directly or it can work with
structured FM files .. it's not clear which you're using. If you're
using XML, you could, in theory author those files in Arbortext, without
much effort. If you're using structured FM files, you may be able to
export them to XML and open those files in Arbortext, but it's likely
going to be a bit of effort.

Arbortext uses a different mechanism to apply formatting to the XML ..
not structure applications (EDD/template/etc.) .. similar in concept,
but you'd likely need to recreate each one from the ground up.

In theory the two tools can be used in a similar manner, to produce
similar deliverables, but it's a fairly significant shift. I think you'd
have a bit of work just to get an Arbortext trial set up to compare with
your current process, especially if you're not using XML files in FM.

I'm only loosely familiar with Arbortext, but I think to get a trial,
you'll need to contact your local Arbortext rep. If you can't locate
that person, contact me off list and I can put you in touch with someone
who will know far more than me on this subject and may be able to help.
Or maybe someone else on this list will have more useful info.

It sounds to me like someone in management went to a conference and saw
an impressive demo, and thinks this move will save lots of money. Hmm.

Cheers,
...scott
Post by ROSS, Chris
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would appreciate any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver usually as PDF.
* Use structured Framemaker 17.
* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be modified if required.
* Use defence standards.
* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.
* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.
* Conditional text is often used.
* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in Arbortext and modify them?
* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not changing over.
Thank you.
Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia
BAE Systems Australia
Registered Office: Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks, EDINBURGH SA 5111
Registered in Australia No: 008 423 005
www.baesystems.com<http://www.baesystems.com/>
BAE Systems Australia Limited - Australian Company Number 008 423 005
BAE Systems Australia Defence Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 006 870 846
BAE Systems Australia Logistics Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 086 228 864
Our registered office is Evans Building, Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks,
Edinburgh, South Australia, 5111. If the identity of the sending company is
not clear from the content of this email please contact the sender.
This email and any attachments may contain confidential and legally
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, do not copy or
disclose its content, but please reply to this email immediately and highlight
the error to the sender and then immediately delete the message.
_______________________________________________
This message is from the Framers mailing list
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
ROSS, Chris
2018-11-20 02:35:41 UTC
Permalink
Just Structured FM files, no DITA.

Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia

T: 0884807884 | M: 0425288631 | E: ***@baesystems.com

BAE Systems Australia
Registered Office: Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks, EDINBURGH SA 5111
Registered in Australia No: 008 423 005
www.baesystems.com


-----Original Message-----
From: Framers [mailto:framers-bounces+chris.ross2=***@lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Scott Prentice
Sent: Tuesday, 20 November 2018 11:39 AM
To: ***@lists.frameusers.com
Subject: [Warning - External] Re: [Framers] Arbortext v Frame

Are you working with XML files in FM or structured FM files? Arbortext
is an XML editor, FM can edit XML directly or it can work with
structured FM files .. it's not clear which you're using. If you're
using XML, you could, in theory author those files in Arbortext, without
much effort. If you're using structured FM files, you may be able to
export them to XML and open those files in Arbortext, but it's likely
going to be a bit of effort.

Arbortext uses a different mechanism to apply formatting to the XML ..
not structure applications (EDD/template/etc.) .. similar in concept,
but you'd likely need to recreate each one from the ground up.

In theory the two tools can be used in a similar manner, to produce
similar deliverables, but it's a fairly significant shift. I think you'd
have a bit of work just to get an Arbortext trial set up to compare with
your current process, especially if you're not using XML files in FM.

I'm only loosely familiar with Arbortext, but I think to get a trial,
you'll need to contact your local Arbortext rep. If you can't locate
that person, contact me off list and I can put you in touch with someone
who will know far more than me on this subject and may be able to help.
Or maybe someone else on this list will have more useful info.

It sounds to me like someone in management went to a conference and saw
an impressive demo, and thinks this move will save lots of money. Hmm.

