If you’re fortunate enough not to use Word, it seems the only other decent choice for technical writing is Adobe’s Framemaker. However, some of Frame’s quirks make Word look almost welcoming. Here’s a running list of the things I’d like to see in the next release of Frame, in no particular order:
- Find and Replace with more functions. How come I can find a marker, but can’t replace it with a different kind of marker?
- Dialog boxes and palettes that you can close with the Esc key.
- More intuitive keyboard shortcuts. All of these Esc functions hearken back to UNIX, and when’s the last time anyone used Frame on UNIX?
- Drag and drop text. C’mon, this was a new feature to users back in, what, 1990?
- I can’t believe I’m writing this, but Macintosh support. Seriously, I’d give the Mac another look if Frame ran on it natively. Emulation doesn’t count. Yes, I’m aware of Boot Camp and Parallels.
- Full OpenType support. All of Adobe’s fonts are now OpenType, with ligatures and special characters, but yet we tech writers get the typographical shaft.
- Word processing features, like AutoCorrect, spellcheck as you type, and all of those everyday functions that Word has, but writing in Word is so bad that you refuse to go back.
- How about Ctrl-backspace to delete a word before the cursor, just as Ctrl-delete works great for deleting the word before a cursor. Again, this was a feature of, let’s say, Word 2.0?
- Support for transparent PNGs.
- How about a more usable “missing file” dialog box? If you type in the path to the file, Frame doesn’t change to that directory, it accepts that as the filename!
- Much better style management. How come I can import styles across a book, but they don’t always update? Why can’t I delete unused styles? Argh.
- A reasonable upgrade price commensurate with the new features. All DITA, all the time, isn’t worth $400.
Check back often for updates to this list, since I find something that drives me insane pretty regularly.
Powered by ScribeFire.