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Old 08-28-2005, 01:00 PM   #1
Michael Rowley
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Default Is there an alternative to InDesign?

I want to use a layout program; I want to be able to use ligatures, old-style figures, and small capitals.

I don't like pasteboard-style programs, like InDesign; Word has limitations; I don't want to use 'expert fonts' when a good OT font has all I need.

But, the only programs that support Unicode are InDesign and Word.

What do I do?

   
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Old 08-28-2005, 01:54 PM   #2
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Have you complained to Adobe about your dislike of the Glyph palette (I assume that is what bugs you). I'd also like to see a keyboard method of accessing special characters in some way, even if it means mapping glyphs to function keys or something. I get annoyed having to bring down the glyph palette every time I want a reduced size pound sign for use with OSF, or something similar.

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Old 08-28-2005, 03:10 PM   #3
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Don:

Have you complained to Adobe about your dislike of the Glyph palette

No (in fact I hadn't thought of that!), but having used FrameMaker since v. 4, the pasteboard approach doesn't appeal to me. But the big thing is Unicode. I knew that FrameMaker doesn't allow access to Unicode characters, but I hadn't realized that it doesn't 'see' Unicode characters it doesn't know; I can access any Unicode character that a font possesses in Word, so I had thought I could import text containing Unicode cjharacters that are not mapped by a Microsoft page—until I tried it!

So, for better or worse, I'll probably have to master InDesign, unless Adobe exerts itself and brings out a version of FrameMaker that understands Unicode. The present version (7.1) will export Unicode characters to XML, but that is not much use to me. It can't sell FrameMaker, for then Microsoft would snap it up: it's got quite a following, and hitherto has sold well.

   
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Old 08-29-2005, 06:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
in fact I hadn't thought of that
You can post suggestions for new features in either the Mac or PC side of the InDesign forums at http://www.adobeforums.com. There will also be a Framemaker forum there. I would think that eventually FM will become unicode compliant, as Adobe is trying to sell their Pro Open Type fonts, and I believe these require unicode to work correctly.

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Old 08-29-2005, 07:06 AM   #5
Michael Rowley
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Don:

I would think that eventually FM will become unicode compliant

I hope so, though a lot of people thought FrameMaker 6 would be. I was rather deceived by FM 7.1, as thought it must surely cope with Unicode; but it turned out that all it did was to 'note' characters that were strange to it, and to keep them if it exported to XML.

The 'Pro' fonts seem to have been taken up by other font suppliers, such as Monotype, so they too have become convinced that Unicode is here to stay. FM is by far the most popular program among technical writers, but at the moment they're more than a little annoyed that they can't use the fonts that are now available: they can't even cope with all EU languages in FM without using several different fonts.

InDesign, by the way, doesn't meet technical writers' requirements, although it meets my own.

   
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Old 08-29-2005, 03:20 PM   #6
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I wouldn't bet money on any particular future improvement to FrameMaker. Sad, since I use it every day of the work week. But I think Adobe would like to let it die. Would be interesting to know how many programmers are assigned to Frame these days.

   
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:14 AM   #7
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John:

I wouldn't bet money on any particular future improvement to FrameMaker

I should not either, but there is still hope, and the improvememt with respect to XML does show that Adobe is well aware of the importance of the Unicode issue. The exclusion of the Macintosh OS from further development doesn't matter very much, as the regular users of FrameMaker are much more Unix and Windows oriented.

   
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Old 08-28-2005, 02:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
I want to use a layout program; I want to be able to use ligatures, old-style figures, and small capitals.

I don't like pasteboard-style programs, like InDesign
I'm a great fan of the pasteboard approach, and use the pasteboard all the time in InDesign to store fragments, try out new text boxes and all sorts of other things.

If you don't like the pasteboard in InDesign, you can avoid having to keep adding text boxes etc. on each page by managing them with master pages. You could set up a template with the text boxes where you want them on the various masters (or all the same master, if your basic layout only requires that) and then start each new document from the master.

You can even set your window size to avoid showing the pasteboard.

   
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Old 08-28-2005, 03:18 PM   #9
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Ann:

I'm a great fan of the pasteboard approach

Many people are, especially if they've had previous experience of genuine pasteboards—I haven't! But I do like Unicode, which has been understood by suitable Windows applications since Windows NT, which is quite a while back.

   
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Old 08-29-2005, 02:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
I don't like pasteboard-style programs
What do you mean by "pasteboard-style programs"?

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