FrameMaker 5.5!I used to be a FrameMaker expert. My first job after finishing university was all about FrameMaker. I learned a lot in that job and even trained other people to use FrameMaker. Sadly it was only for a short while, a couple of years later my career grew in a different direction. Still, I am still reminded of my FrameMaker time whenever I have to make a document that’s bigger than one single page. FrameMaker used styles, page templates, and frames through which the text flowed. It worked! It simply worked, and it always worked, flawlessly. Even with huge documents of 1000 pages or more the software just worked, without any problems.

FrameMaker was bought by Adobe and at the moment that was no problem, in fact, people hoped for an impuls where FrameMaker could be much bigger as part of the adobe suite. The impulse never happened and the product development was moved to India. Suddenly it became a product for which you needed a subscription. Pay each year. A terrible progression, but for me it was not an interesting tool anyway. For a couple of documents I could never justify a price-tag of around 400 EURs (not sure about the price though). Now with the subscription approach I cannot even find the price, so that does not bode well.

I was working on a new book project, and once again I ran into the usual problems. Word just does not work. OpenOffice and LibreOffice don’t work. Working online with google Docs is even worse. They all work, but just not good enough. Maybe I am spoiled, but I want to see what is going on. See picture anchors, see the frames where the text will flow. I want to know which styles are available. I want to tweak the master pages. Maybe it is possible, but to achieve these simple things you need to figure out almost the core of each program, and it never works intuitively. In the end small tweaks costs lots of time, and big tweaks… better forget those.

There is still hope for me! I found a new tool, which makes me think about the old FrameMaker. Affinity Publisher which only costs around 50 euros! A bargain it if really works. I will give it a try.

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