Cheers,
...scott
Post by ROSS, Chris
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would appreciate any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver usually as PDF.
* Use structured Framemaker 17.
* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be modified if required.
* Use defence standards.
* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.
* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.
* Conditional text is often used.
* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in Arbortext and modify them?
* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not changing over.
Thank you.
Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia
BAE Systems Australia
Registered Office: Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks, EDINBURGH SA 5111
Registered in Australia No: 008 423 005
www.baesystems.com<http://www.baesystems.com/>
BAE Systems Australia Limited - Australian Company Number 008 423 005
BAE Systems Australia Defence Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 006 870 846
BAE Systems Australia Logistics Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 086 228 864
Our registered office is Evans Building, Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks,
Edinburgh, South Australia, 5111. If the identity of the sending company is
not clear from the content of this email please contact the sender.
This email and any attachments may contain confidential and legally
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, do not copy or
disclose its content, but please reply to this email immediately and highlight
the error to the sender and then immediately delete the message.
_______________________________________________
This message is from the Framers mailing list
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
This email has been sent on behalf of one of the following companies within the BAE Systems Australia group of companies:

BAE Systems Australia Limited - Australian Company Number 008 423 005
BAE Systems Australia Defence Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 006 870 846
BAE Systems Australia Logistics Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 086 228 864

Our registered office is Evans Building, Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks,
Edinburgh, South Australia, 5111. If the identity of the sending company is
not clear from the content of this email please contact the sender.

This email and any attachments may contain confidential and legally
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, do not copy or
disclose its content, but please reply to this email immediately and highlight
the error to the sender and then immediately delete the message.

_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
Robert Lauriston
2018-11-20 01:44:43 UTC
Permalink
I don't know much about Arbortext, but iin addition to an XML editor
they also have a CMS and a single-source publishing system. It seems
kind of weird to be considering only Arbortext rather than evaluating
all the options.

What flavor of structured FrameMaker are you using? DITA? SD1000?
Post by ROSS, Chris
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to download a trial version to make any viable comparison. ...
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
ROSS, Chris
2018-11-20 02:37:03 UTC
Permalink
Structured frame and S1000D sometimes.

Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia

T: 0884807884 | M: 0425288631 | E: ***@baesystems.com

BAE Systems Australia
Registered Office: Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks, EDINBURGH SA 5111
Registered in Australia No: 008 423 005
www.baesystems.com


-----Original Message-----
From: Framers [mailto:framers-bounces+chris.ross2=***@lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Robert Lauriston
Sent: Tuesday, 20 November 2018 12:15 PM
To: An email list for people using Adobe FrameMaker software.
Subject: [Warning - External] Re: [Framers] Arbortext v Frame

I don't know much about Arbortext, but iin addition to an XML editor
they also have a CMS and a single-source publishing system. It seems
kind of weird to be considering only Arbortext rather than evaluating
all the options.

What flavor of structured FrameMaker are you using? DITA? SD1000?
Post by ROSS, Chris
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to download a trial version to make any viable comparison. ...
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
This email has been sent on behalf of one of the following companies within the BAE Systems Australia group of companies:

BAE Systems Australia Limited - Australian Company Number 008 423 005
BAE Systems Australia Defence Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 006 870 846
BAE Systems Australia Logistics Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 086 228 864

Our registered office is Evans Building, Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks,
Edinburgh, South Australia, 5111. If the identity of the sending company is
not clear from the content of this email please contact the sender.

This email and any attachments may contain confidential and legally
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, do not copy or
disclose its content, but please reply to this email immediately and highlight
the error to the sender and then immediately delete the message.

_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
Alan Houser
2018-11-20 14:47:58 UTC
Permalink
I've seen this before. The sales staff at PTC (parent company of
Arbortext) are _very_ good. They reach exactly the right people, at the
right level in the organization, to make the sale. They are likely
selling Arbortext as a companion to PTC's other enterprise product data
management products (namely, Windchill). Writers are typically not
involved in the enterprise sale.

I've seen organizations create and deliver effective documentation with
any number of tools, including Arbortext. For certain applications
(writing to MIL-Specs, for example), Arbortext will be substantially
easier out-of-the box than FrameMaker.

Migrating structured FrameMaker content will be a big challenge.
Customer-specific EDDs and templates will be problematic. Although, in
fairness, Arbortext's formatting tools are far better than when FOSI
knowledge was a requirement. And it's probably a Good Thing from an
efficiency perspective to minimize or avoid customer-specific
customizations.

This only tangentially addresses your questions, but I wanted to provide
some perspective about your situation.

