For 15 years, I was a lovesick FrameMaker groupie. Ask anybody. As a founding member of the North Carolina FrameMaker Users Network (NC-FUN), I went to meetings regularly for ten years to talk about everything FrameMaker: plug-ins, database connectivity, scripting, single-sourcing, structure, obscure features, you name it. I couldn’t get enough. FrameMaker was the great desktop publishing love of my life. When I joined Scriptorium Publishing earlier this year, I was given the task of updating Publishing Essentials: Unstructured FrameMaker 8. Yes! FrameMaker and I were inseparable.
But then FrameMaker 8 absolutely refused to produce an acceptable PDF file.
Whatever anybody might say about FrameMaker, one thing was always true: FrameMaker produced top-of-the-line PDF files. If you needed good PDF files, you included FrameMaker in your workflow. Now, PDF files produced from FrameMaker were a mess. Sure, some PDF problems had cropped up with earlier versions (and what relationship doesn’t have a few PDF problems?), but it was worse now. Much worse. Undeterred, I tried a lot of things. I found some workarounds, but the problem was never really fixed. I could get text and high-quality pictures or I could have hypertext links, but not both. I felt angry and betrayed.
Pfft. Why not dump FrameMaker completely and just move my content to a dedicated XML editor? After all, XSL-FO could also give me a lot of trouble followed by lousy PDF output. I was this close to telling FrameMaker to hit the bricks.
Then Microsoft released a hotfix that patches the problems with Windows that are apparently the root of FrameMaker’s PDF problems. So it’s not all FrameMaker’s fault after all. I applied the hotfix and FrameMaker is back in the house…
…but sleeping on the couch. I’m still miffed about the new conditional expressions. That’s a post for another day.
You have to request the hotfix to get it: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=952909.