Adobe announced this morning that they are end-of-life’ing FrameMaker for the Mac. For those of you joining us outside the tech world, FrameMaker is a desktop publishing system. It’s especially good for really long book-type documents with lots of figures and tables and cross-references. Non-fictiony stuff. Its pretty much the standard tool for tech writers.
Adobe bought the Frame company a bunch of years back and they haven’t done much of anything with the product since then. Working in Frame is like working with desktop publishing circa 1992. The interface is hopelessly primitive. Its clunky. But its the best thing out there for the sort of work we do (Word cannot even begin to handle this sort of thing gracefully). There have been rumors for years that Adobe really just wished that Frame would go away, that everyone would convert to InDesign (and we would, if InDesign had the FEATURES that Frame does).
So its no real surprise that Frame on the Mac is going away, although as a Mac user I’m kind of depressed about it. I don’t think this is a sign that things will magically get better for the Windows and Solaris versions of Frame; I think this is just the first step. I don’t think Frame is long for this world in Adobe’s hands.
I’m noting that Macromedia is doing more to emphasize its tools for eLearning and online help (they just bought a company called RoboHelp, which is the other standard tool for tech writers for creating help systems). Perhaps Frame would do better at that company. Hint Hint.