-Alan
Post by ROSS, Chris
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would appreciate any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver usually as PDF.
* Use structured Framemaker 17.
* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be modified if required.
* Use defence standards.
* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.
* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.
* Conditional text is often used.
* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in Arbortext and modify them?
* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not changing over.
Thank you.
Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia
<snip>
--
Alan Houser
Group Wellesley, Inc.
Consultant and Trainer, Technical Publishing
arh on Twitter
412-450-0532

_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
Peter Gold
2018-11-20 23:20:51 UTC
Permalink
What are the expectations of switching? Efficiency of production, lower
ongoing cost, using a platform which doesn't support FrameMaker, better
integration with existing or planned new systems, or…?

There's always a cost to changing a working system and retraining users, as
well as migrating legacy documentation. I believe your company has been
using FrameMaker for decades, so whatever the attraction of new shiny
stuff, don't forget to evaluate all reasons that seem to be generating the
motivation to change from your current working system. IOW, newer isn't
always better.
Post by ROSS, Chris
Post by ROSS, Chris
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have
been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and
accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
Post by ROSS, Chris
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to
download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would appreciate
any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver
usually as PDF.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Use structured Framemaker 17.
* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be modified
if required.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Use defence standards.
* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to
either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.
* Conditional text is often used.
* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in
Arbortext and modify them?
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not
changing over.
Post by ROSS, Chris
Thank you.
Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers
Paul Nagai
2018-11-20 23:21:23 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

I am not an author but I have been supporting an Arbortext XML authoring
environment more or less full time since 2002.

Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
No. Unless an author is more comfortable in a text (and tag) based editor
AND thinks WYSIWYG is waste of CPU AND that formatting should be someone
else's problem. That's not to say however, that it is harder to use or less
intuitive than any other XML editor.

Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in Arbortext and
modify them?
As others have said: No, unless you are actually using Structured Frame to
edit / publish XML files (DITA or otherwise). Even then, there is
significant friction.

Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
Yes. Arbortext calls this profiling. In some ways, Arbortext's profiling is
more stable than FrameMaker's conditional text. (This is not from my own
direct experience but from FrameMaker users I have interacted with. They
experience FM crashes due to conditions on a somewhat regular basis. They
might have a more complex than most FM conditional implementation than
most.) That said, profiles and conditions are not exactly the same and some
adjustment to an author's thinking, planning, writing is required.

Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
Yes, but no. Arbortext authored XML can reference many graphic file
formats. The graphics are not stored IN XML or Arbortext directly. They are
referenced ... pointed to. As in, say:
<img fileref="Docfolder\Graphicsubfolder\myjpeg.jpg">

Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
Depends on what you mean by compatible. I do not believe Arbortext
supports Sharepoint integration. That is, you won't find a Sharepoint menu
inside of Arbortext that lets you directly access a Sharepoint repository.
However, if you "check files out" of Sharepoint to edit them, and check
them back in using your operating system (Windows, probably ... Arbortext
only runs on Windows), Arbortext will not complain. So ... they won't
fight, but they won't help either.

Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
Make a PDF. Kind of serious ... you've said "Arbortext" and nearly all my
responses refer specifically to Arbortext Editor, their XML editor.
(Competitors include Oxygen and XMetal.) If you want to make a PDF, you
will (usually) need to also acquire a composition engine ... something to
make your PDFs with. If you stay with PTC tools, you might buy Arbortext
Styler (for a very small shop). Styler is an enhanced version of Editor
that can make PDFs. (It's main purpose is actually to do other things.) Or,
more likely, you will buy Arbortext Publishing Engine which you will need
to install on a server (Windows Server 2012 or 2016 most likely.) There are
probably paths to PDF through the DITA Open Toolkit (if DITA is the XML
format you were to choose) that wouldn't require additional purchases, but
they would require someone to develop and maintain them. I don't think most
Arbortext users go with the DITA OTK ... it's like wearing a flip-flop on
one foot and a hiking boot on the other.

You didn't ask about stylesheets ... because you're using FrameMaker where
Paragraph and Character tags handle on-screen and PDF output/format all in
one. XML is just data. There is no format. In order to make a PDF from XML
you must have a stylesheet which tells a formatter what a <p> should look
like (and when a <p> in a nested <li> should look different from the
former). Those stylesheets can be pretty simple to very complex. Typically,
you now also need a person whose job it is to create and maintain those
stylesheets. This is usually not an author's job unless you are in a very
small shop. (I don't actually know where "small" becomes "large" with
respect to the dedicated stylesheet tipping point. We have 30 to 50 authors
depending on how you count.)

