I found this article interesting, considering I’ve used both FrameMaker and InDesign for publishing digital documents. While I love designing documents in InDesign, if I’m creating something that needs structure and needs to be easily shareable, not to mention something that needs to be in XML that’s easy to work with, I’ll choose FrameMaker.
This article highlights many of the reasons I’m glad our materials are created in FrameMaker as opposed to InDesign. Text variables are something we rely on heavily when creating materials, to make sure things that are referred to frequently (exercise file names, workshop names, and so on) are correctly spelled and capitalized, and it also speeds up the development process when all an author needs to do is simply click on a variable in a list to add it to the text. InDesign doesn’t have nearly as much flexibility when it comes to variables.
Another thing that FrameMaker handles better than InDesign is XML. I’ve viewed documents exported into XML from FrameMaker and InDesign, and in order to have text elements marked up properly in InDesign, you need to go in and map each individual paragraph style to an XML element. FrameMaker does that automatically, and in a way that makes sense to whoever’s editing an XML document outside of the originating program. While you can pop open an InDesign Markup Language (IDML) document in a program like oXygen XML Editor and see the text marked up, it’s still a bit of a mess.
In short, this article reminded me why I use InDesign for some things, and why it frustrates me for other uses. 🙂