I started using FrameMaker 6.0 back in the late 1990s. For many years, the new versions of Frame seemed, well, boring. Especially when you compared it to other tools like Dreamweaver.
FrameMaker 10 is different. Released a couple of weeks ago, I found the preview video almost exciting. With more and more people watching online videos (think YouTube) and fewer people reading, Adobe appears to have recognized that even technical documentation could use some pizzazz.
The latest version of FrameMaker enables writers to embed online videos or online demonstrations during authoring. This dynamic content will then play in the final PDF.
What’s the benefit to technical writers? It makes it easier to deliver documentation that offers mixed media. For example, a hardware writer can write how to repair a part using the old standby: static procedural content. But he or she can now also add a 3D model of the part that can be zoomed in on, spun around, and even pulled apart by a click of the user’s mouse.
Software writers can also benefit from Frame 10. Writers can augment a procedure with a related Captivate video on the same page.
For users, this type of technical documentation could make things clearer and definitely more engaging.
I know what you might thinking—these online videos and 3D models are not exactly easy or quick to produce. True. But if you’re lucky enough to already have online demos and models and you’re upgrading to Frame 10, I think this is definitely worth exploring.