You didn't ask about cost, but while most people not in the know find
Arbortext Editor expensive, most people not in the know swallow their
tongues and never recover when they understand the Publishing Engine
pricing. This is Enterprise Software. If you look closely at that S it's
actually an $! LOL! It's very hard to get a straight answer without
multiple conversations with PTC Sales (at least the last time I watched
someone "new" to the environment try). But think of it as more of a top-end
Porsche than a VW... (That's a terrible metaphor. Sorry!) Keep in mind,
also, that both Editor and Publishing Engine are now subscription based.
You never fully own those licenses anymore. Your XML is XML so you can
theoretically take it anywhere, but ... if your stylesheets are Arbortext
based, you will have some friction reproducing your PDF formatting if you
pick up your XML and go somewhere else. Anyhow, my point is not that
Arbortext is overpriced (although there are certainly competent smart
people who maintain this is true ... if you google well, you might be able
to find me and them arguing somewhere in time). My point is that it is like
the difference between a $120 inkjet you might have at home and a $30,000
printer/copier/scanner/fax machine you might find in your company's
mail/kitchen/break rooms.

You didn't ask about server management ... I alluded to it above, but if
you are going to use Publishing Engine to make your PDFs, you will be
standing up at least one server (plus DEV, plus QA, plus DR, depending on
your company's philosophy about continuity). This might come with oversight
from other divisions within your company (networking, storage, security,
etc.), it might not. Again, depends on your company.

Don't get me wrong: I really like the Arbortext products. (And, yeah, duh,
I am biased.) Arbortext is a wicked powerful, massively customizable,
highly capable, mature technology. It is not, however, something you should
probably convert to from FrameMaker without a fully funded Project and a
very, very clear understanding of the R and I in your ROI.
Post by Alan Houser
I've seen this before. The sales staff at PTC (parent company of
Arbortext) are _very_ good. They reach exactly the right people, at the
right level in the organization, to make the sale. They are likely
selling Arbortext as a companion to PTC's other enterprise product data
management products (namely, Windchill). Writers are typically not
involved in the enterprise sale.
I've seen organizations create and deliver effective documentation with
any number of tools, including Arbortext. For certain applications
(writing to MIL-Specs, for example), Arbortext will be substantially
easier out-of-the box than FrameMaker.
Migrating structured FrameMaker content will be a big challenge.
Customer-specific EDDs and templates will be problematic. Although, in
fairness, Arbortext's formatting tools are far better than when FOSI
knowledge was a requirement. And it's probably a Good Thing from an
efficiency perspective to minimize or avoid customer-specific
customizations.
This only tangentially addresses your questions, but I wanted to provide
some perspective about your situation.
-Alan
Post by ROSS, Chris
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have
been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and
accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
Post by ROSS, Chris
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to
download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would appreciate
any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver
usually as PDF.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Use structured Framemaker 17.
* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be modified
if required.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Use defence standards.
* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to
either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.
* Conditional text is often used.
* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in
Arbortext and modify them?
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not
changing over.
Post by ROSS, Chris
Thank you.
Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia
<snip>
--
Alan Houser
Group Wellesley, Inc.
Consultant and Trainer, Technical Publishing
arh on Twitter
412-450-0532
_______________________________________________
This message is from the Framers mailing list
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at
http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at
http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
--
Paul Nagai
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
Peter Ring
2018-11-21 00:45:55 UTC
Permalink
I'll second Paul Nagai's comments. It was a corporate thing before PTC took
over, and it has become very enterpricy since.

I'd like to add that I really like Arbortext Editor as an authoring tool,
and that Arbortext Styler is kind of magic. I wouldn't mind working in a
setting with an Arbortext-based publishing pipeline.

But it is most likely not worth it if you are comfortable with structured
FrameMaker and EDDs. Btw, FrameMaker 2019 comes with built-in SharePoint
integration.

