SUMMARY: FrameMaker vs. IslandWrite

From: Mike Daniels (
Date: Wed Dec 16 1992 - 14:51:42 CST

Here is a summary of the responses I received regarding advantages/disadvantages
of FrameMaker and IslandWrite. In general, people felt that Frame was a
better choice for more complex document preparation, while Island* was better
for painting/drawing and simple documents:

Stephen Pace ( writes (of Frame):

>Once you get past a few quirky little things like "paragraph tags," you'll
>see that Frame is very powerful. It's more than a simple word processor...
>Nice cross reference features.
>Nice equation editor.
>Binary compatible between platforms (we move files from PC to Sun all the
>time). Adding an HP or IBM RS-6000 to your Suns? No problem... Frame
>runs almost anywhere.
>VERY NICE floating license manager. You can see who is using the licences
>and it manages licenses across hardware platforms.
>Full hypertext capability.
>Lots more stuff.
>Anyway, I like Frame... but it really depends on what you want to do. If
>you never have a need to do any fancy layouts, hypertext, or file transfers
>between Sun <-> PC <-> RS/6000 <-> anything else, you may be able to get by
>with Island Write.

David B. Chorlian ( writes:

>I've used IslandWrite occasionally and I've found it very easy to
>crank up and produce a nicely formatted document. Menus are
>well done but take up too much space.
>I spent a little time looking at FrameMaker--more complicated and
>more powerful than IslandWrite.

Leonard Mills ( writes:

>Island's much better for sketching and painting. Maker's much better for
>large (and much, much better for complex) documents. If your primary
>application is painting, forget Maker for that purpose. However, Maker
>can _import_ many types of graphics. Also, equation handling is far
>better in Maker.

Leonard Hermens ( writes:

>As a new user of FrameMaker, I am impressed by the quality of the product
>and the documentation (although novices to desktop publishing my be confused
>at times by the manual).
>The only thing I haven't yet found in FrameMaker is an easy way to do
>citations in theses and reports. I am still looking through the manuals,
>but this seems to be the *only* shortcoming.

Ronald Guest ( writes:

>So based on our experience, I would pick Island* for casual/small
>usage and Frame for formal documentation. The biggest advantage
>of Island* is price.

Jonathan B. Horen ( writes:

>If [you want to create memos, letters, proposals, newsletters and
>documentation] then I suggest FrameMaker (as a 3-year FrameMaker user, and
>3-year FrameMaker Administrator, and 17-year TechWriter). If [you want to
>create small business bulletins, handouts, quizzes, diagrams, flowcharts,
>orgcharts, etc.] then I suggest IslandWrite/Draw/Paint.

Mike Daniels (, Phone:(303) 497-1037)
RAF/ATD/National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

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