Post 6: How to run FrameMaker on Mac?

Hello Framers,

Hope you are well. We are back after a break! This is the next post in the series, we are doing to provide accurate and complete information to our user base. Today, we will be discussing a very important topic, one which has been discussed several times in the FrameMaker user community. The topic is how do you run FrameMaker on Macintosh platform?

Today, we will be going over ways in which you can run FrameMaker on a Mac machine. Although the support of FrameMaker on Mac was discontinued some time back, we do realize that many of our users continue to use Mac and would like to run the latest version of FrameMaker on their Mac computers. So, let’s see what options there are to run FrameMaker on Mac..

Options for running FrameMaker on Mac

From our conversation with users, we have found the following ways in which they are running FrameMaker on Mac.

So, how good is the experience really of running FrameMaker on Mac?

We wanted to try it ourselves and so, we decided to run FrameMaker through one of these options. We chose Parallels because it is a popular choice among our users. Since, we also wanted to compare the experience of running FrameMaker in a virtual environment to that of running it natively on Windows, we decided to set up 2 environments on 2 separate machines. The first machine was a Windows Desktop and the other was a Mac Desktop running Parallels. The hardware configurations of these 2 machines was similar and as follows.

3.06 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
3.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB 1067 DDR3
Mac OS X 10.6.8
Win7 Enterprise 64 bit OS

In particular, we wanted to closely look at performance differences (if any) between the two. This is because performance could be an area of concern or a question mark for some of our users. So, as part of this test, we executed some common workflows in FrameMaker on the two setups and compared the performance for each. We also ran the steps multiple times and the times mentioned below are averages across these multiple runs.

So, here are the results:

Brittanica Encyclopedia ditamap with about \~450 topics
DITAMap Save as Composite document
6 mins
6 mins
0 %
Brittanica Encyclopedia ditamap with about \~450 topics
DITAMap Save as Book with FM documents
14 mins
14.2 mins
1.4 %
DITA XML having more than 50 Cross-References to other DITA topics and concept XMLs. The XML also had more than ten 3D objects.
File Open time for an XML heavily loaded with external links and objects.
22 secs
23 secs
4.5 %
A .fm document loaded with embedded images, text insets and text content spanning 50 pages, roughly 20 MB in size.
FM file open time
1 sec
1 sec
0 %
A 1,000 page FM book (created in Item 2) with 450 chapters components
Save book as PDF
2 mins
2.1 mins
5 %

Based on these test results, we observe that there exists no significant difference in performance between running FrameMaker on a Windows and in a virtual environment on a Mac. In many cases, there was no performance degradation at all and in others, there was minimal performance hit. The worst degradation we saw was with a large ditamap and saving it as a FrameMaker book (This operation took 12 secs more than it did on Windows, a degradation of 1.4%)

In summary, we did not see any significant performance issues while performing various operations on different kind of files in the two environments.

But, we would like to learn about your experience.

Although we feel pretty satisfied with our experience of running FrameMaker virtually on a Mac, we are closely watching the need for providing native Mac support for Framemaker. We are continuously monitoring the adoption of Mac in the community and talking to users who have this requirement.

On these lines, we would like to understand your requirements on this particular topic and your experience, if you currently run FrameMaker in a similar virtual environment on Mac. To gather these inputs, we have created a short survey. We would really appreciate if you can take this survey, as this information would help us with our product strategy decisions. Click here to take the survey. Thank you in advance for your time and look forward to your inputs.

Link to a helpful Webinar by Tom Aldous (Director – Global TechComm Business Development) on a similar topic:

Until the next blog post.

Nakshatra Bhardwaj – Lead Software Engineer, FrameMaker Team

Kapil Verma – Sr. Product Manager, FrameMaker and FrameMaker Server