If you want to or need to migrate to DITA, S1000D, or DocBook, it is very
feasible to continue using FrameMaker both for authoring and pagination.
DITA support is fair, S1000D is a bit dated but Mekon supplies an updated
application, and DocBook support is quite stale but might be sufficient.

regards
Peter Ring
Post by Paul Nagai
Hi,
I am not an author but I have been supporting an Arbortext XML authoring
environment more or less full time since 2002.
Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
No. Unless an author is more comfortable in a text (and tag) based editor
AND thinks WYSIWYG is waste of CPU AND that formatting should be someone
else's problem. That's not to say however, that it is harder to use or less
intuitive than any other XML editor.
Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in Arbortext and
modify them?
As others have said: No, unless you are actually using Structured Frame to
edit / publish XML files (DITA or otherwise). Even then, there is
significant friction.
Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
Yes. Arbortext calls this profiling. In some ways, Arbortext's profiling is
more stable than FrameMaker's conditional text. (This is not from my own
direct experience but from FrameMaker users I have interacted with. They
experience FM crashes due to conditions on a somewhat regular basis. They
might have a more complex than most FM conditional implementation than
most.) That said, profiles and conditions are not exactly the same and some
adjustment to an author's thinking, planning, writing is required.
Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
Yes, but no. Arbortext authored XML can reference many graphic file
formats. The graphics are not stored IN XML or Arbortext directly. They are
<img fileref="Docfolder\Graphicsubfolder\myjpeg.jpg">
Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
Depends on what you mean by compatible. I do not believe Arbortext
supports Sharepoint integration. That is, you won't find a Sharepoint menu
inside of Arbortext that lets you directly access a Sharepoint repository.
However, if you "check files out" of Sharepoint to edit them, and check
them back in using your operating system (Windows, probably ... Arbortext
only runs on Windows), Arbortext will not complain. So ... they won't
fight, but they won't help either.
Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
Make a PDF. Kind of serious ... you've said "Arbortext" and nearly all my
responses refer specifically to Arbortext Editor, their XML editor.
(Competitors include Oxygen and XMetal.) If you want to make a PDF, you
will (usually) need to also acquire a composition engine ... something to
make your PDFs with. If you stay with PTC tools, you might buy Arbortext
Styler (for a very small shop). Styler is an enhanced version of Editor
that can make PDFs. (It's main purpose is actually to do other things.) Or,
more likely, you will buy Arbortext Publishing Engine which you will need
to install on a server (Windows Server 2012 or 2016 most likely.) There are
probably paths to PDF through the DITA Open Toolkit (if DITA is the XML
format you were to choose) that wouldn't require additional purchases, but
they would require someone to develop and maintain them. I don't think most
Arbortext users go with the DITA OTK ... it's like wearing a flip-flop on
one foot and a hiking boot on the other.
You didn't ask about stylesheets ... because you're using FrameMaker where
Paragraph and Character tags handle on-screen and PDF output/format all in
one. XML is just data. There is no format. In order to make a PDF from XML
you must have a stylesheet which tells a formatter what a <p> should look
like (and when a <p> in a nested <li> should look different from the
former). Those stylesheets can be pretty simple to very complex. Typically,
you now also need a person whose job it is to create and maintain those
stylesheets. This is usually not an author's job unless you are in a very
small shop. (I don't actually know where "small" becomes "large" with
respect to the dedicated stylesheet tipping point. We have 30 to 50 authors
depending on how you count.)
You didn't ask about cost, but while most people not in the know find
Arbortext Editor expensive, most people not in the know swallow their
tongues and never recover when they understand the Publishing Engine
pricing. This is Enterprise Software. If you look closely at that S it's
actually an $! LOL! It's very hard to get a straight answer without
multiple conversations with PTC Sales (at least the last time I watched
someone "new" to the environment try). But think of it as more of a top-end
Porsche than a VW... (That's a terrible metaphor. Sorry!) Keep in mind,
also, that both Editor and Publishing Engine are now subscription based.
You never fully own those licenses anymore. Your XML is XML so you can
theoretically take it anywhere, but ... if your stylesheets are Arbortext
based, you will have some friction reproducing your PDF formatting if you
pick up your XML and go somewhere else. Anyhow, my point is not that
Arbortext is overpriced (although there are certainly competent smart
people who maintain this is true ... if you google well, you might be able
to find me and them arguing somewhere in time). My point is that it is like
the difference between a $120 inkjet you might have at home and a $30,000
printer/copier/scanner/fax machine you might find in your company's
mail/kitchen/break rooms.
You didn't ask about server management ... I alluded to it above, but if
you are going to use Publishing Engine to make your PDFs, you will be
standing up at least one server (plus DEV, plus QA, plus DR, depending on
your company's philosophy about continuity). This might come with oversight
from other divisions within your company (networking, storage, security,
etc.), it might not. Again, depends on your company.
Don't get me wrong: I really like the Arbortext products. (And, yeah, duh,
I am biased.) Arbortext is a wicked powerful, massively customizable,
highly capable, mature technology. It is not, however, something you should
probably convert to from FrameMaker without a fully funded Project and a
very, very clear understanding of the R and I in your ROI.
Post by Alan Houser
I've seen this before. The sales staff at PTC (parent company of
Arbortext) are _very_ good. They reach exactly the right people, at the
right level in the organization, to make the sale. They are likely
selling Arbortext as a companion to PTC's other enterprise product data
management products (namely, Windchill). Writers are typically not
involved in the enterprise sale.
I've seen organizations create and deliver effective documentation with
any number of tools, including Arbortext. For certain applications
(writing to MIL-Specs, for example), Arbortext will be substantially
easier out-of-the box than FrameMaker.
Migrating structured FrameMaker content will be a big challenge.
Customer-specific EDDs and templates will be problematic. Although, in
fairness, Arbortext's formatting tools are far better than when FOSI
knowledge was a requirement. And it's probably a Good Thing from an
efficiency perspective to minimize or avoid customer-specific
customizations.
This only tangentially addresses your questions, but I wanted to provide
some perspective about your situation.
-Alan
Post by ROSS, Chris
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have
been asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and
accountants, to represent the Tech writing population.
Post by ROSS, Chris
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to
download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would
appreciate
Post by Alan Houser
any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver
usually as PDF.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Use structured Framemaker 17.
* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be
modified
Post by Alan Houser
if required.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Use defence standards.
* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to
either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.
Post by ROSS, Chris
* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.
* Conditional text is often used.
* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in
Arbortext and modify them?
Post by ROSS, Chris
* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not
changing over.
Post by ROSS, Chris
Thank you.
Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia
<snip>
--
Alan Houser
Group Wellesley, Inc.
Consultant and Trainer, Technical Publishing
arh on Twitter
412-450-0532
_______________________________________________
This message is from the Framers mailing list
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at
http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at
http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
--
Paul Nagai
_______________________________________________
This message is from the Framers mailing list
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at
http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at
http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
i***@ideastraining.com
2018-11-20 23:40:47 UTC
Permalink
I had Arbortext demo'ed to me about 10 years ago, so keep in mind my info
could be VERY out of date. (But then again, Frame from about 10 years ago is
still similar to the Frame of today, just some enhanced features...) Also,
my demo was coming from the client, not the Arbortext team.

