Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Understanding FrameMaker Frames

Most books and manuals about software merely state what each menu item does or which menu items you need use in order to accomplish some specific goal. Interestingly, that goal always seems to be something that can be easily done by pulling down a couple of menus. I almost always find myself wanting more. I want to know why the software behaves as it does. Is there some underlying philosophy or grand design? This post is an attempt to provide a little help in this regard, for people who use Adobe FrameMaker.

Introduction

Due to the rich complexity of how frames and objects can be used within FrameMaker, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the different combinations. However, after working with FrameMaker, I have discovered a very simple conceptual model for classifying this behavior which, I believe, will make it a lot easier to understand and keep track of how these things work and work together.

I will not pretend to teach you everything you need to know about FrameMaker in one post. Nor will I bore you with yet another detailed repetition of menu items. I will assume you have already read through the user manual and are familiar with the basic operations necessary to create and manipulate frames and other objects on a page. What I attempt to teach in this post is a way of looking at how these things work in the background so that it will be much easier for you to remember what fits within what and why, as well as help you figure out solutions to difficult design problems using a rational plan rather than a lot of trial and error.