[OT] Frame and Word [Was: Squeak Books!]

Alan Knight knight at acm.org
Sat Jan 27 19:27:39 UTC 2001

Interesting. I just did write a book using Word (Mastering ENVY/Developer), 
and it wasn't a particularly unpleasant experience. Wait, let me rephrase 
that. The word processing software was the least of my worries.

I think it depends a lot on how close to the final product you have to get. 
Writing something in Word where you want to get exact formatting is fairly 
difficult, but doing something that is in the right general ballpark can be 
quite easy. Since all I had to do was define styles (which were not 
supposed to look particularly like the final output) and explain to the 
typesetting people what a particular style meant (and they had a pretty 
broad range of predefines ones to start with) it was quite straightforward.

It also depends on size. Administrative staff tend to write things a few 
pages long, and for administrative documents precise look is not all that 

At 04:50 PM 1/26/01 -0800, Andrew P. Black wrote:
>I have an explanation for this.  I think of writing like programming. I 
>think: I would like more space after this kind of paragraph, so I change 
>the definition of "this kind of paragraph". I think: "I need a new 
>subsection here", or, "I need a list here", and I "send the message" 
>(i.e., use the style) "subsection" or "list".   Initially, I start with 
>one of the sample documents that come with Frame, because they have all of 
>these styles defined, and they look good.  If I want to change the 
>appearance later, I know I can do that -- just import a new batch of 
>paragraph definitions.  Another example: the way that numbering schemes 
>for paragraphs and figures work will be immediately intuitive to any 
>programmer: it's based on named variables.
>My administrative staff thought of writing like typing: what you see is 
>all you've got. If you want a bigger paragraph break, type two <CR>s. If 
>you want a subsection, type some text in bold, type <CR>, and presto, it 
>_looks_ like a subsection heading.  You want to make paragraph breaks 1.5 
>lines insead of 2 lines?  You want to change those subsection headings so 
>that they are in small caps in the left margin?  Sorry, you can't get 
>there from here.
>Hence, I love Frame, and they hate it.  The only thing that I don't like 
>in Frame is the UI for the equation editor; too much mousing, and I can 
>never seem to select what I want.
>I refuse to use word, except that I have it so that when people send me 
>Word documents, I can read them.  Or, at least try to.  A word document 
>looks different on  MacOS from the way that it looks on Windows; the 
>pagination changes, as Mark mentioned.  One thing that I notice is that 
>the Word documents that I'm sent almost always use visual formatting, and 
>rarely use styles.
>         Andrew

Alan Knight [|], Cincom Systems
knight at acm.org
aknight at cincom.com

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