I thought Arbortext looked a lot like structured Frame without the WYSIWYG
view--so basically the structured tree view. One had to render the project
to see a preview. If there was an error, one had to go back to the tree view
to fix the error, and then re-render the project to double-check the
preview. A lot of back and forth.

Also, the output modules, such as PDF, were extra from the software cost.
Everything was a la cart and the cost was expensive compared to Frame.

I was told the support would so-so. I also heard that the sales team was the
best thing about the company.)

Again, please keep in mind my disclaimers in the first paragraph.

David Creamer
IDEAS Training

-----Original Message-----
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2018 00:33:56 +0000
From: "ROSS, Chris" <***@baesystems.com>
To: "***@lists.frameusers.com" <***@lists.frameusers.com>
Subject: [Framers] Arbortext v Frame

My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have been
asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and accountants, to
represent the Tech writing population.
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to
download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would appreciate
any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
Currently:

* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver
usually as PDF.

* Use structured Framemaker 17.

* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be modified if
required.

* Use defence standards.

* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to
either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.

* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.

* Conditional text is often used.
The main questions I have are:

* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?

* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?

* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in Arbortext
and modify them?

* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?

* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?

* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?

* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?

I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not changing
over.
Thank you.


Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia

_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com
quills
2018-11-21 14:51:07 UTC
Permalink
Arbortext is much more pure XML/
SGML than FrameMaker. The downside is that it usually isn’t cost effective. It costs more to get the same amount of facility that FrameMaker gives you out of the box. Things like printers, PDF, and the other bells and whistles that FrameMaker gives you, like the visual confirmation that format is being rendered correctly.

It requires more steps to do what FrameMaker does. Since you are going to produce in PDF format it isn’t a cost effective tool.

You could do the same thing using Oxygen, which is a text editor also, but much cheaper. For your money, time and response to deliver product, FrameMaker is the premier tool.
Post by i***@ideastraining.com
I had Arbortext demo'ed to me about 10 years ago, so keep in mind my info
could be VERY out of date. (But then again, Frame from about 10 years ago is
still similar to the Frame of today, just some enhanced features...) Also,
my demo was coming from the client, not the Arbortext team.
I thought Arbortext looked a lot like structured Frame without the WYSIWYG
view--so basically the structured tree view. One had to render the project
to see a preview. If there was an error, one had to go back to the tree view
to fix the error, and then re-render the project to double-check the
preview. A lot of back and forth.
Also, the output modules, such as PDF, were extra from the software cost.
Everything was a la cart and the cost was expensive compared to Frame.
I was told the support would so-so. I also heard that the sales team was the
best thing about the company.)
Again, please keep in mind my disclaimers in the first paragraph.
David Creamer
IDEAS Training
-----Original Message-----
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2018 00:33:56 +0000
Subject: [Framers] Arbortext v Frame
My company is thinking of changing from Framemaker to Arbortext. I have been
asked to attend a meeting, consisting mainly of managers and accountants, to
represent the Tech writing population.
I have never used Arbortext before and am finding it very difficult to
download a trial version to make any viable comparison. I would appreciate
any input from other writers who have used Arbortext.
* We use Frame for all our technical documentation and deliver
usually as PDF.
* Use structured Framemaker 17.
* Have EDDs and templates for each customer which can be modified if
required.
* Use defence standards.
* We use Sharepoint for our configuration management but have to
either Zip the frame files or PDF them to put them in Sharepoint.
* All graphics are referenced and are in JPEG, TIFF, WMF or PNG.
* Conditional text is often used.
* Is Arbortex easy to use and intuitive?
* Can Frame documents be imported into Arbortex easily and work?
* How easy is it to create templates/EDDs (equivalent) in Arbortext
and modify them?
* Can conditional text (or equivalent) be used in Arbortex?
* Can JPEGs, TIFFs etc. be imported into Arbortex?
* Are Arbortex and Sharepoint compatible?
* Anything that Frame can do that Arbortex wont?
I am very happy using Frame and would like any valid reason for not changing
over.
Thank you.
Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia
_______________________________________________
This message is from the Framers mailing list
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@fra
ROSS, Chris
2018-11-21 21:34:18 UTC
Permalink
Thank you for all your replies and much appreciated information. I now have a much better understanding of Arbortex and its capabilities and hopefully can influence next week's meeting to get a positive outcome (keep Frame).

Chris Ross
Senior Technical Writer
Sustainment and Engineering Solutions
BAE Systems Australia

T: 0884807884 | M: 0425288631 | E: ***@baesystems.com<mailto:***@baesystems.com>

BAE Systems Australia
Registered Office: Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks, EDINBURGH SA 5111
Registered in Australia No: 008 423 005
www.baesystems.com<http://www.baesystems.com/>

This email has been sent on behalf of one of the following companies within the BAE Systems Australia group of companies:

BAE Systems Australia Limited - Australian Company Number 008 423 005
BAE Systems Australia Defence Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 006 870 846
BAE Systems Australia Logistics Pty Limited - Australian Company Number 086 228 864

Our registered office is Evans Building, Taranaki Road, Edinburgh Parks,
Edinburgh, South Australia, 5111. If the identity of the sending company is
not clear from the content of this email please contact the sender.

This email and any attachments may contain confidential and legally
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, do not copy or
disclose its content, but please reply to this email immediately and highlight
the error to the sender and then immediately delete the message.
_______________________________________________

This message is from the Framers mailing list

Send messages to ***@lists.frameusers.com
Visit the list's homepage at http://www.frameusers.com
Archives located at http://www.mail-archive.com/framers%40lists.frameusers.com/
Subscribe and unsubscribe at http://lists.frameusers.com/listinfo.cgi/framers-frameusers.com
Send administrative questions to ***@frameusers.com

Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...